Book Log

I am a book worm. I'd like to share my reads with you, my delightful friends.


Rereading Harry Potter...

I happily began this year rereading my favourite book series. Actually, I listened to it. It started off my reading this year right and inspired me to keep going. This series got me interested in reading, and there are many things that I take from it which influence my reading and writing. The first is how rich the world is and how easily I could put myself into the world of Harry Potter. I am sure many fantasy fans will scoff, but as a child, this was a fascinating and inviting world for me to be a part of. The villains were vague enough at times to resonate with, but slowly grew into something I understood and could see in my own life. The absence of Voldemort for most of the series was fascinating to me - how his influence was still felt throughout half of the books without his truly being alive. However, now that I'm grown, I can see several ethical flaws within the series. Nowadays, I resent some of the positions the author has taken, which kind of...makes me want to love the villains more than I usually do. Come on, dude, I can't be forced into this self-sabotage. No wonder I love misanthropes - you didn't have to make Snape so hot, bro. Anyways, this series will always have a special place in my heart.

No Longer Human by Osamu Dazai (Manga by Junji Ito)

I read the manga first, then the novel. 'No Longer Human' is a fascinating story and has been compared to the author's own life. The novel begins with a description of three "photos" which describe this individual, Yozo, at different points in his life. This individual feels seperated from humanity in a way that I associate with trauma and neurodivergence. They learn at an early age to "clown", wearing a mask to hide their discomfort, with their worst fear being someone discovering their secret. Throughout their lifetime, they learn to cope in a number of fun ways (*wink*, not actually fun). As an individual who has been through trauma, I don't find this story "scary". I was led to believe this was a horror story, especially when it was illustrated by my favourite horror mangaka. However, while there are disturbing elements, I find the story incredibly sad most of all, especially when you the writing on the walls as certain events are unfolding. When you know the story of self sabotage, it's like watching a train crash in slow motion.
There are a few notable differences in the manga. The one I find most interesting occurs when Yozo is admitted into a psychiatric hospital. In the manga, Ito depicts the author of the story, Osamu Dazai, as a character who is in the facility with Yozo. The scene is really fascinating, I think, and communicates something that I feel as someone who has gone through trauma and someone who works in mental health - having company in horror is much like an umbrella in a storm. There's still a storm, but maybe you're a little less wet.

More Junji Ito Manga

Dissolving Classroom

As far as Ito collections go, this one was just okay for me. Two siblings arrive in a classroom and proceed to creep people out in various ways. I am fascinated by the exploration of one who overapologizes, and we do love a good brain melt.

Cat Diary: Yon & Mu

I absolutely loved these short stories about Ito's cats! Here's my favourite panel:


The first of two story collections I read this year. Smashed was full of great stories, my favourites being "Blood Slurping Darkness" (because I love a good vampire fic) and "Roar of Ages". I found the latter incredibly fascinating as an exploration of trauma and the way energy can linger in a place of natural disaster.


My second story collection I read this year! I enjoyed SO many stories in this collection. The titular piece, "Shivers" was fascinating and incredibly creepy for me - images of things filled with many tiny holes freak me out to the extreme, so the images stuck with me. The story, "Long Dream" has stuck with me long after I read it - a strange condition in which an individual experiences dreams which last longer and longer, doctors theorizing that they will eventually enter an "endless dream". The imagery in "Grease" or "Glyceride" creeped me out majorly. I love good body horror and it was just so gross! "In Old Records" and "My Dear Ancestors" also make my top list, but I think every story in this collection is worth reading! For fans of Tomie, she makes an appearance in "Painter". I dunno, I find beautiful women horrifying for very different reasons.


This story was incredible and I read it in just about a day. I couldn't put it down! As a fan of idols, the themes Ito explores in this story are intriguing. A scientist names a newly-discovered planet after his daughter, Remina, and comes to discover the consequences of deifying his child. I loved this story more than I thought I would. The horror is straight from my nightmares and the social commentary is excellent!


I enjoyed Lovesickness but not as much as I thought I would. The story revolves around a fortune telling game, "Tsuji-ura", in which you cover your face and ask the first stranger you meet at an intersection your question. Of course, many individuals seek to know their fortunes regarding love. A young, handsome man begins appearaing at these intersections and telling people that they will never find love. What follows but death and one guilty individual seeking to determine the cause. I thought I'd LOVE this but I just like it. The handsome man, though, haunts me in my dreams. I find myself lusting after men who remind me of the crossroads boy, maybe I'm cursed with the Lovesickness.

