In August I read a number of books:
- Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn
- Grass for His Pillow by Lian Hearn
- Ideals of the Samurai: Writings of Japanese Warriors translated by William Scott Wilson
- Brilliance of the Moon by Lian Hearn
- The Harsh Cry of the Heron by Lian Hearn
- Swan Peak by James Lee Burke
- The Way of the Traitor by Laura Joh Rowland
They were all interesting books. Six of the seven were read as research. My son and I are writing a Japanese samurai novel, and I wanted to see what some other writers were doing with samurai.
The Lian Hearn books were excellent, I thought. I learned a lot. They taught about Japanese culture and history while presenting a story that really belonged in that time. There is a prequel to the series that I still have to get and read. After four books, though, I was ready for a break.
The Rowland book was set a couple hundred years later maybe. It had a completely different feel. It was a murder mystery and, while the details belonged in feudal Japan, the mystery was stronger than the history lesson. Nothing at all wrong with that as far as I’m concerned.
Ideals of the Samurai was a short collection of the writings of actual samurai. I was able to get details from it that shaped the book we are writing. I feel like I have gotten a very basic understanding of the samurai approach to life after reading it and the Code of the Samurai, which I read earlier.
James Lee Burke is a favorite. His stories are dark, but they area good read. Swan Peak takes place in Montana rather than his usual south Louisiana. I needed a break from all the feudal Japan books,I think, so I read it pretty quickly!
It was a good month as far as my reading goes. Let’s see how I do in September!