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Books I read in 2023

This year I decided not to write an article on advice for Christmas gifts, I preferred to tell you which books I read in 2023 in order to give you some useful ideas.

I'm very happy because this year many really interesting books have been released, including republications and unpublished editions.

Kokoro cookingwiththehamster

Obviously I can't help but recommend my book to you, KOKORO. IL GIAPPONE TRA POP E DISINCANTO: a long journey to discover Japan that starts from the Edo period and reaches the present day, among fashion, underground cultures, cinema, music and literature.

Rich in ideas for further study, it is the only book in Italy on Japan that does not present clichés and prejudices. Whether you have been to Japan or not, whether you are interested in this topic or not, if you haven't read it yet I recommend it... and I really hope you will like it!

japan tour with the hamster hanami cookingwiththehamster

I remind you that only 3 places are available for the JAPAN TOUR WITH THE HAMSTER HANAMI EDITION:we will go to Japan together from March 18th to 28th, the absolute best time of the year to enjoy the cherry blossoms!

I have written a rich and complete itinerary, thanks to the possibility of having the Japan Rail Pass. It will be an unforgettable experience, among iconic and less traveled places and the best food you can ever imagine. So much history, nature and culture await you, in my opinion this is the best Christmas gift you can give or give yourself!

And now here are the books I read in 2023!

Gli amanti della notte

Subete mayonaka no koibito tachi (2011) by Mieko Kawakami

Fuyuko is a thirty-year-old editor, who lives alone and incapable of establishing relationships. By meeting Mitsutsuka she decides to change her: gradually demolishing the protective walls that she had built around herself, she Fuyuko understands who she is and who she wants to become.

A very delicate and sincere little novel by one of the most significant and considered writers on the current Japanese literary scene.

Matcha al veleno

by Stefania Viti (2023)

The first novel by Stefania Viti (author of numerous successful books on Japanese gastronomy) is a noir set in Milan: a crime occurs during a tea ceremony. The intrepid fashion journalist Nora Valli investigates this singular mystery.

A very pleasant, flowing book which, above all, portrays the Milanese capital closely linked to Japanese culture, through characters characterized by a strong realism.


by Junji Ito (2017)

A manga that is an essential masterpiece of Japanese horror.

Tomie is a diabolical and fascinating girl who seduces and corrupts the minds of men, dragging them into a spiral of madness. She is a shape-shifting being capable of returning to life to carry out acts of revenge in a bloody and merciless manner.

I terrestri

Chikyūseijin (2018) by Sayaka Murata

A raw and devastating book, written by one of my favorite Japanese authors.

Natsuki was tasked by the plush toy Piyut with saving the Earth by doing magic using a compact and a wand, which however the adults don't seem to see. One day the little girl is discovered having sexual relations with her little cousin Yu and her parents, consequently, prevent her from seeing him again. Subsequently Professor Igasakile proposes strange things to her, but her parents don't believe her. The Natsuki mind thus takes refuge in another world, to escape the horrors suffered and committed.

As an adult she marries a man with whom she decides to leave everything to go and live in the old family house, where they meet Yu. The three begin a coexistence that breaks every taboo.


by Haruki Murakami (1997)

This book is a reconstruction through the testimonies of the people involved (both the victims and relatives of the dead, and some members of the sect) of the attack on March 20, 1995 in the Tokyo subway, when liquid poison was spread by the religious sect Aum Shinrikyo.

Queen Emeraldas

by Leiji Matsumoto, Collection Box (2021)

Definitive edition of master Matsumoto's 1978 masterpiece.

Hiroshi is an orphan traveling in space aboard a vessel, which suffers a serious attack. When all seems lost, a ship appears to the rescue and annihilates the enemy fleet: it is the pirate spaceship of Queen Emeraldas, a star corsair. Alongside him, Hiroshi will begin an incredible adventure, sailing through the galaxies.

Bao Family. La cucina cinese tra tradizione e modernità

by Céline Chung (2023)

A recipe book that is also the history of Chinese cuisine in the West during the 1980s, the fight against stereotypes and the celebration of the conviviality typical of Chinese meals.

A wonderful book, in form and content, which cannot be missed by anyone who loves Chinese cuisine.

La cerimonia della vita

Seimeishiki (2019) by Sayaka Murata

Twelve stories in which humour, grotesque and horror come together starting from the comfort of everyday life. The author gives a new meaning to life and death, leaving the moral interpretation to the reader.

Un sandwich a Ginza

Sandwich wa Ginza de (2013) by Yoko Hiramastu

A delicious and fascinating gastronomic journey that will make you feel immensely nostalgic for Japan.

Iro iro

by Giorgio Amitrano (2018)

One of the best books I read this year. The author is a living legend, if you don't know him, just know that he is the translator of Murakami Haruki and Yoshimoto Banana.

In Iro Iro makes some decidedly enlightening digressions on today's Japan: I fully share his disenchanted thoughts on this country, if you have followed me long enough you know how much I love it precisely because it is a hotbed of exasperating contradictions.

Brivido e altre storie

by Junji Ito, Edizioni BD (2018)

Collection of the first part of the best stories by the master of horror manga, presented for the first time complete with his comments.

