Japanese Literature discussion

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Archive > Bringing this group back to life - what would you like?

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message 1: by Carola (new)

Carola (carola-) | 167 comments Hello everyone,

Joanne already posted a different topic, IMPORTANT!! Is it worth staying??. I'd love to answer this with YES, so hence this topic!

Perhaps you have noticed that this group has been quiet for a while now. One reason was that the original two admins were pretty much completely absent and as such, dealing with the administrative side of this group was impossible (i.e. setting books as official book club reads, etc.). I know this was very discouraging to at least a few (previously) active members.

I have contacted Goodreads staff and they have made me an admin of this group. This means that we can now dust off this group, at least the back-end side of it.

I do not think it's a good idea to have just one active admin, because we've seen what happens if one (or two!) admins disappear. So if anyone is interested in bringing this group back to life and becoming an admin, please let me know!

But a group also depends on its members, so I'd like to ask you all: what would you like to see happen with this group? Is there anything you're missing in this group? Do you have any fresh new ideas you'd like to see happen?

I will also be sending out an e-mail to all members soon, because I suspect some members have given up on this group.


message 2: by Viviane (new)

Viviane Crystal | 6 comments While I have watched this group for years, I have not participated because the discussions are rather vague or confined to what is liked or not. A guided discussion with specific questions for chapters would lead me to participate and others, based on comments I have read from other participants. I lived in Japan for three years many years ago and am passionate about Japanese and other Asian literature. I also work two jobs so cannot commit to every book but would be interested if there were more depth to the discussions. Thanks for considering these comments and opening up this discussion.


message 3: by Mat (new)

Mat Chiappe | 2 comments Great news. I guess I would like links regarding contemporary literature news. Dunno jaja. A guided discussion or reading sounds good too.


message 4: by Emma (new)

Emma (wordsandpeace) | 3 comments what about some read alongs?


message 5: by Megha (new)

Megha (meg04) | 2 comments how about starting book read for short story?
I know only one author for short stories - Murakami. So maybe that could be a good starting point - get author list for short stories from members (kindle available as paperbacks may/may not be available in all countries)


message 6: by Suzann (new)

Suzann | 13 comments My interest would be in having a lively discussion on Japanese classics or contemporary Japanese writers. I like having a year schedule so the selection process is rather compact and the readers can plan for the readings. I would enjoy focusing on a single author for several readings. Thanks Carole for reviving the group--such a wonderful body of work to explore!


message 7: by Haaze (new)

Haaze | 12 comments I would be interested in participating in both classical and modern Japanese literature discussions. Ideally nonfiction (a few biographies, travel narratives and histories) would complement the readings?


Stone Bridge Press | 8 comments Awesome, looking forward to seeing how the group progresses from here on out. I am super busy and can't always contribute, but I'd love to see more of what kind of Literature people are interested in. Always happy to make recommendations, especially if it's from our catalog. :)


message 9: by Elsa (new)

Elsa | 12 comments I'd like to see a list for the year so I can plan my reading. I like both classical and modern Japanese lit, (also looove light novels) but because my job entails a lot of reading, I need advance notice. I also like discussion topics-but not too many. Anyone who can give insight on cultural mores that may not be too familiar to most Westerners would also be appreciated.


message 10: by Stefany (new)

Stefany GG (stefanygg) | 1 comments Monthly polls on what to read next month and follow up the reading with a discussion board on that particular book.


message 11: by Carola (new)

Carola (carola-) | 167 comments Great ideas everyone :) sounds like you all basically want a more active book club and more discussions.

I'll be upfront: I am currently extremely busy and going through a reading slump, so I am absolutely looking for enthusiasts to help out with the more active and social part of this group! I'd be happy to take care of the back-end, keeping the group organised (and dust-free, hah).
(I just couldn't watch this group go down, hence my message to GR)


message 12: by Hesper (new)

Hesper | 36 comments Thanks for taking over, Carola! I'd definitely participate more if the group had scheduled readings and polls—the usual stuff. I'm open to either classical and contemporary writers, but I doubt I would be able to commit to more than one book a month, or to every discussion.

For me, a main pick and a secondary pick each month/reading period would be ideal, something along the lines of one contemporary and one classical, or a genre and a mainstream lit, or a fiction and a supplementary nonfiction. This would keep the selection varied, and accommodate a variety of reading preferences.

Maybe we should have a separate book rec thread?


message 13: by Klara (new)

Klara (clara666) | 3 comments Personally, I would love to read more about two things, first of all contemporary Japanese fantasy & sci-fi writers, and also about books in Japanese. I've been learning Japanese seriously for quite a while, but I'd like to find some book that is not manga and is quite easy to read. And maybe other people who learn would find it useful as well.


message 14: by Christian (new)

Christian (comeauch) | 362 comments I think the difficult point about any book club is deciding what to read. If the book we agree upon seems interesting to me, I'll read it, but if it's not I won't bother. Going with a democracy/popularity contest seems like an obvious choice, but I wonder if we won't get stuck reading Murakami all the time, for instance.

