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Image of Pachinko book cover

Set in Japan

As a group, these novels do not have one thing in common, other than all being set in Japan. Most, but not all, were written by Japanese authors. Most, but not all, were written in the 20th century. Most, but not all, are narrated by a female character. All of them are commendable though, and I learned something about Japanese history or culture from each one.

Slouching Towards Bethlehem

Books of 1968

1968 was one of the most eventful and tumultuous years of the 20th century. Here are a few books of lasting relevance that were published that year.  

Being Mortal Cover

Mortality

Most of us avoid thinking about dying and death, and we avoid talking about it even more so. However, if one chooses to read about dying and death instead, there is no shortage of excellent, insightful and even reassuring books on the subject. These memoirs are remarkable for their candor.

Snow Falling on Cedars Cover

Japanese-American Internment

In the weeks and months after Pearl Harbor was bombed, more than one hundred thousand Japanese-Americans living on the West Coast were relocated and incarcerated in internment camps for the duration of the Second World War. A number of fiction books address this little-known and regrettable chapter in American history.

Oscar Wao Cover Image

Immigrants in America

Immigrants to America come from different places, for different reasons, at different ages, each with their own vision of the American dream. Still, many of the challenges of uprooting and starting over in a new place are universal. These books show the shared struggle to maintain a balance between holding on to the traditions and community of the old world and assimilating into the new world.

Beloved Cover Image

Slavery in America

I haven’t had a chance yet to see Washington’s new and acclaimed National Museum of African American History and Culture. Tickets are hard to come by! In the meantime, I’ve been doing some reading to prepare for a visit in the near future. These books of historical fiction succeed in making the unimaginable all too real.