Happy new year everyone!
Yes, this is a little on the late side, but never mind. I have been away and not really with it since I got back (curse you jet lag!). I had a lovely time in England though, it was my first Christmas with my family for 6 years, which is far too long. Also, my husband was there and got to experience his first proper Christmas (Japan does Christmas wrong - it is not a time to go on dates and eat fried chicken! Silly Japan.) which he seemed to enjoy.
Anyway, I thought I would do a little round up of my reading in 2014, and my reading plans in 2015, so here we go! (I would do the survey that everyone else is doing, but I can't be bothered)
Total number of books finished:
94 (the majority are not blogged, because I am lazy)
Number of books read (for fun!) in Japanese:
2. Absolutely pathetic. They were both manga as well so barely count really (as one of the reasons I want to read in Japanese is to improve my Japanese, and manga generally doesn't have enough words to make much of a difference at this stage).
Books that I particularly liked (in order of when I finished them):
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
Saga volumes 1, 2, and 3 by Brian K Vaughan et al.
Hawkeye volumes 1, 2, and 3 by Matt Fraction et al.
Boxers by Gene Yuen Lang (must read saints at some point!)
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee
Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
The Golem and the Djinni by Helene Wecker
Landline by Rainbow Rowell (I discovered that I love Rainbow Rowell)
Americanah by Chimamanda Adichie
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer
I am very happy with my English reading, but I really wish I had taken the time to read more in Japanese. Oh well. I read a lot of Japanese when translating (obviously) so it's not like I'm not coming into contact with it or anything, but I definitely spent way less time reading in Japanese for fun in 2014 than I have any other year since I moved here.
Goals for 2015:
I don't want to be too strict with this, as I have the kind of personality where I rebel as soon as I feel that I have to do something, but I have a few vague things I want to do:
Read more in Japanese - I'm going to aim to read at least a book (novels, not manga, although reading more manga would also be good) a month, so 12 books in total. This is a rather pathetic goal, as when I used to get through way more than this every year, but I figure that if I aim low I have way more chance of actually managing it!
Re-read books more often - I always used to re-read books that I liked over and over, partly because I had no money to buy new books when I was younger, but I would definitely like to go back and read some of the books I really liked in the past couple of years again. I was also tempted to bring my whole Margaret Atwood collection to Japan for re-reading purposes, but my suitcase was too full when I came back to even sneak in 1 book.
Try to cover every book that I read on here, even if it is only a sentence. Otherwise I forget what I read. (I am actually giving up on reviewing the books I read in the back half of 2014, so this counts for all books finished this year!)
Sort out our bookcases - they need to be earthquake proofed (bolted to the wall - at the moment if there was a massive earthquake they would fall over where I sleep, which obviously isn't ideal. Our bookcases are very low and it would take a LOT to make them fall over, so I'm not particularly worried, but still). I think we also need to have a bit of a book cull and generally reorganise them.
So ambitious! Hehe.
Happy new yeeeear (I am even later than you haha) reading books in Japanese is basically the best goal I've read over this whole goal making system, so good luck with that- THINK OF ALL THE MURAKAMI!返信削除
Hehe, thank you! I have already read most of the Murakami (Haruki, anyway) novels in Japanese, but I do still have a load of short stories that I've never read, so YES MURAKAMI! :D削除
I haven't actually started reading anything in Japanese yet so I should really do that. Hmm... Hehe.
I'm glad to hear that you and your husband got to celebrate a festive holiday with the family :)
I love the list you've got - Jhumpa Lahiri will make you nostalgic and sad, while Rainbow Rowell makes you laugh and smile. I'm still waiting for my turn to read Annihilation (the library queue is ridiculously long)!
I admire your ability to read in multiple languages fluently. My Spanish is rusty, my Korean is too formal so I actually have to look up slang/colloquialisms, and my Japanese... I'm just going to stick to manga because it at least has the furigana in there! (I'm soooooo ashamed.) Best of luck with your resolution - I'll be cheering you on!
I hope you enjoy Annihilation, I really did! I think it was a review that you wrote that made me want to read Jhumpa Lahiri in the first place, so thank you! I really want to read some other things by her this year.
Hehe, I can only read fluently in Japanese and English, and the Japanese completely depends on whether it's a field that I'm comfortable in! I can stumble through German to some extent, but the only thing that I've read and understood properly in German was Harry Potter, and I'm pretty sure that that's because I've read the English book so many times that my brain was just remembering the English as I was reading it, hehe.
No shame in reading manga! I also want to read more manga this year, but I think that now I have more of a disposable income and don't have to be so stingy with money I will probably naturally end up buying and reading more anyway, so I didn't make it one of my goals. I think if you want to venture into novels in Japanese, I think that light novels (ones aimed at teenagers generally) generally have furigana and use less literary vocabulary, so they might be a good stepping stone to adult novels. I wouldn't recommend doing what I did which was trying to read Norwegian Wood when my Japanese was still really awful. It took me 3 months to get through the first half of the book, hehe.
I'm glad that my review has swayed you, hahaha!削除
I really do want to improve on my Japanese, so I'm hoping to read some light novels - any recommendations?
Oooh that's tricky, I jumped straight into novels and didn't even realise that light novels were a thing that existed until I had become fairly proficient at reading novels, so I haven't really explored that much! In fact, the ones that I have tried were a bit rubbish so I wouldn't recommend them... I know I have heard some good things about キノの旅, but I haven't read it myself so I'm not sure I can really recommend it!削除
If you do want to venture into normal novels, 星新一 wrote a lot of short stories that are pretty easy to follow (I think his most famous short story collection is ボッコちゃん, but I have read a few of his things and they all seem to be along the same lines so you could pick up anything, really). Similarly, 東野圭吾 writes a ridiculous amount of books (I wonder if they are ghostwritten, actually, he seems to put out more books per year than should be humanly possible), and his writing is on the more straightforward side... The Galileo books by him are good (detective novels with a scientific bent - the majority of the books are made of short stories, with the occasional full length novel), and even though it is quite big I found myself absolutely racing through 流星の絆 which also has a drama which is very entertaining, and his other novels that aren't crime related like 手紙 (about a boy whose older brother is put in prison for killing someone, and how that affects him) are good too.
The one thing that I wouldn't really recommend doing is reading something you like in English that has been translated into Japanese. I have tried this a few times and I always get bored halfway through, even if it's a book that I really love (weirdly this didn't happen when I read Harry Potter in German, maybe it's just that reading Japanese is inherently more tiring than reading German for me? Even though my Japanese is a million times better than my German. Hmm. *shrug*).
This was a really long reply, I apologise!
Thank you for the reply - it was so helpful! I'll check out キノの旅 - the premise sounds very interesting.削除
I also love the idea of reading short stories so I won't have to slog through a long and difficult passage! Both of these would be a good starting point. All else fails, I guess I can stick to the hiragana in Genji Monogatari, hahaha!