S: Hello Booktube, I’m Shawn the Book Maniac.
Welcome to Always Doing. This is Kazen from Always Doing and this is part two
of our tipsy video making- K: Slightly. Just slightly. Just had a little amaretto tipsy.
S: Just slightly tipsy? S: You gotta up your drinking game.
K [laughing]: I don’t drink very often! This is probably making me more tipsy than it should. S: We’re both okay. To continue, to continue.
K: We’re both okay. We can talk about books. S: So what are we doing now?
K: So I- Shawn was very gracious and showed me his full library and said, ‘go
have fun,’ so I went through all of his shelves and found some books that either
I’m interested in, that I’m thinking of reading myself, that I want to hear him talk
about, I have questions. And the first one is actually one that we tentatively
think that we may buddy read. I have to get my hands on it somehow in the future,
but it’s One Fine Day by Mollie Panter-Downes. S: Yes. And I can’t remember how I
heard about it, but I follow a lot of booktubers and bloggers who are interested in
British fiction in the mid-20th century. This was published in 1947, and
that’s kind of my, that’s in my “wheelhouse” K: Mm-hmm.
S: If I can use a youngin’ expression like that. Mollie Panter-Downes. Is there- can you think of a
more British name than Mollie Panter-Downes? Sounds like a mid-19th century British porn name! [quiet laughter] I don’t know anything about her.
She was born in 1906. She died in 1977. She was the London
correspondent for The New Yorker. K: So that’s how I know her because of her
book London War Notes that Persephone collected many but not all of her
columns and I absolutely loved it. It was so good. It’s actually [in] my first wrap-up
ever, I think, for my channel, yeah. S: Ah, that. Yeah. K: So. And it was just great. And I would
read a month’s worth of these columns at a time and it went through
what the war was like from a British perspective, aimed at American audience.
And I just learned, like, London during the Blitz. And it was great. S: It’s World War II?
K: World War II, but it’s nonfiction. I don’t usually read World War II fiction so much.
S: So what’s that about? I’m curious about that. It’s interesting.
K: [deep breath] S: A lot of people have it. I don’t have that thing.
K: Yeah. S: I don’t seek World War II fiction out but I’m
not, don’t have a thing about it. But what’s the thing? K: Yeah. Overdone. Just there’s a lot of it.
And it tends to be on similar themes. And, I just- it’s not my cup of tea, really.
It’s just usually- but the nonfiction I don’t mind because I know it’s real
people and it’s their real experience and I can get through it better than something
completely made-up. I should probably- S: How about World War I? Is World War I in
your wheelhouse? K: There’s a book I want to read that’s historical fiction about World War I,
and it’s about an ambulance driver. I will have to get back to you on the
title, if I can remember it, but it was about an ambulance driver. I think it was
World War I and, again, that’s medical, and I thought that was interesting.
S: Interesting. This is a good place to say, I should have said it at the beginning of both
of these videos, but this is a good place for me to say you must subscribe to
Kazen’s channel Always Doing. She needs exponentially more- [K: laughs] she deserves
exponentially more subscribers than she has. K: And he’s incredibly sweet.
S: For my viewers who don’t know you, why did you say that about the medical?
K: So I’m a medical interpreter here in Japan, which means that I work in hospitals and when
there’s an English-speaking patient that needs to communicate with a Japanese-speaking doctor, I’m the person who repeats everything you say a language you don’t understand.
S: So this is set in the summer of 1946 in an English village. After years of separation the husband and wife and their daughter set about
coping with an altered landscape. First published in 1947. I can’t understand if
the man had gone off to war and came back, I’m not sure, but I’m in. It’s a
hundred and seventy-seven pages. If you can find it let’s buddy read it.
K: Yeah, I’m on the lookout for it. One thing I really like about her writing is she’s very
observant. At least in the nonfiction. And it really made you feel like you were
there and little things like storefronts. Like, there was a storefront during the
Blitz and they had sandbags out front. One storefront painted it the same
color as their facade and everyone loved that and thought that was the best thing.
Just like little things like that, that really say a lot in a few words. Which is
good because it’s kind of, almost a novella. S: [dramatically] Opening sentence. “The day promised to be hot.” S: All right, that sounds fun. I’m looking forward to that.
K: [laughs] S: What’s next? K: Next is a book I think you’ve read.
S: I have. K: The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson.
Because I’ve been meaning to read Maggie Nelson. Bluets, Argonauts, and then she also
has some nonfiction about a murder in her family? S: Well this is nonfiction. K: This is also nonfiction, yeah.
