Six degrees of separation: from a Japanese American author to a Japanese nuclear power plant


Six degrees of separation:
from a Japanese American author
to a Japanese nuclear power plant

Time for another quirky variation on this meme.
I’m so thrilled I started with a Japanese American author, and ended up in Japan, of course without anything planned ahead.

Using my own rules for this fun meme hosted by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest
(see there the origin of the meme and how it works
– posted the first Saturday of every month).

Here are my own quirky rules:

1. Use your list of books on Goodreads
2. Take the first word of the title (or in the subtitle) offered and find another title with that word in it – see the titles below the images to fully understand, as often the word could be in the second part of the title
3. Then use the first word of THAT title to find your text title
4. Or the second if the title starts with the same word, or you are stuck

The Book of Form and Emptiness

This is the book we are supposed to start from.
I have not read it, and I am not sure I want to read it. I first want to red another book by this author, A Tale for the Time Being.

A brilliantly inventive new novel about loss, growing up, and our relationship with things, by the Booker Prize-finalist author of A Tale for the Time Being.
After the tragic death of his beloved musician father, fourteen-year-old Benny Oh begins to hear voices. The voices belong to the things in his house–a sneaker, a broken Christmas ornament, a piece of wilted lettuce. Although Benny doesn’t understand what these things are saying, he can sense their emotional tone; some are pleasant, a gentle hum or coo, but others are snide, angry and full of pain. When his mother, Annabelle, develops a hoarding problem, the voices grow more clamorous.
At first, Benny tries to ignore them, but soon the voices follow him outside the house, onto the street and at school, driving him at last to seek refuge in the silence of a large public library, where objects are well-behaved and know to speak in whispers. There, Benny discovers a strange new world, where “things happen.” He falls in love with a mesmerizing street artist with a smug pet ferret, who uses the library as her performance space. He meets a homeless philosopher-poet, who encourages him to ask important questions and find his own voice amongst the many.
And he meets his very own Book–a talking thing–who narrates Benny’s life and teaches him to listen to the things that truly matter.
With its blend of sympathetic characters, riveting plot, and vibrant engagement with everything from jazz, to climate change, to our attachment to material possessions, The Book of Form and Emptiness is classic Ruth Ozeki–bold, wise, poignant, playful, humane and heartbreaking.

6 degrees Aug 2022

The Book of Form and Emptiness

1. The Book of Tea, by Kakuzo Okakura

I learned a lot about tea, its origin, the three major eras and ways of enjoying it – boiled, whipped, and finally steeped. Only recently have we been steeping it. And did you know it used to be drunk with salt in it?
See my review

2. Infused: Adventures In Teaby Henrietta Lovell

I haven’t read this one yet, it’s been on my TBR since last December.
Have you read it?

Henrietta Lovell is best known as ‘The Rare Tea Lady’. She is on a mission to revolutionise the way we drink tea by replacing industrially produced teabags with the highest quality tea leaves. Her quest has seen her travel to the Shire Highlands of Malawi, across the foothills of the Himalayas, and to hidden gardens in the Wuyi-Shan to source the world’s most extraordinary teas.
Infused invites us to discover these remarkable places, introducing us to the individual growers and household name chefs Lovell has met along the way – and reveals the true pleasures of tea. The result is a delicious infusion of travel writing, memoir, recipes, and glorious photography, all written with Lovell’s unique charm and wit.

3. Are We French Yet? Keith & Val’s Adventures in Provence, by Keith Van Sickle

VERDICT: Nice collections of funny and culturally aware vignettes highlighting how life can be enriched by being familiar with two cultures.
Full review here

4. Fairy Tales for the Disillusioned: Enchanted Stories from the French Decadent Tradition, by Gretchen Schultz (Editor), Lewis Seifert (Editor)

VERDICT: Remarkable anthology of famous fairy tales as reinterpreted by French authors of the Decadent movement. Fascinating and very enjoyable example of comparative literature at its best.
Read my 5 star review

5. Goddess Power: A Kids’ Book of Greek and Roman Mythology: 10 Empowering Tales of Legendary Women, by Yung In Chae

VERDICT: Very pretty and well done summary of Greek mythology for children, teens, and adults.
Another 5 star review

6. Ichi-F: A Worker’s Graphic Memoir of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, by Kazuto Tatsuta

This graphic nonfiction was absolutely fascinating. This is a big book, 561 pages, with a lot to read on each page. But so worth it!
Check some of my thoughts


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Read or skip #10


Inspired by book blogger Davida, at The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog, herself inspired by a couple of other bloggers (see here for instance). I plan to post about it on Saturdays, except the 1st Sat of the month, when I usually feature another meme.

The rules are simple:

  1. Sort your Goodreads TBR shelf from oldest to new
  2. Pick the first 5 or 10 (or whatever number you choose, depending on how large your list is) books you see
  3. Decide whether to keep them or get rid of them.



I’ll keep 33, 34, 36, 38 (following Tony’s advice), 39 and 40
I’ll Skip: 35 and 37
And put 32 on my to-read-maybe list



Slowly but surely, this is already my 10th Read or Slip, and my Goodreads TBR list IS going down. I have done some cleaning since last Sunday, going through obvious titles I knew for sure I wanted to read or skip.
But I need your help on these:

read-or-skip 10


44) New Finnish Grammar

  • I love fiction with the importance of language
  • BUT it’s a post-war book, and I sometimes get tired of these

46) The Magician’s Assistant

  • I have enjoyed books by Patchett…
  • and I have hated at least one

48) Granny D.

  • A walk across the US
  • BUT by a political activist?

53) The Old Ways

  • “Told in Macfarlane’s distinctive voice, The Old Ways folds together natural history, cartography, geology, archaeology and literature”.

55) Quartet in Autumn

  • I have never read Barbara Pym. Is it a good one to start with?
  • If not, which one would you recommend?

58) A Tale for the Time Being

  • This is very popular. Tell me why you think I should really read it.

61) Memento Mori

  • Same as for Barbara Pym: having never read Muriel Spark, is it THE book you recommend me to read by her?
  • If not, which one would you recommend?

82) Hey, Mom, can I ride my bike across America?

  • 3rd travel book for today’s selection. Is this one worth it?

146) Exley

  • It seems to be quirky and imaginative.

What do YOU think? Thanks for helping