InuYasha by Rumiko Takahashi

Vol 1

InuYasha is a favourite anime of mine! I read the manga some time ago, but never had the complete collection. So I got Volume 1 and started reading. I think I read this in the bath in about an hour as a nostalgia bomb.

First Person Singular by Haruki Murakami

For some time I've been meaning to read something by Murakami. I started with something more digestible, a collection of short stories told in the first person. I gotta say...I felt really stupid reading this. I didn't understand anything. But I think that's kind of the point. After I read it, I thought, "Well...I think Murakami just isn't for me." There are definitely parts of his writing that irk me - notably how he writes about women. However...I haven't read many pieces lately that leave me as baffled, confused, and pondering like this. I am still thinking about the weird things I read in this book and what they mean. I especially loved the piece, "With the Beatles" for many reasons. First, I love the Beatles. Second, I think it really hammers down the vibe I got from most of the absurdism. Now remember, I'm stupid, but what I think is that this piece is meant to be completely absurd. However, there are flags and symbols that usually lead us to make conclusions about the piece making a certain point or exploring a certain emotion. However, I think it's meant to be absurd and leave us wondering what it means. He drives it home with this question at the end, "(Question: What elements in the lives of these two men were symbolically suggested by their two meetings and conversations?)". I don't know bro and I don't think I ever will.

Falling Leaves by Adeline Yen Mah

I love a good memoir! Particularly I love memoirs involving trauma, and this one certainly does! Adeline Yen Mah tells her story of growing up and leaving an abusive family in China. I am fascinated by people's life stories and reading this reminded me that I should be reading and digesting more memoirs. Fiction is fantastic, but real stories of real people can tell us so much about the world we live in and the horrors we face.

The Moon in the Palace by Weina Dai Randel

This is part one in a duology that I probably won't finish. It's not that I didn't enjoy it, I just didn't enjoy it a lot. Along with that, I've read that this story isn't necessarily historically accurate, which I despise. However, this is a fun and gruesome harem story which apparently tells the story of We Zetian's ascention to the throne. I haven't actually gotten that far - I got to the part where there was a big Revolution and violence. Sorry, spoilers. Something I enjoy about harem fiction is the fabricated rivalry and alliance between women that develops when competing for the hand of the emperor. This story plays on that well and gives us satisfying conclusions to those connections.

The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole

Damn. This book was a rough read. It is very old so I get it. But look, I had to read it. I'm a fan of Gothics and this was the first! As a writer of Gothics, I felt it necessary to see its embryonic stage. However, I will not ever read this again. Not because the story wasn't interesting but because our writing styles and language have changed so much since its conception. Anyways, I hope all y'all lit majors have fun with this book - I took it from my friend who apparently has to read it again for class this year.

Earthsea Series by Ursula K LeGuinn

A Wizard of Earthsea

Someone told me that if I liked Harry Potter, then I should read the Earthsea series. So I hecking did, and boy am I glad! LeGuinn is first an excellent author. Along with that, I read and explored the ways she grew as a person while writing. Something I despise about Harry Potter, as I stated earlier, is the fact that the ethical positions are icky and closed minded. LeGuinn's world is far more enriching. This book opens with a young talented mage who is led to be mentored and eventually learn at an academy. However, we leave the academy in great time! The story is not about the school but rather Sparrowhawk's growth as a wizard and a man. I quickly figured out the theme of the book and then what would happen. It did not change how satisfying the revelation was, though. When reading this book, I recommend paying close attention to the mention of "light and shadows". This theme that LeGuinn explores in this book is beautiful and almost brought me to tears.

Tombs of Atuan

So I quickly went on to read Tombs of Atuan. I was confused at first - this story takes place in a completely different place and with a different perspective than A Wizard of Earthsea. How cool! The sequel explores something completely different within the world of Earthsea and then ties it together so beautifully. I fortunately had a book with an interview at the end (which I LOVE) and LeGuinn talks about what this novel explores regarding gender. A criticism of this novel is that Tenar is not the hero of her own story. I see this point and really love what LeGuinn says about it, which was that in her experience as a woman and within Tenar's story, she couldn't break out on her own. Especially given society during this time, I think Tenar's story of empowerment is realistic. She actually holds a lot of power in regards to her adventure and I'm excited to see where we go next!