#BookReview A SINGLE ROSE by MURIEL BARBERY @BelgraviaB #publicationday



ABOUT THE BOOK


From the best-selling author of The Elegance of the Hedgehog comes a story about a woman’s journey to discover the father she never knew and a love she never thought possible.

Rose has just turned forty when she gets a call from a lawyer asking her to come to Kyoto for the reading of her estranged father’s will. And so for the first time in her life she finds herself in Japan, where Paul, her father’s assistant, is waiting to greet her.

As Paul guides Rose along a mysterious itinerary designed by her deceased father, her bitterness and anger are soothed by the stones and the trees in the Zen gardens they move through. During their walks, Rose encounters acquaintances of her father–including a potter and poet, an old lady friend, his housekeeper and chauffeur–whose interactions help her to slowly begin to accept a part of herself that she has never before acknowledged.

As the reading of the will gets closer, Rose’s father finally, posthumously, opens his heart to his daughter, offering her a poignant understanding of his love and a way to accept all she has lost. 


PUBLISHED BY GALLIC BOOKS

Publication date – 23rd September 2021

PURCHASE LINK

 Belgravia Books

Amazon

MY REVIEW

This is an exquisitely told story that will you have you yearning for Japanese gardens and swooning over the words chosen to describe the journey you take with Rose!

Rose finds herself an orphan at 40, when the father she never knew dies and she has to travel to Japan for the reading of the will. She’s very conflicted about her feelings about this man she never met or knew and sees this trip just as ‘admin’ – not expecting what was to follow.

Happiness seems to have evaded her over the years – wrapped up in her work as a botanist, she was always lacking that passion or connection that lit up her life. You wonder if she learnt from her mother who always lived with a negative outlook on the world.

During her time in Japan she is taken on a tour of places that were important to her father, by his assistant. And those trips start to open her eyes to this man she never knew, and takes her out of that comfort zone to start experiencing a different outlook on life. As a reader you can’t help but be seduced by the use of language to describe the gardens and flowers, and Rose starts to learn things about herself.

This was a magical reading experience for me – the way it is written was just so beautiful and elegant and I really enjoyed watching Rose learn more about herself as she learnt more about her father. A beautiful book inside and out!!

★★★★★

My thanks to the team at Gallic Press for the advanced reader copy in return for a fair and honest review

#BookReview KAIZEN by SARAH HARVEY #Audiobookreview

ABOUT THE BOOK


THE MAGIC OF KAIZEN – THE JAPANESE METHOD OF TAKING SMALL STEPS TO ACCOMPLISH HUGE GOALS – IS NOW HERE FOR EVERYONE. . .

EXPERIENCE THE MAGIC OF ‘KAIZEN’ – THE JAPANESE WAY TO CREATE LASTING CHANGE. . .

Lifestyle changes can be overwhelming: It’s hard to take on major goals without falling prey to self-doubt. But with ‘KAIZEN’, big goals become small, approachable steps. This Japanese method first made waves in the business world by launching Toyota to success; it also adds magic to Marie Kondo’s life-changing method of tidying up. As Kondo puts it: “You can take the first small step toward your dream today, and keep taking small steps to grow your passions”.

Now, Sarah Harvey unlocks ‘KAIZEN’S’ amazing potential to enhance our everyday lives. Even the boldest intention (I should run a marathon someday) begins with the simplest step (Today, I’ll research local running groups). ‘KAIZEN’ is the key to improving our health, work, finances, relationships, habits, and – yes – homes!


PURCHASE LINK


Amazon

MY REVIEW

I listened to the audioversion of this book.


This was my first introduction to Kaizen and I found it to be really informative and intriguing! It’s not a ‘go cold turkey’ kind of approach to life, but a more measured ‘slowly,slowly’ way to change habits and your outlook on life – overall, a more manageable way of changing set behaviour which often leads to more success!

The books that make you want to change everything about yourself overnight are enough to make you go running in the other direction, but I found this approach was so much more inviting! Just changing 1 thing about your routine a week – such as 5 minute mediation every morning, or once a week – is much easier to achieve and that repetition helps you reset your brain to accept that as part of your new routine!

The fact that you’re just thinking more about the choices you are making, really make you analyze that repeat behaviour that you wanted to change. Kaizen is used all over Japan in business and personal life, and the positive results there helped to inspire the author to follow suit and share her experiences and tips on helping you achieve the same.

There’s lots about sleep patterns, phone addiction, stress, morning habits, spending money, decluttering etc – and there’s some great little tips along the way that just make you eager to try them out as they appear to require little effort at all! Fascinating and I’m looking forward to keeping many of the changes I’ve already made in my new routines and seeing how else Kaizen can help me!

★★★★

#MUSICMONDAY GHOSTS by JAPAN

hello!! Happy Monday!! Time to share the music love thanks to Music Monday, hosted by Drew over at The Tattooed Book Geek, giving us a weekly chance to share a favourite song or video.

I’ve been listening to ‘Chilled ’80’s ‘ a lot this week and it brought Ghosts by Japan back to my life!

