Come, all ye weary and in need of good cheer! Look upon this post of mine, filled to the brim with shiny new things! No food for the brain, no insights for the soul. Nonesuch. Just shameless (yet essential) frivolity.
This book haul ties in serendipitously with Opat’s Japanese Literature Reading Challenge. Why? Look! Just look!
Because I like to drivel about mememe, let us look upon my January consumerist choices!
My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier
Let’s get the lone wolf out of the way! I have wanted My Cousin Rachel for more than a year now. The plot synopsis screamed “I’m perfect for you!” (Although to be honest, 80% of du Maurier’s works promises to be my soulmate). Then bookssnob’s review was the final carrot that had the horse charging. I started to actively search for it.
For a long time, I insisted upon having My Cousin Rachel in the Virago Designer Collection above because I can be shallow and I want my books to be pretty. But I’m out of luck it seems. I don’t think the edition I want is still available, so I bit the bullet and got this not-nearly-as-pretty version.
Rashomon and Other Stories by Ryunosuke Akutagawa
Cinema philistine that I am, I have never watched Akira Kurosawa’s iconic Rashomon. But now ladies and gentlemen, now I have an excuse. I want to read the original source first, she says as she hipster-flips her hair.
(But wait, was Kurosawa’s Rashomon adapted from Akutagawa’s “Rashomon” or “In a Grove”? Someone enlighten me please, demands the inept hipster)
Japanese Fairy Tales compiled by Yei Theodora Ozaki
I just love folktales and fairy tales. No other excuse needed.
After the Banquet by Yukio Mishima
Although The Sound of Waves, reviewed here, wasn’t memorable, I can’t seem to stop buying more Mishima. The plot blurbs of his novels really appeal to me. After the Banquet is heavily inspired by real-life events, to the point Mishima was sued with violation of privacy. Thematically, After the Banquet is all about gender warfare, a topic I am weak for (Dorothy Parker is one of my favorites!).
The Book of Tokyo edited by Michael Emmerich, Jim Hinks & Masashi Matsuie
I first learned about this anthology via this post. I thought its premise fascinating: curated contemporary short stories that, together, paints diverse impressions of modern Tokyo.
Bonus! I bought another book after taking the group photo above.
The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro
Ishiguro was the king of my heart in 2015! The Remains of the Day and An Artist of the Floating World were #1 and #2 on my best books of the year, respectively. I’m aware that The Buried Giant wasn’t as warmly-received as The Remains of the Day or Never Let Me Go, but I decided to take a chance because (a) I’m still not over my honeymoon phase with Ishiguro (b) I have a lot of childhood nostalgia for Arthurian legends and (c) a friend whose taste I trust entirely told me The Buried Giant offers a luminous depiction of mature married love, something fiction sorely lacks, I believe.
Oh wait, there’s even more!
I have the February editions of Biteki and Maquia, two of the Big Three Japanese beauty magazines. Maquia was much harder to locate. I had thought this was odd because to my knowledge, Biteki was numero uno.
But then you crack open the Feb edition of Biteki and you figure out why it didn’t sell as well as Maquia. February’s Biteki was mostly countdowns of all the best products (read: adverts). Japanese beauty mags are great because of the detailed diagrams and step-by-step instructions for different makeup looks, so it was disappointing to find it missing from Biteki. My favorite looks are these two from Maquia:
It’s rather telling that my favorite look is the one most similar to how I do my eye makeup most days. This look is basically a subtle cat eye, with more of an Egyptian horizontal line than a diagonal flick. Actually, forget similar. This is exactly how I do my eye makeup most days.
I love the model’s eyes here! I do suspect the look owes its success to the model’s own beautiful almond eyes rather than makeup enhancement, but I want to try and replicate this look. It requires no more than a basic eyeshadow quad and a brown pencil liner.
I know this is a book blog, not a beauty blog (HAHAHA, I almost wrote ‘this is a beauty blog, not a book blog.’ Freudian slip?), but hey, I did say this was going to be a light-hearted post.
Now, how do you end a post that lacks intellectual nutrition? Provide cake, of course! Here is a matcha castella baked by yours truly!