Catching up – Monthly reading review – June


Most of June I was busy and full of suspense for the trip to Japan. Reading took a backseat in most of my activities. Here are some of the books I finished reading since my last monthly reading review:


American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang ★★★★★

This is one of the last books I’ve read before the trip. I was interested in this graphic novel for a while now and last time I was visiting a library I decided to finally read it. I liked how the contemporary story of a young Chinese boy mixed with myths and legends from Chinese cultural background. It was an excellent story to read before my trip and made me want to learn more about Chinese mythology.


How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read by Pierre Bayard ★★★★

I was intrigued with this book due to the constant regret I feel when I fail at meeting my reading goals. The fact that this book even exists and is written by a college professor gives me hope. This was my kind of self help book for dealing with all those things I put myself trough due to reading habits and standards I made for myself. It made me learn more about my own prejudices about reading. While the book was enlightening I am still on my lifetime adventure to form myself as a reader.


The Bridge on the Drina by Ivo Andrić

It did not take many pages into the book to understand why this book got a Nobel prize in literature. It is an excellent way for anyone not from the Balkan area to gain insight into life and history of the Balkans. This was a reading assignment for my book club and I do believe that without that little extra push I would probably not read this book. I’m so glad I read it. The book only hints at many complexities of the nations, religions and cultures of the Balkan but it is an excellent start for anyone who wants to learn more. I have a feeling I am still not done with this author.


I have some ideas for August but we will see how well my time management skills work 🙂

Visiting libraries

For the past few weeks my reading has been on hiatus due to some other things. After finally getting a job that keeps me busy both mentally and physically I went on a trip around the world to Japan! It was my first ever plain ride and I got to travel with it at four different occasions.


I was naive enough to bring not one but four different books with me! Two of those were novels and the other two were: DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Tokyo and Japanese English Bilingual Visual Dictionary. My reading time was limited and I was much more inspired to walk around sightseeing or was just to excited to keep calm and read a book. This is how all my reading plans and my life got turned upside down for a while.


To prove I was not just another tourist in Tokyo I got to visit three libraries! Due to rules that do not allow taking pictures in most of the facilities I will put only some pictures I was allowed to take and that remind me of the places I’ve been.


First library I booked a tour guide for was Tokyo Metropolitan Library. I booked a tour in English before the actual trip. While I was browsing for places to visit during my stay I found that the Tokyo Metropolitan Library offers a tour guide while I was there. I was very excited about it. This is a research library and anyone that comes in is given a Reader’s Card with a bar code to be able to use services. Most of the books are in Japanese but some on other languages – primarily English, are all placed together. The guide took me and two other visitors trough the different floors where we were presented with some special collections and services the library provides. While not many Japanese speak English we were warmly welcomed.


Second library I visited was in Ueno Park: International Library of Children’s Literature. I went in as a visitor without prior inquiry. One other guide tour was there at the time and while the tour was in Japanese I shuffled along for a while. It was interesting to see the facilities and exhibition of books for children printed in Japan trough the past.


Third library I visited I asked for a tour while I was already there and it was Diet National Library. It is the 6th largest library in the world today. I only then found out the reason for the name of the library -The National Diet is Japan’s bicameral legislature and the DNL serves the same purpose for the Japanese people as the Library of Congress does for USA. Here I was able to enter the facilities that were for library personnel only with the guide I was provided with. Even though I was the only visitor for the tour I was welcomed and after learning my country of origin the library staff provided me with some dictionaries and guides that were from my country and in my language. I even got to see the closed stacks with old manga issues!


I’m still under many impressions from my trip and hope to continue posting soon 🙂