But is this a good place to start, do you think, with her? S: It is. I loved it. With qualifications I really liked it.
I haven’t read anything else by her. She’s a genius and she’s a beautiful writer. And this is about- this is her memoir of her pregnancy with her lover who was at
the same time going through male to female gender reassignment surgery.
It’s powerful. What I thought weakened it considerably was that as an academic
person or a cultural theory person she included soooo many quotes from cultural theorists.
K: Oh. S: And at first it was just a little bit. And as the as the memoir went on the
quotes got larger and larger – look at that. K: They’re all in italics. S: Yeah, italics. I don’t like italics.
But what I objected to more than that was that for me it- it revealed that she wasn’t
confident enough in her OWN ability to tell her story. And I am in the minority
with that critique, but as a reader I thought she should have just told her
own story because she was a beautiful writer and the story was so powerful.
Just, if that cultural theory and gender theory and academic, you know,
post-structuralist gender blah blah blah I’m not pooh-poohing it. K: Yeah.
S: I’m just saying if that made you the writer that you are, then just write and tell me your
story because it was so powerful. Reading all these excerpts from theory I didn’t
like it. But you might like it more than that. K: Yeah, I may. I’m excited
to give this one a try at some point. S: I’m curious to hear what you think.
K: And next I have two books because I pulled one off the shelf and Shawn immediately demanded…
not demanded but, you know, demanded, that I pull second one off. S: Control queen.
K: The one I got [laughs] was The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra. And then you had me pull off The Constellation of
Vital Phenomena as well, by the same author. S: Yes. So I’m not going to say
too much about this because… do you know that this is my second favorite novel of all time?
K: I do not. S: Okay. Published ten years ago, I’m not
sure. And it’s set in Chechnya during both of the, both of the Chechen
conflicts with a cast of characters and I loved everything about this. The
characters were so richly drawn and it was one of the most powerful novels
about war and the writing was masterful. Everything. Blah blah blah. I’ve talked ad
nauseam about this book. So this is the first book and then a few years later he
wrote The Tsar of Love and Techno. K: Now, this is short stories, though.
S: It is, but they’re linked. K: Ohhh, see, I like that.
S: Yes. S: And I really like this. I think I still
gave it five stars. It didn’t quite work for me as much as that, but that’s fine.
It’s still really powerful. And I also, are you a serial monogamist in terms of your reading?
K: No. No, no. S: Neither am I. I’m usually reading a dozen books at
a time. And this book does not lend itself to that. K: Okay. That’s good to know.
S: So I didn’t get everything that I could have. I started it on audio, with audio text combo, and I
didn’t like the audio narration so I abandoned the audio book and then just read it. But I
was reading umpteen other books and I think I missed some nuances.
K: So it’d be good to, like, devote a weekend and blast through it.
S: I want to reread it. Maybe even with you. K: That would be interesting.
S: But it’s really good. K: Do I have to read this first?
S: You don’t have to read it first, but you must promise ME that you will read this eventually. K: …at some point in my long, long life, I will attempt to start it, yes.
S: That’s right. Yes. So no, this is really really good. And… I have a surprise for you.
K: [skeptical] Oh? S: Last year when I hit 1000 subscribers
I had a book giveaway. This year I hit 2,000 subscribers and I had a book giveaway.
K: Congratuations by the way. S: Thank you thank you. But I had a book giveaway for this, but I must have been
drunk when I ordered the book. K: [laughs] Your glass is empty so you must be pretty-
S: So Where is it. Kazen: ! I’m opening, I’m opening the gift and he’s opening
a bottle of wine. S: [laughs] K: Ahh! S: So I accidentally ordered this for my
book giveaway which is not what intended so I then, so this is for you.
K: Thank you!! Oh, that’s so sweet. S: I don’t know, did they, did the camera see it?
K: Oh, sorry! It’s a different copy! S: A hardcover copy.
K: It’s a hardcover, it’s a real – thank you. S: A Book Olive also loved this book a lot.
K: Oh, that’s another good sign because if she likes something I usually like it.
S: So that’s for you! K: Thank you so much! Okay, this is
going right on the TBR shelf. S: And if the timing works out maybe we can- I’ll do
a buddy read where I’m rereading and you’re reading. K: That would be good. Thank you.
S: Possibly, no pressure. K: What’s interesting is that I’ve seen this book but with another cover. Neither one of these.
It looks like a tape, like a cassette tape. S: There’s a little bit of cassette tape stuff here.
