Rian's Reviews > A to Zen: A Book of Japanese Culture

A to Zen by Ruth Wells
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's review
Jan 25, 2009

liked it
bookshelves: asian-american
Read in January, 2009

Summary: This informational book about Japan is organized in ABC book format to highlight some of the essential elements of Japanese culture, both modern and traditional.

Response: When I pulled this book off the shelf, I was startled to find that the front looked like the back of a book; then I realized that the actual layout is part of the message. The book is not only about japan, but the experience of reading it is the experience of reading books in Japan, where our front is their back, and the text starts on the right-hand page instead of the left-hand page. While the book itself is written in 1992, and it doesn't contain any informational text features (beyond its ABC organization), it does carefully and thoroughly explain how the books layout and artwork are themselves conveying information about Japanese culture. I really enjoyed the experience of having to pick up and read the book from an entirely new perspective.


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message 1: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Hi Rian,
I enjoyed this book as well, and I found it to contain interesting pictures and bits of information about Japan and Japanese culture. I also like that the book is read the reverse way, as books in Japan are read. I sometimes place this book on display in the library, and students who notice that the book is "backwards" usually end up being interested enough to check the book out. -Elizabeth

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