So how about this:

Every month, someone would get to decide of the Book of the Month. For example: You volunteer and you get assigned February 2015. Now you have until then to find a book that you think would make a good choice. At Feb. 1st, you present your choice and explain your reasons, basically selling it to everyone else. I think this kind of incentive could get me more motivated to read it than if it were the result of a popularity vote (in which I would probably never vote anyway #lazy). Enlisting to be one of the choosers would obviously be on a voluntary basis and I do realize that it doesn't make for a lot of people/year, but:

1. That process would still be beneficial to everyone because they would be presented with good reasons to read the book of the month + they would get to meet different genres. The more convincing someone's proposition is, the better, but it could be as simple as say: this month marks X's 100th anniversary.

2. Depending on how many people actually participate, we could make more than one book of the month (contemporary and "classical" maybe?) Maybe we should start small though.

3. It might keep people more involved in the club.

What do you guys think?

Also @Trinity, I'm also eager to read in Japanese, but considering how everyone is at a different level (including many who have no interest in learning the language!), I think it would be very difficult to do. I'll probably read some of them in the original and some in translation depending on how difficult it seems and how busy my life is!


message 15: by Carola (new)

Carola (carola-) | 167 comments As for the book club:
- I think it would be a good idea to have books overlap. That gives people more time to read a book, and at the same time you've got two books to pick from, more or less. I've set this month's book from August 1st til September 30, for example. The next book would be September 1st til October 31st, etc.

- There are some great suggestions from everyone about picking the next book club read. I'm still not sure what would work best. I don't think we have to fear that every book club read will be a popular book if we make the voting democratic. I actually haven't seen Murakami pop up once over the years, for example ;-) So yes, I'm still undecided about that.
Would anyone be interested in running the book club? Perhaps even two people? This is definitely one aspect I have too little time for :(

- Reading in Japanese: I'll create a discussion board for it. I think it's a pretty good idea :) After all, there are members in French lit groups who read in French, German lit groups who read in German, etc. I don't think we have to worry about different levels of Japanese - in fact, I think this would be a great place to find book recommendations that are your level :)


message 16: by Niledaughter (new)

Niledaughter | 10 comments I can not add any new to this discussion but I am glad it is back into action .Thanks for the message and wish you good luck Carole , I like modern fiction and I will try to vote on polls and participate in discussions when I can .


message 17: by Hesper (new)

Hesper | 36 comments Like Carola, I haven't seen (either) Murakami have much success in the polls, so I'm not concerned that the democratic process will be skewed toward the overexposed. If there's any lobbying to be done, it might make more sense to keep it to the nominations thread.

One person picking the selection seems like would be skewed toward whoever has the most time and inclination to write the loudest; from what people have said so far, most don't have a lot of time beyond planning for a scheduled read.


message 18: by Chiarraí (new)

Chiarraí McCesney (seanspencermcc) | 8 comments I'm relatively new and haven't participated in many discussions here, but I'd like to agree with some of the other posters that suggested extending book discussions to two months. Guided discussion would also make me more likely to participate.


message 19: by Patrik (new)

Patrik Sampler | 2 comments Based on the number of responses here, there's no need to panic. More than a thousand readers is a good critical mass! In the Abe Kobo Fan Club (https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/...) I started it was hard to keep momentum with twenty-five members, so I envy the crowd you've been able to attract. In any event, if you need help, I'd be willing to suggest some of our Abe topics here, and I agree with Viviane that it's good to have some guiding questions. The bottom line, though, is that people are busy and they need ample time to get through a book before discussions start.


message 20: by sara (new)

sara (sarararrarara) | 3 comments i cant promise to abide by assigned reads(if there were any), but how about more threads on the authors themselves, for example? i mean discussing things like recurring themes in works or evolution of writing style or how life events influenced their works? or maybe threads discussing good film adaptations of Japanese books. anyway, i will try and participate more in threads about books ive already read :)


message 21: by constanza (new)

constanza (lluvias) | 1 comments I think it'd be a good idea to read and discuss mainly short stories and poetry, classic and contemporary, because I imagine most people don't have too much free time and they also want to read other things too. personally, sometimes i can't find translations to spanish and reading in english takes me forever.

I don't know if someone else said this or if the problem is already solved, but it's what I think could work.


message 22: by Carola (new)

Carola (carola-) | 167 comments Constanza, that could definitely work. Another book club I'm in only reads books and stories under 200 pages and participation is high.


message 23: by Camillejkt (new)

Camillejkt | 2 comments I like the idea of having on-going threads on authors / recurring themes in dfft works / and books in Japanese..
If the books chosen for the book club can sometimes match those authors and themes and help keep the discussion alive then all the better ! But that would definitely be more engaging for me as I often struggle to integrate monthly recommendations into my busy reading agenda ;)


message 24: by Camillejkt (new)

Camillejkt | 2 comments I like the idea of having on-going threads on authors / recurring themes in dfft works / and books in Japanese..
If the books chosen for the book club can sometimes match those authors and themes and help keep the discussion alive then all the better ! But that would definitely be more engaging for me as I often struggle to integrate monthly recommendations into my busy reading agenda ;)


message 25: by Chiarraí (new)

Chiarraí McCesney (seanspencermcc) | 8 comments Along those lines, maybe we could have a guided (bi?)monthly theme or author discussion relevant to whatever book is being read at the time. That way people who aren't able to fit in the book into their schedule can still participate in a guided discussion.


message 26: by Carola (new)

Carola (carola-) | 167 comments Btw, since we're talking about topics on specific authors, please let me also clarify that anyone is free to open whatever topic on whatever author or book they like :) If there's something or someone you want to discuss, don't hesitate! No need to wait for an 'official' topic :)


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