Today is World Book Day, a day when we should celebrate books and many children will dress up as characters from favourite books. For me, World Book Day, is not that different to many other days of the year. My life is full of books.
I have written before about the significant impact of movies/films on how people respond to World Book Day and also the need to support Independent Authors on World Book Day rather than focus on the established, famous authors. My position on both of these issues hasn’t changed, but this year I wanted to discuss some other issues.
First, books to me are not merely something to read – they are something that I either write cover-to-cover or that I contribute a chapter to (for academic books). To date, I have written four academic books (Japanese Education Reform, Shinkansen, Dealing with Disaster in Japan, and Japan: The Basics), one other non-fiction book (Osutaka), and three novels (Hijacking Japan, Tokyo 20/20 Vision, and FOUR).
At the moment I am working on a chapter that will be in an edited book (two others are close to being published), but also updating Japan: The Basics for a second edition, working on a non-fiction book related to fans of Frankie Goes To Hollywood, and also my fourth novel. I am also developing the precise plans for my next academic book – which will be about Visual Packaging Culture. The second edition of Japan: The Basics has been delayed thanks to COVID-19 and Japan’s reluctance to let people into the country. Despite today’s announcements (see “Getting to Japan: Mixed Signs“), I’m still not sure when I will next get out to Japan. There are times when Japan feels like a fictional country – a sentiment which ties in with my work on Visual Packaging Culture and Roland Barthes’ Empire of Signs. I suspect that the update to Japan: The Basics won’t be completed now until early 2023 – a 12 month delay on what was planned. My books Frankie Fans Say and the third novel in my Iwakura series are also delayed, though more due to a variety of personal issues, some of which I wrote about in my review of 2021. I hope the former will now be out in about August 2022 and the latter will be out by the end of 2022.
The second aspect of books that I wanted to write about this year is to set myself a goal. I don’t read enough foreign language books. One of my favourite books, in any language, is Climber’s High by Hideo Yokoyama (the cover of it is the image the accompanies this post). But I really don’t read as many books (particularly novels) in Japanese as I should. I have to admit to being lazy and often reading (or listening via audiobooks) to the English translations – they are also a lot easier to access in the UK. As good as I know many of these translations are likely to be, they are just not the same as the original. So, I want to read more Japanese language novels. I am also battling away trying to improve my Swedish via Duolingo in the hope that one day I can get a copy and read the original autobiography of Marie Fredriksson (best known as the female singer in Roxette) which has never been translated into English.
I do read a lot of books, and I often do posts about the books I have read. When there are so many books out there, the only way books can get noticed is through people talking about them. We all have different tastes, and there are inherent issues with reviews, but please do always try to leave a review (a proper one, not just a star rating) when you have finished reading a book & remember to post about it on social media too. You can follow this link to see the book reviews that I have done.
Of course, if you would like to support my own books, then I would be delighted. I have a number of academic/non-fiction books and have also written three novels and in March 2022, 100% of the royalties of four of these will be donated to MIND in conjunction with me running the Cardiff Half Marathon. Tthe following links will take you direct to the relevant Amazon page (they are also available at all good book shops):
- Hijacking Japan: Paperback, eBook
- Tokyo 20/20 Vision: Paperback, eBook, Hardback
- FOUR: Paperback, eBook, Hardback
- Osutaka: Paperback, eBook
Whatever you are doing on World Book Day, enjoy the day, enjoy it with a book, and continue to enjoy every day with a book. In the meantime, I will be spending time today both writing and reading books (I often actually have at least two books on the go at the same time).