Simon's Reviews > Breaking Into Japanese Literature: Seven Modern Classics in Parallel Text

Breaking Into Japanese Literature by Giles Murray
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's review
Dec 23, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: nihongo
Read from January 30 to December 05, 2011

As the title of the book implies, this is a good way to start reading modern Japanese literature. Here, "modern" means post Meiji Restoration (1868).

It consists of seven short stories: four by Natsume Shoseki (of "I am a Cat" and "Botchan" fame) and three by Akutagawa Ryunosuke. The stories become progressively harder to read through the book.

I like the format of the book. Furigana is given above more challenging kanji. Word definitions are given on the lower half of the page and a full translation provided on the right-hand page. It makes it much easier to read the text as you don't have to waste time looking up dictionaries and you can easily check your understanding of what you've read.

I found the stories quite difficult to read and would have struggled to read them without the help provided by this book. They often use slightly antiquated words and kanji. The stories themselves held my interest.

Highly recommended for those with a resemble Japanese reading ability and an interest in Japanese literature.

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