98 Days – Looking Back at Old Favorites

Yesterday, the Goodreads Books of the Year list was published. Every year, fewer and fewer books on that list appeal to me. This year, the historical fiction top 20 has no books about Japan. Well, not entirely, because one is written about Japanese-occupied Shanghai in 1940. Japan isn’t the only oversight, but several massive nations such as India and Brazil are also noticeably absent. Multiple WWII Europe and Southern United States books make the list. With that said, one of the best features of literature is that you can look endlessly back to the past for exemplary literature of any topic and place. For my purposes here, I want to reflect on one that was particularly meaningful for me, James Clavell’s book Shogun.

I first read Shogun as a freshman in high school, slowly going chapter by chapter in our mandated reading during homeroom. It was only a thirty minute period, so I didn’t make much progress on the fairly large novel. As time passed, I got more and more pulled in to the book and it set off a long foray into historical fiction on premodern Asia.

Shogun has been in print consistently since its release in 1975, with the latest edition published in 2020. It was the basis of a massively popular TV show in 1980, and likely inspired many people to learn more about their world. You can read more about the historical accuracy of Shogun here, but it calls to mind the power of great stories to spark interests that may last a lifetime.

Phrase of the Day: よし!Yoshi! Let’s Do This!

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