Digital Geishas and Talking Frogs: The Best 21st Century Short Stories from Japan
edited by Helen Mitsios
Before I go too far as to why this ended up on the Reading List, let me just admit the most obvious reason for me: former classmate and Movie Gallery co-worker Jonathan Lawless translates two of the stories in the collection, and that's really the only reason why I have it. Lawless was one of my best friends growing up. He went to Union College, studied abroad and fell in love with Japan. His announcement about this book's release is really the first time I've reconnected with him since 2001, which is fine, because it means we're both in some way connected to the literary world. Now, obviously, this is a collection of short stories from Japanese writers, translated and brought together for English readers. I love reading international literature, and I've read at least one book (Snow Country) from a Japanese author that ended up becoming an all-time favorite, so I figure one way or another there's reason enough to read it, much less include it on the exclusive Reading List. One of the contributors is the celebrated Haruki Murakami (who writes about the frog in the title), which will mark this as the first time I read him.