[NOVEL] THE HOUSEKEEPER AND THE PROFESSOR – YOKO OGAWA

Summary: He is a brilliant math Professor with a peculiar problem–ever since a traumatic head injury, he has lived with only 80 minutes of short-term memory.  She is an astute young Housekeeper, with a ten-year-old son, who is hired to care for him.  And every morning, as the Professor and the Housekeeper are introduced to each other anew, a strange and beautiful relationship blossoms between them. And the numbers, in all of their articulate order, reveal a sheltering and poetic world to both the Housekeeper and her young son. The Housekeeper and the Professor is an enchanting story about what it means to live in the present, and about the curious equations that can create a family.

“A problem isn’t finished just because you’ve found the right answer.”

I read this story when I took a class in Japanese Literature, and I absolutely love it. Don’t be intimated by the math. It’s a perfect lazy Sunday morning read that is not just enjoyable but has meaningful take-away. A movie from this novel called was made in 2006 but sadly I couldn’t find the trailer :<

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[NOVEL] TOTTO-CHAN: THE LITTLE GIRL BY THE WINDOW – TETSUKO KUROYANAGI

Summary: This engaging series of childhood recollections tells about an ideal school in Tokyo during World War II that combined learning with fun, freedom, and love. This unusual school had old railroad cars for classrooms, and it was run by an extraordinary man–its founder and headmaster, Sosaku Kobayashi – who was a firm believer in freedom of expression and activity.

Down through the ages and in the whole world, Watt and Newton cannot have been the only ones to notice the steam from a boiling kettle or observe an apple fall.

41iUvdQME+L._SX298_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgA children’s  book might be refreshing break from my reading routine. Although I’m a little hesitant to review such a popular book, Totto-chan is such a unique novel that no one can ignore! Plus all the amazing illustrations from Iwasaki!

Rich characters

In the first chapter, Totto-chan seems like a girl that can’t be fixed: just 1st grade and she was already expelled from school. She does not seem to be a ‘normal’ kid who would be a misfit into Japan’s strict and demanding educational system. But as the stories unfold, we see an intellectually curious, courageous and even humorous. A girl so unique, yet so lively, playful and real that is much different from the flat and monotonous characters usually seen in children’s books.Read More »

[NOVEL] THE FRIENDS – KAZUMI YUMOTO

Summary: Curious about death, three sixth-grade boys decide to spy on an old man waiting for him to die, but they end up becoming his friends.

“…we human beings progress because we have the desire to know.”

Personal note: I read the book in Vietnamese, and I couldn’t find the 566c099b04567fe482233a1fdeab129e-w204@1xEnglish version online. So at first I thought I would quote some famous reviews below. But The friends‘ quotes are sooooo good, I will translate them from the Vietnamese version. Thus, the quotes below are not exact the same with the original English version. 

A beautiful friendship

When I first read the book, I thought it’s about the strong bond between Kiyama, Yamashita and Wakabe. There’s gonna be adventures, and fights, and lessons about friendship for those three. In short, a story for kids. However, my first impression was wrong.

Downright wrong.Read More »