I often end up 'theming' the books I read somehow. It's not really intentional, just a habit I learned from my dad. Whenever we went on holiday, he'd take books about or written by authors from the place we were going. Last summer I read a lot of French books (in translation of course; I did try reading L'Assomoir with a French dictionary and a pencil a few years ago, and it was fun, and satisfying, but not quite the blissful escapism I usually want from a holiday read!), and I loved building up the layers of French adventures, both literary and actual, comparing buildings we passed to those planned by Aristide Saccard, thinking of Emma Bovary as I watched people clothes-shopping in Arles.
We're not going to Japan this summer, but I've recently found myself more and more drawn to Japanese recipes and sewing patterns (still only at the reading and dreaming stage), so when I got my first paycheque from my summer job I treated myself to an hour browsing around Amazon's marketplace, looking for novels about or related to Japan. Books have been popping onto my doormat all week and I picked up the last two from the parcel office this morning, just in time to pack to go away.
We have lilies on the kitchen table because we're moving soon, and Zoë bought them to brighten up the flat a bit for when we show people round. I thought the books looked so pretty stacked next to the flowers I tried to include them in the photo, but it means you can't see the titles very well. Top to bottom they are:
Snow Country - Yasunari Kawabata
The Silent Cry - Kenzaburo Ōe
Spring Snow - Yukio Mishima
Shōgun - James Clavell
When the Emperor was Divine - Julie Otsuka (actually about a Japanese-American experience of the WWII, which I chose because of a new friend)
The Makioka Sisters - Jun'ichirō Tanizaki
The book at the bottom was a gift from a friend of Deri's. They graduated on Wednesday, and Mike really kindly gave me his old copy of Harrison's as now he's a doctor (!) he wants the latest edition. They're about eighty quid new, so I'm trying to think of a suitable, possibly knitted, thank you. Any ideas?
I'm also taking this, this, these and yarn and needles to start this, which should be enough to last me a lifetime of holidays. It's a good thing we're driving! See you when I get back.