The Guardian has been collecting Top-Ten book lists, not necessarily like those recently compiled by former Raleigh News Observer Book Editor J. Peder Zane, in The Top Ten: Writers Pick Their Favorite Books, but instead fit into what seem like whimsical categories.

There’s the top ten smelly books and books about wine, and books to help you turn a new leaf. There are some expected categories, such as short novels and satires, and some helpful, especially for gift-giving, such as adult books for teenagers. And they all seem to be chosen by authors with a recent publication in the category.

I took a look at both adult books for teenagers and books set in Japan, given my teaching experience and my mild obsession with Haruki Murakami. I’d add Challenging the Pacific: The First Woman to Row the Kon-Tiki Route to the former, and Saichi Maruya’s Grass For My Pillow (which I reviewed for the SFCBR) to the latter, but in general, despite what Douglas Cowie previously termed the obvious shortcomings of such lists, I don’t think I’ll be working on any lists of my own any time soon, unless someone offers me cash, time, and perhaps a glass of wine.

But they at least got me thinking about what gifts to buy in the upcoming months, and to finally get my hands on a Kenzaburo Oe novel as I’ve always meant to do. After all, I believe he’s Murakami’s favorite.

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