Once again, I am reading too many books at the same time 🤯 I’ve decided to write a mid-month update because I need to try and focus on finishing my current books before starting new ones. I also need to finish some of them before the end of this month.
Books I’d like to finish this month
First of all, I am not really liking The Quiet American by Graham Greene, which is surprising because the books I choose for my 20th Century Reading challenge are all great works of literature, and I have loved every one of them so far. Another problem is that I don’t feel like I am learning much about Vietnam through it, but the story is also not compelling enough that it makes me want to do my own research. (For example, I read every single Wikipedia article related to the Boxer Revolution and the main actors of the time when I was reading Sandalwood Death). The novel is very short though, so I really want to finish it.
I am only at page 43 of 175 pages. I still have 132 pages to read, so roughly 9 pages per day. Given that it is in English, it should not be a problem.
I am loving the book I read for the #22tlreadingchallenge, which is 기억 서점 by 정명섭 (Jeong Myeongseop). I first picked another book for this challenge, but it was not for me, and I gave it up and chose another one. I am glad I did, but it also means that I started it a little bit later in the month. It is easy to read and the story is engrossing (a story of vengeance that takes place in bookshop? sure!), so I have no doubt that I will be able to finish it on time. I just need to prioritise it a little over other books.
I am at page 116 of 281, so I still have 165 pages to go. It’s only 11 pages a day, but it’s in Korean so… focus focus.
Finally, I really want to read at least one winner of the Mystery Writers of Japan award per month, but I still haven’t started one yet… The next winner on my list is 殺意という名の家畜 by Tensei Kono (河野典生). It is described as hardboiled fiction which is really not my favourite genre when it comes to crime fiction, so I have not been very motivated to start it. It is short (259 pages), so if I started it today, I would have to read 17 pages a day to finish it in June, which is going to be tough, especially given that I have the other two books to finish too. It really depends on the book I think, both the level and the story.
These are the books I would love to finish this month. Obviously, nothing bad will happen if I don’t, but I would feel better if I do, so I’ll try!
One of my favourite books from my current reads is 白光 by Mikihiko Renjo (連城三紀彦). I am really loving it though I also wonder if it will be able to stay engaging until the end. I am about halfway through, and I feel like we are going over the same things again and again. We’ll see!
I am also reading two books in Korean that are translated from Japanese. This is part of my project to read Japanese fiction in Korean translation to improve my Korean through novels that both correspond to my level and trigger my interest. I really have a hard time finding good and easy crime fiction written by Korean authors, whereas there are tons of entertaining detective/mystery novels in Japanese that are easy to read.
오 해피 데이 by Hideo Okuda (奥田英朗) (translated by 김난주, original title 家日和) is not a mystery though, but I absolutely loved another book I read by Hideo Okuda in Japanese, so that’s why I picked this author. I must say that I don’t love 家日和 as much as the other one, but it is still fine… and easy to read. Good thing is that the book is a collection of short stories so I can put it aside for longer periods of time, come back to it, just read one story and move on to other books. I read 3 out of the 6 short stories, so I am exactly halfway through it.
At the beginning of the month I also started 밀실살인 게임 by Shogo Utano (歌野晶午) (translated by 김은모, original title 密室殺人ゲーム). I have never read Shogo Utano in Japanese yet, but I will for sure, given that one of his novels have won the Mystery Writers of Japan Award in 2004. As for 密室殺人ゲーム, it is okay but not as exciting as I thought it would be. It is also very long (475 pages) so starting it when I have so many other books to read was certainly a mistake. I am only at page 82, so what I should do is to read a little bit regularly to not forget the story.
And finally, I decided to learn Chinese because… why not? I studied it at school, but I haven’t touched the language for years now, and I have forgotten a lot. I still remember most of the grammar though, and I have kept in touch with characters through Japanese, so I figured I could just pick a novel and use it to study the language and learn new words. I chose 13•67 by Chan Ho-kei (陳浩基). The first chapter was really difficult and I had to look up tons of words, but the second one was much easier. It is a slow progress though, I guess that it will take me several months to read the whole novel…
My favourite books so far are 13•67, 白光 and 기억 서점.
I will try to finish the “June” books, but I doubt that it is realistic to start and finish the winner of the MWJ award 😬
In any case, I won’t start another book unless I finish at least 3 or 4 books from this list!