When the room is quiet
The daylight almost gone
It seems there’s something I should know
Well I ought to leave but the rain it never stops
And I’ve no particular place to go

Just when I think I’m winning
When I’ve broken every door
The ghosts of my life blow wilder than before
Just when I thought I could not be stopped
When my chance came to be king
The ghosts of my life blew wilder than the wind

Well I’m feeling nervous
Now I find myself alone
The simple life’s no longer there
Once I was so sure
Now the doubt inside my mind
Comes and goes but leads nowhere

Just when I think I’m winning
When I’ve broken every door
The ghosts of my life blow wilder than before
Just when I thought I could not be stopped
When my chance came to be king
The ghosts of my life blew wilder than the wind

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Randy Newman

Ghosts lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

#20booksofsummer #bookreview Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

Guess who went to the library?! Guess who picked up a ‘little’ book she’d think would be perfect for her #20booksofsummer challenge – blatantly disregarding, once more, the list she spent hours putting together before the challenge started?! Yep – me!!  And once more I seem to have discovered another little gem of a book at only around 176 pages long!  Book 8 is done and dusted!!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Keiko Furukura had always been considered a strange child, and her parents always worried how she would get on in the real world, so when she takes on a job in a convenience store while at university, they are delighted for her. For her part, in the convenience store she finds a predictable world mandated by the store manual, which dictates how the workers should act and what they should say, and she copies her coworkers’ style of dress and speech patterns so she can play the part of a normal person. However, eighteen years later, at age 36, she is still in the same job, has never had a boyfriend, and has only few friends. She feels comfortable in her life but is aware that she is not living up to society’s expectations and causing her family to worry about her. When a similarly alienated but cynical and bitter young man comes to work in the store, he will upset Keiko’s contented stasis—but will it be for the better?

Sayaka Murata brilliantly captures the atmosphere of the familiar convenience store that is so much part of life in Japan. With some laugh-out-loud moments prompted by the disconnect between Keiko’s thoughts and those of the people around her, she provides a sharp look at Japanese society and the pressure to conform, as well as penetrating insights into the female mind. Convenience Store Woman is a fresh, charming portrait of an unforgettable heroine that recalls Banana Yoshimoto, Han Kang, and Amelie.

MY REVIEW

Really enjoyed this short but sweet story of Keiko who was sick of people telling her off for being different, so did all she could to be the same as everyone else but still gets people telling her to do things differently! She can’t win!!

Keiko is 36 and has worked in the local convenience store for 18 years. She loves the routine and gets to study people as they go about their daily business, picking up new traits to copy in her bid to ‘be normal’ and fit in! Even as a young child she was thought of as odd – she would do what she thought was necessary in certain situations but that would often lead to her being told off. So her only option then was to conform and be like everyone else.

And her daily routine hasn’t altered much over the years, until a new employee turns up and his disregard for doing the right thing and what is expected troubles and fascinates her! He doesn’t last long at the store but soon finds himself part of her life as his outlook on the world is pretty similar to hers – he’s an outcast because he doesn’t want to be like everyone else and others can’t understand his ways.

This is definitely a quirky read and brilliantly observed. Teaching you to be true to yourself and that being different isn’t a bad thing, despite what society says, thinks and expects! Really enjoyable!

★★★★

Made in Japan by S.J.Parks #BlogTour #BookReview

Absolutely delighted to be kicking off the Blog Tour for the debut novel of S.J. Parks today!  Been a treat to read it and I hope that you will enjoy it as much as I’ve done!

THE BLURB

A young girl traces her mother’s steps all the way from London to Japan to search for the father she never knew.

Hana arrives in Tokyo with only two words in her mind: The Teahouse. She’s a long way from home in East London and still fresh from the loss of her mother. But her grief has sent her across to the other side of the world to find out who she is, and for Hana that means finding the Japanese man she has never met, her father with only these two words as clues.

Made in Japan is a beautifully woven story of a mother and daughter who, decades apart, tread the same streets of glittering Tokyo looking for that something that might complete them.

Publisher; Harper Collins

Amazon UK

Hive.co.uk – buy online and support your local bookstore

Waterstones

MY REVIEW

The simple but stunning cover gives you a glimpse of what lies instore for you when you begin this reading journey.  I found it to be such an immersive read – the pace is quite gentle as you follow Hana in her journey of trying to find herself whilst grieving for the loss of her mother.

She was never told about her father so she travels to Japan to try and fit the pieces together of things her mother told her, and focus on ‘the teahouse’ which was the only clue she had to her fathers’ identity.

Hana feels lost while she’s there but she finds herself involved in the locals lives from the place she stays at, to the friends she connects with.

Alongside Hana and her story set in 2012, we also get to go back to the late 1980’s to see life in Japan from the point of view of her mother and this is really where the story kicks in as the pieces fall into place. Names and places are soon integral to the quest she is on and I found this connection fascinating.

I did find the pace a little too slow around the middle where the story seemed to stall a little, but the extraordinary attention to detail both in the surroundings and traditions they both faced living in Japan really brought the story back to life. I also enjoyed the short, snappy chapters which were like little snapshots into daily Japanese life and human behaviour.  Her journey also evokes different memories of her childhood and her mother and this was another intriguing aspect to her overcoming her grief and the different emotions that this brings out in her – sorrow, anger, and all the unanswered questions she has going through her head.

Overall this was an enjoyable and emotive read and a great study of human relationships set in such a fascinating country.