Sunday, 13 January 2013

East Wind Melts the Ice

January's a month when everyone seems to be feeling a little flat. The adrenaline rush of the new year's resolution is fading already. The sales might be on, but that means the crowded shops are best avoided. I'm trying to use the month to burrow down into my 'not finished yet' pile. You know, the one that every reader is adding to, even if they don't admit it. I try, not that I always succeed, in giving a book a few chances if I'm not immediately drawn in. Time, light, mood and all sorts of emotional responses mean that a book might need a few attempts.

I've had the elegant East Wind Melts the Ice on my shelves since it was first published in 2007. It's been pushed back when reading for business or for travelling. Some books, like this one, are too beautiful to take outside or shove in a rucksack. I've enjoyed Liza Dalby's writing on geisha and kimono, so thought that I'd manage to finish this one quickly. Well, it's 2013 and I'm still finding it difficult to finish. That's not to say that the book isn't interesting, but the unfamiliar subjects mean that the book requires concentration, peace and quiet. I don't always have any of those elements. However, January has long dark afternoons and I've had the computer off for much of the day. The book is a collection of short diary entries as small essays. I'm keeping this for bedtime or early morning reading to read an entry or two a day. Twisting between Japan and California, this is a fascinating scrapbook covering gardens, houses and wildlife. I'm enjoying her work as she discusses writing in English and Japanese - how she's translating Eastern concepts for a Western audience and her discussions with her translator. It's a book for thoughtful days and I am determined to finish it this year.

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