Circo e altre storie

by Junji Ito, Edizioni BD (2019)

Anthology from the master of horror manga who places no limits on the grotesque.

Finché non aprirai quel libro

お探し物は図書室まで by Michiko Aoyama (2020)

A light, flowing and undemanding book, which I define as "beach reading".


Kawaiso da ne? by Wataya Risa (2011)

Two beautifully written long women's stories that you will devour in a couple of days.

Solo con gli occhi

蹴りたい背中 by Wataya Risa (2003)

A short teenage novel from which I expected more but which instead bored me. It's a shame, because I really appreciate the author.

Vorrei farla finita, ma anche mangiare toppokki

by Baek Sehee, Mondadori (2023)

A book whose title is definitely misleading. We don't talk about Korean food but it can all be summed up in a long and exhausting autobiographical therapy session. I don't want to belittle the author's discomfort, as well as that of many people who suffer, but this book really unnerved me and I struggled to finish it. I didn't like it, I don't know if it was understood.

Non è un lavoro per ragazze

Shōjo ni wa Mukanai Shokugyō by Kazuki Sakuraba (2005)

Onishi Aoi and Miyanoshita Shizuka are two girls who attend middle school. They live their monotonous life on an island in Yamaguchi Prefecture, both hiding a private life with deep wounds that will lead them to make extreme gestures.

Ultima notte a Pechino

by Golo Zhao, Bao Publishing (2023)

Manhua (Chinese comic) in which the story of growth is intertwined with the discovery and memory of foods. Very beautiful and all colourful.

La taverna di mezzanotte vol. 7

by Yaro Abe, Bao Publishing

Volume number 7 of the series, I think, the most beautiful ever read in recent years: catch up on all the previous chapters!

If you want to immerse yourself in the nocturnal and delicious atmosphere of the alleys of Shinjuku in Tokyo, this work with Proustian notes is for you.

Crying in H Mart

by Michelle Zauner (2021)

The New York Times bestseller that all of America is talking about. The author is half Korean and half American, the whole book is a long heartbreaking narrative about her mother's cancer.

My question is: why do "half" Americans have a sadistic taste and torment the reader with tragedies? I can assure you that I am not exaggerating. I don't want to disrespect anyone, not even the author, whose past must have been nothing short of shocking. I'm just saying that in the literature of these authors I find a certain degree of exasperation that isn't present elsewhere.

I liked it? Not much.

La salita verso casa

Sakura by Nakano Nishi (2005)

A book that starts off quietly and then devastates the reader with tragic plot twists in pure Japanese style. Definitely recommended, I loved it!

Il bambino e il cane

by Hase Seishu, Marsilio (2022)

As you can imagine, you will cry. But if you love Hachiko's story this book is for you.


by Keum Suk Gendry-Kim, Bao Publishing (2023)

Simply incredible manhwa (Korean comic) on the theme of families divided between North and South Korea.

Le malerbe

by Keum Suk Gendry-Kim, Bao Publishing (2019)

Amazing manhwa (Korean comic) about comfort women. Naked and raw, based on a true story.


by Keum Suk Gendry-Kim, Bao Publishing (2021)

Manhwa (Korean comic) on the difficult topic of autism and the consequent social non-acceptance.

Shanghai baby

by Weihui Zhou, BUR (2012)

Novel published close to the new millennium which shook public opinion, including international ones, in communist China. Poetic and very direct. I highly recommend it.

Occhi nella notte

Beddo taimu aizu by Yamada Eimi (1985)

The passionate relationship between the young Japanese Kim and a black American. A little-known deep dive into the lives of Generation X's Americanized Japanese.

Nel Giappone delle donne

by Antonietta Pastore (2004)

Based on her personal experience in Japan and that of the women she met, the author analyzes the Japanese female universe through marriage, divorce, education, feminism and work.

Gothic Lolita. La nuova moda delle ragazze giapponesi conquista il mondo

by Valentina Testa (2010)

A small, well-written manual on the gothic lolita phenomenon in Japan, Italy and around the world by a girl who has experienced this trend firsthand. Very interesting, full of references to literature, cinema and mass culture in general. Accompanied by black and white photographs.

Lady Snowblood

by Kazuo Koike, Kazuo Kamimura (edizione BD 2002)

Beautiful complete box set of the famous gekika published between 1972 and 1973.

The story told is exactly the one that inspired the cult film of the same name and Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill.

A must for lovers of this kind of rarity, now available to everyone.

Japanese Schoolgirl Confidential: How Teenage Girls Made a Nation Cool

by Brian Ashcraft, Shoko Ueda (2014)

Small, fully updated color manual on the world of gyaru and everything that defines this world: fashion, neighborhoods, cinema, music, magazines and events.

Nel suolo

by Junji Ito, Edizioni BD (2022)

Anthology by the master of horror manga, a must in the collection of any lover of the genre.

Il grande libro degli yokai. Storie e leggende del folklore giapponese

by Irene Canino (2023)

Origins, stories and legends of the most beloved supernatural creatures of Japanese mythology. A large, well-written and accessible tome on Japanese spiritualism (and beyond).

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