January 2021 was a very prolific in terms of reading, especially reading Japanese authors! As part of the Japanese literature challenge, in this post I share 4 books I read this month, plus other recommendations and ideas.

Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami

Killing Commendatore is the most recent book published by Murakami and it is the story of a painter in his thirties. Of course, in a true Murakamian style, it involves magical realism and the whole narrative is sprinkled with food and music. The 700+ pages went by very quickly – it is definitely one of my favourite books by Murakami.

Other books by Murakami that I read and recommend:

My Murakami bookstack

Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Before the Coffee Gets Cold is a series of two books with the action happening in a special café. There, people can travel to the past, they have to get back before their coffee gets cold. In case you’re wondering, I’d love to read a third book from this series – it’s that good!

In a heart-warming fashion readers are told stories of friends, lovers and parents who want to travel back in time. The present cannot be changed, so does it really make sense to travel back in time for only few minutes?

Before the Coffee Gets Cold series by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Earthlings by Sayaka Muraka

Earthlings (my review) is one of the most shocking and weird books I’ve ever read, and definitely the winner of the “most misleading cover”. It is a story about toxic relationships and not fitting in the society – an extreme rebellion against human culture and spirit.

Other books by Japanese authors on my radar

For more ideas you can also check the list of books written by Japanese writers that I published few years ago – link here. One example from the list is Yasunari Kawabata. I read two of his books – The Old Capital (my review) and Snow Country. I think these books have a more delicate and traditional writing style compared to the Japanese books I recently read.

Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata (Romanian edition)

In addition, I have on my radar the following books:

  • The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa – it’s a dystopian story that I cannot wait to read
  • Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Muraka – I understood it’s not as weird as Earthlings, I’d like to give it a try
  • Breasts and Eggs by Mieko Kawakami – I’ve seen a lot this book in the media

Did you read any of the books mentioned? Please let me know if you have other recommendations!

If you would like to buy books or other (non)bookish things, please consider using one of these links: Amazon | Waterstones | Carturesti. Thank you!

‘Till next time … happy reading!


Cover photo by freddie marriage on Unsplash

10 thoughts on “Reading Japanese authors in January: Haruki Murakami, Toshikazu Kawaguchi, and Sayaka Muraka

    1. I agree, it was a bizarre reading experience, but I do think it shows real aspects of the life and mindset of people in 1930s in Japan.

      I remember that after finishing reading the story I did not what to make of it, so I chose to skip writing my thoughts on it.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I am not a huge Kawabata fan, but I think The Sound of the Mountain is one of his best books. For women authors, I would really recommend Fumiko Enchi and the early Banana Yoshimoto – Kitchen especially.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kikuko Tsumura is another author I’d recommend. Her recent book ‘There’s no such thing as an easy job’ is genuinely such a great read – you might like it especially since you have Convenience Store Woman on your radar as well 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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