Recently in Readings Category

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
[Nejimaki-dori kuronikuru]


Genre: Zen-Like Contemplative Japanese Fiction
Author: Haruki Murakami (1997)

review in one breath

After losing his cat, the laid-back and unemployed Toru Okada embarks on a bizarre adventure which not only jars him out of his mundane existence but calls into question the fabric of his waking Reality. If you're reading this you are likely interested in cutting-edge contemporary Japanese Horror and Superstition. I don't claim to be a literary critic, but from what I know and love of this genre I truly want you guys and gals to consider reading some of this stuff as its crests in Western literary circles.

Flowers From Hell (Jim Harper 2008)

Flowers From Hell: The modern Japanese horror film

Genre: Thorough Exploration of Contemporary Japanese Horror

Author: Jim Harper (2008)

review in one breath

Penned by our good friend Jim Harper, Flowers From Hell offers a highly readable and detailed exploration through the labyrinthine corridors of Japan's horror cinema. In contrast to many recent books on this topic, Harper wisely avoids the "catalog" approach and instead offers readers a thorough, engaging and often humorous discussion of J-Horror's chronological and topical developments. Fans of Japanese Horror, whether nOOb or veteran, will easily find this book both entertaining and educational.

Real World (Natsuo Kirino 2008)

Real World [Riaru Warudo]

リアル ワルド

Genre: Urban Youth Culture - Crime Drama

Author: Natsuo Kirino (2008)

review in one breath

In an urban Tokyo neighborhood, the world of four high school girls is turned inside out when an acquaintance brutally kills his mother and flees using one of their bikes and cell phone. Progressively told from the perspective of each of the four girls and the killer himself, this novel plumbs social and relational depths facing contemporary Japanese youth. This is the latest novel by author Natsu Kirino to be translated into English.

After Dark (Haruki Murakami 2007)

After Dark [Afutā Dāku]


Genre: Zen-Like Contemplative Japanese Fiction
Author: Haruki Murakami (2007)

review in one breath

In the darkest hours of night, between midnight and the break of dawn, when humanity succumbs to its natural, evolutionary escape from life and work in the form of dreams, a potentially unnatural and dream-like Reality emerges, revealing a transient depth which most waking souls know nothing of. This is the latest national best-selling novel by ethereal Japanese author Haruki Murakami whose unique obsession and compelling explorations deftly capture the often blurred boundary between the conscious and the subconscious, the natural and the supernatural.

Kafka On The Shore (Haruki Murakami 2005)

Kafka on the Shore [Umibe no Kafuka]


Genre: Exemplar Contemporary Japanese Fiction
Author: Haruki Murakami (2005)

review in one breath

Just in case you are not amongst the cutting-edge literati, I'm here to tell you that Japanese author Haruki Murakami has trumped the (U.S.) 'National Bestseller' list with two novels which are WELL worth your consideration as fans of Japanese Supernaturalism, hints of traditional folk lore, and downright strange goings-on. If you're looking for a good summer read, this is definitely one to put on your list.

Birthday - Baasudei (Koji Suzuki 1999)

Birthday [Baasudei]


Genre: Horror
Author: Kôji Suzuki (1998)

review in one breath

This is the final of Suzuki's four books dedicated to the Ring saga. It is a collection of three stories, each involving an exploration into the situations and plights of three female characters mentioned elsewhere in the other novels. One of the three tales was the basis for the film Ring 0: Birthday, and as a whole, the collection provides a satisfactory and reflective conclusion to the very detailed and complex world of Suzuki's Ring narrative.

Loop - Ruupu (Koji Suzuki 1998)

Loop [Ruupu]


Genre: Sci-Fi Apocalypse
Author: Kôji Suzuki (1998)

review in one breath

Loop is the third novel in author Koji Suzuki's Ring Trilogy and presents a wholly unexpected and mind-boggling conclusion to the horror tale's trajectory. It is set in a Post-Sadako era where a newly identified genetic virus which is decimating the world's population. We follow Kaoru Futami, a young medical student, as he follows a confusing set of clues which may hold the key to understanding and perhaps defeating the deadly viral pandemic. In consistent form, author Suzuki combines the intricacies of biological evolution with visionary science fiction to explore the origin and implications of the original Sadako's cursed video tape.

Spiral - Rasen (Koji Suzuki 1995)

Spiral [Rasen]


Genre: Japanese Horror, Dark Science
Author: Kôji Suzuki (1995)

review in one breath

Spiral is the second of author Koji Suzuki's four Ring-related books. It follows a relatively brief period in the life of medical examiner Mitsuo Ando, from the day he performs the autopsy on Ryuji Takayama (from the first novel) to the full-blown unleashing of the Ring Virus into the world. This is another page turner in Suzuki's highly readable and engaging storytelling. It offers a complex and riveting unveiling of the darker powers and intent behind Sadako Yamamura's video tape curse of the original novel.

J-Horror (David Kalat 2007)

J-Horror: The definitive guide to The Ring, The Grudge and beyond

Genre: J-Horror Filmography
Author: David Kalat (2007)

review in one breath

This recently published book by US author David Kalat delves deeply into the major films in the international J-Horror craze. Through a purely Western perspective, Kalat offers a very rich and thorough treatment of the history, details, trends and people behind exemplar films of this genre. I found this to be a very informative and entertaining exploration into the J-Horror phenomenon.

Ring (Koji Suzuki 1991)

Ring [Ringu]


Genre: Japanese Horror
Author: Kôji Suzuki (1991)

review in one breath

After having seen all the Japanese and US film adaptations of the Ring horror tale, I thought I better read the original text by author Koji Suzuki. I was pleasantly surprised. Even though I was familiar with the storyline, I couldn't put this book down once I started reading. And yes, there are some insightful portions which never made it into the movies.