What I’m Reading Wednesday


Do you ever suffer from a book hangover?

Sometimes a book pulls you in and you become so emotionally invested that when you reach the end, you’re not ready to move on. Am I being too dramatic?

After reading The Fever Tree (if you missed my post, check it out here) I was disappointed it had to end. It wraps up semi-abruptly and gives you little time to process the change of events leading up to the last scene.

When suffering from a book hangover it’s difficult to get into a new book, but I attempted to anyway. I plucked The Commoner off my bookshelf (hey guys, did you hear me? My bookshelf for once!) and couldn’t shift my literary emotions from 1880s South Africa to post-World War II Japan.

It was no fault to author, John Burnham Schwartz. It was just bad timing on my part. I should have given myself a day, maybe two, to grieve before I moved on. Again, too dramatic?

The Commoner came along with me on my red eye flight a couple of weeks ago to the East Coast. It kept me company in Sea-Tac before I boarded the plan at 11:59 p.m. and then again in Detroit during my layover at 7 a.m.

And it was there my book hangover subsided.

I’m always interested in Japanese historical stories, especially centered around WWII, the time when my grandmother Toshiko lived in Japan. The Commoner is a first person story told from Haruko, a young Japanese woman and commoner who marries the Crown Prince of Japan (Pop culture side note: Kate Middleton is proof that us “commoners” have a chance at becoming royalty).

Schwartz’s novel is a work of fiction, but histories of certain members of the Japanese Imperial Family served as an inspiration. Japan is a country rich in tradition and The Commoner gives an imaginative glimpse into what life was like for a carefree teen who loved playing tennis to become an isolated Empress.

Schwartz has penned several novels, including Reservation Road, which you might have seen the movie.

What books have given you a hangover?


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