Morikami Book Club

Open to all Morikami Members

Join Wisdom Ring member Christine Carton and fellow Morikami members as they start their new season of exciting book reading!

The group meets in Classroom B and orders lunch from the Cornell Café.

For more information please email Christine Carton at christinec@gate.net.

September 9

The Miracle of the Namiya General Store by Keigo Higashino
When three delinquents hole up in an abandoned general store after their most recent robbery, to their great surprise, a letter drops through the mail slot in the store’s shutter. This seemingly simple request for advice sets the trio on a journey of discovery as, over the course of a single night, they step into the role of the kindhearted former shopkeeper who devoted his waning years to offering thoughtful counsel to his correspondents. Through the lens of time, they share insight with those seeking guidance, and by morning, none of their lives will ever be the same.

October 14

The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa
On an unnamed island, objects are disappearing: first hats, then ribbons, birds, roses. . . . Most of the inhabitants are oblivious to these changes, while those few able to recall the lost objects live in fear of the draconian Memory Police, who are committed to ensuring that what has disappeared remains forgotten. When a young writer discovers that her editor is in danger, she concocts a plan to hide him beneath her floorboards, and together they cling to her writing as the last way of preserving the past. Powerful and provocative, The Memory Police is a stunning novel about the trauma of loss.

November 6

Yamato Colony: The Pioneers Who Brought Japan to Florida by Kawabata  Yasunari
Opening a window onto the little-known Japanese-American heritage of Florida, Yamato Colony is the true tale of a daring immigrant venture that left behind an important legacy. Ryusuke Kawai tells how a Japanese farming settlement came to be in south Florida, far from other Japanese communities in the United States.

Wisdom Ring Event – Dinner and lecture with the book’s translator, and former Morikami Museum curator, Tom Gregerson.

November 18

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata
Keiko has never fit in, neither in her family, nor in school, but when at the age of eighteen she begins working at the Hiiromachi branch of “Smile Mart,” she finds peace and purpose in her life. In the store, unlike anywhere else, she understands the rules of social interaction―many are laid out line by line in the store’s manual―and she does her best to copy the dress, mannerisms, and speech of her colleagues, playing the part of a “normal” person excellently, more or less. Managers come and go, but Keiko stays at the store for eighteen years. It’s almost hard to tell where the store ends and she begins. Keiko is very happy, but the people close to her, from her family to her coworkers, increasingly pressure her to find a husband, and to start a proper career, prompting her to take desperate action.

December 9

Belka, Why Don’t You Bark? by Hideo Furukawa
Belka, Why Don’t You Bark? begins in 1943, when Japanese troops retreat from the Aleutian island of Kiska, leaving four military dogs behind. One of them dies in isolation, and the others are taken under the protection of U.S. troops. Meanwhile, in the USSR, a KGB military dog handler kidnaps the daughter of a Japanese yakuza. Named after the Russian astronaut dog Strelka, the girl develops a psychic connection with canines. A multi-generational epic as seen through the eyes of man’s best friend, the dogs who are used as mere tools for the benefit of humankind gradually discover their true selves, and learn something about us.

January 13

The Unconsoled by Kazuo Ishiguro
The setting is a nameless Central European city where Ryder, a renowned pianist, has come to give the most important performance of his life. Instead, he finds himself diverted on a series of cryptic and infuriating errands that nevertheless provide him with vital clues to his own past. In The Unconsoled Ishiguro creates a work that is itself a virtuoso performance, strange, haunting, and resonant with humanity and wit.

February 10

Cutting Back by Leslie Buck
At thirty-five, Leslie Buck made an impulsive decision to put her personal life on hold to pursue her passion. Leaving behind a full life of friends, love, and professional security, she became the first American woman to learn pruning from one of the most storied landscaping companies in Kyoto. Cutting Back recounts Buck’s bold journey and the revelations she has along the way. During her apprenticeship in Japan, she learns that the best Kyoto gardens look so natural they appear untouched by human hands, even though her crew spends hours meticulously cleaning every pebble in the streams. She is taught how to bring nature’s essence into a garden scene, how to design with native plants, and how to subtly direct a visitor through a landscape. But she learns the most important lessons from her fellow gardeners: how to balance strength with grace, seriousness with humor, and technique with heart.

March 10

Seventeen: A Novel by Hideo Yokoyama
1985. Kazumasa Yuuki, a seasoned reporter at the North Kanto Times, runs a daily gauntlet of the power struggles and office politics that plague its newsroom. But when an air disaster of unprecedented scale occurs on the paper’s doorstep, its staff is united by an unimaginable horror and a once-in-a-lifetime scoop. 2003. Seventeen years later, Yuuki remembers the adrenaline-fueled, emotionally charged seven days that changed his and his colleagues’ lives. He does so while making good on a promise he made that fateful week―one that holds the key to its last solved mystery and represents Yuuki’s final, unconquered fear.

April 21

Autumn Light: Season of Fire and Farewells by Pico Iyer
Returning to his longtime home in Japan after his father-in-law’s sudden death, Pico Iyer picks up the steadying patterns of his everyday rites: going to the post office and engaging in furious games of ping-pong every evening. But in a country whose calendar is marked with occasions honoring the dead, he comes to reflect on changelessness in ways that anyone can relate to: parents age, children scatter, and Iyer and his wife turn to whatever can sustain them as everything falls away. As the maple leaves begin to turn and the heat begins to soften, Iyer shows us a Japan we have seldom seen before, where the transparent and the mysterious are held in a delicate balance, and where autumn reminds us to take nothing for granted.

May 12

A Man by Keiichiro Hirano
Akira Kido is a divorce attorney whose own marriage is in danger of being destroyed by emotional disconnect. With a midlife crisis looming, Kido’s life is upended by the reemergence of a former client, Rié Takemoto. She wants Kido to investigate a dead man—her recently deceased husband, Daisuké. Upon his death she discovered that he’d been living a lie. His name, his past, his entire identity belonged to someone else, a total stranger. The investigation draws Kido into two intriguing mysteries: finding out who Rié’s husband really was and discovering more about the man he pretended to be. Soon, with each new revelation, Kido will come to share the obsession with—and the lure of—erasing one life to create a new one.

June 10

Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
Here we meet a teenage boy, Kafka Tamura, who is on the run, and Nakata, an aging simpleton who is drawn to Kafka for reasons that he cannot fathom. As their paths converge, acclaimed author Haruki Murakami enfolds readers in a world where cats talk, fish fall from the sky, and spirits slip out of their bodies to make love or commit murder, in what is a truly remarkable journey.

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