We’ve extracted the ‘Read List’ from both the Republic of Ireland and Japan to give you a taste of what to expect inside. Pick up your copy for Father’s Day or to escape wherever your heart desires!
Republic of Ireland
Republic of Ireland pages from Armchair Explorer, courtesy of Lonely Planet.
by Jonathan Swift (1726)
Swift’s towering satire follows a surgeon who encounters flying islands, talking horses, giants and tiny people. It’s surreal and disorientating, as well as angry about Ireland’s condition – colonialism gets a serious kicking.
by Frank McCourt (1996)
McCourt won the Pulitzer Prize for this often bleak, occasionally funny autobiographical tale of a 1930s Limerick family, their lives dominated by poverty and alcoholism.
by W.B. Yeats (2000)
Yeats towers over Irish poetry and this collection gives a fine picture of the Nobel Prize winner’s evolution from more traditional work to his mythic later poems.
by John Banville (2005)
A retired art historian in southeast Ireland looks back on his life, pondering secrets, death and childhood in a wonderful, dreamlike book that won the Booker Prize.
by Sally Rooney (2018)
Rooney’s second novel follows two school friends who fall in and out of love in Sligo and Dublin. The TV adaptation was a big hit; the book is fresh, observant and compulsively readable.
Japan pages from Armchair Explorer, courtesy of Lonely Planet.
by Haruki Murakami (1987, trans 1989)
The novel that made Murakami a literary star, this is a coming-of-age story about a young man’s exploration of love while dealing with loss, against a backdrop of university days in 1960s Tokyo.
by Banana Yoshimoto (1988, trans 1993)
A haunting tale of two mothers that explores themes of loneliness, transsexuality and hope. Kitchen topped the Japan bestseller list for over a year following its release.
Convenience Store Woman
by Sayaka Murata (2016, trans 2018)
An oddball, poignant and heartwarming story of an alienated young convenience store worker existing on the periphery of ‘normal’ Japanese society, trying to find a new way to fit in.
by Yasunari Kawabata (1948, trans 1957)
Nobel Prize winner Kawabata’s masterpiece novel is about a passionate yet doomed love affair between a wealthy dilettante and a country geisha, set in the isolated beauty of western Japan’s snowy mountains.
The Pillow Book
by Sei Shōnagon (1002)
A Japanese literature classic, this is a detailed account of the author’s life as a lady-in-waiting, offering the reader a fascinating insight into Japanese court life at the height of Heian culture.
Armchair Explorer is available online and at your local store.