A sequel to Giles Murray's Breaking Into Japanese Literature, a collection of seven short stories for Japanese learners, this book introduces three additional stories with heavy themes for advanced learners. As with its predecessor, Exploring Japanese Literature uses a convenient layout: original Japanese text on the left, an English translation on the right, and a word list with definitions on the bottom of both pages. This eliminates the need to flip back and forth between two points of the book to look up words – a common practice in many other popular bilingual readers. Three classics are featured in this book: Snow Country, Patriotism, and The Secret. These stories are more adult-focused than the standard reading practice for Japanese learners, as they are both difficult and have mature, heavy content. Some non-standard kanji usage also gives a certain nuance to the writings – something common in Japanese literature. As a result, advanced Japanese learners may get the most out of these books. Thankfully, with the addition of the English translations (with which the author has taken much creative liberty) and word lists, intermediate and even some upper-beginner learners may benefit as well. See the full review here.
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