K: Yeah, but it’s a little bit more this [rainbow] color, but with a cassette tape on it. K: Speaking of books that I am relieving you of. So Shawn, as you know, bails. S: Just- just a bit. K: Every once in a while. S: Every once in a few hours.
K: [laughs] K: So he was kind enough to let me look through some of his bails
S: The bail pile! K: The bail pile, and let me take a couple home to see if I like them. And so
I grabbed a couple. S: Great! K: And one is *Oishinbo. It’s the first volume.
And the story’s by Kariya Tetsu and the art is by Hanasaki Akita, and it’s a manga.
It’s a foodie manga. S: It’s a foodie manga! K: And I like foodie manga, and I like chef
memoirs, and all kinds of food stuff, so I’m excited to see what this one is
about because I’ve heard about it. I’ve read it on, like, foodie manga lists, as
one you should read. And the other one is one that I’ve seen several Booktubers,
who is it, Kendra? S: I know Kendra loved it. My memory is
Kendra loved it and beyond that I can’t remember. K: Some other people. But it’s Sorry to Disrupt
the Peace by Patty Yumi Cottrell. And I remember, when I heard about it I thought
it might be a “me” book, but can I understand that it might not be a Shawn book.
S: It wasn’t for me but that’s fine, yeah. K: So hopefully, give this a try.
S: It’s a beautiful hardcover K: It is. It’s got the nice little shiny, I don’t know if you can see, there we go. S: And if you look, what’s going on underneath
the dust jacket. Really, like, hello!
I like green but that’s all, oh. K: Oh! K: [reading] “This is a work of fiction. Names,
characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the
author’s-” Why is this on the front cover?! S: [into wine glass] I know. K: What… does this, maybe this
relates to the story. This looks like the British cover of Freshwater that just
puts everything right on the- S: Yeah, which was a bad choice.
K: It looks like an ARC (advance reader copy). Is anything on the back?
Nope, the back is unscathed. But the front S: But I still feel like that I need to put
my sunglasses on. K: I will put this away right away. S: I love green, green is
my favorite color, but it’s like WOW! K: This is quite, and it’s not even, it’s like a dark lime
that still manages to be fluorescent, at least in this light. So we’ll cover that up.
S: I love the author photograph. Let’s see if it will focus. S: She’s so butch.
K: Lemme see? Oh, nice. S: Isn’t she fabulous? K: Yeah.
S: She lives in Los Angeles, your favorite city. K: [unamused] Hmmm.
S: [imitating] Huhhh. K: Urban planning, we don’t like Los Angeles. S: Please enjoy. K: I will! Hopefully.
S: Or, you don’t have to enjoy. K: And if I bail I can at least know that you also bailed. S: It will be either a bonding moment
or a bonding moment. K: Exactly. Win-win. S: Win-win.
So what are you gonna be reading next? K: So for May, because, as you
know, we have a new emperor here in Japan and it’s a very historic time. So I
thought I would read Japanese nonfiction. Not everything I read but a good chunk
for the month. And I’ve read Hiroshima so far and I have a review of that up.
S: Yes, John Hersey. Fabulous review. K: Oh, thank you.
S: I’ll link it in the show notes. K: And after that I wanted to read
about the bombing on Nagasaki because it’s not as well known,
it’s not as much discussed as Hiroshima. Because that was the first, and then Nagasaki’s
forgotten. So there’s a book called The Bells of Nagasaki by Nagai Takashi.
I believe it’s out of print, but I was able to track down a copy at
my local library which has English books now, it makes me really excited. So I’m
gonna be picking that up soon. So that’s next for me. What do you have on your
radar coming up soon? On Monday I’m starting two buddy reads. One is a
Barbara Pym novel. Have you ever read any Barbara Pym? K: One. S: Which one? K: [sighs] Something Prudence. No? S: Jane and Prudence. K: Jane and Prudence.
S: It’s not my favorite but did you like it? K: Three stars, which for me, it was okay, yeah. It was lovely and delightful, but it didn’t stick.
S: Okay. There’s other ones I would recommend. And this one is one of the
last ones that was published before she died and… I’m reading a Barbara Pym
novel. I can’t remember the title. Something about leaves. But I’m, I have for the last year and a half or more I’ve been reading the complete works of
Barbara Pym in sequence and this is the next on the list. And I’m also starting a
novel from the Women’s Prize *shortlist, Ordinary People by Diana Evans. Do you know
anything about that? K: I don’t know anything about it. The Diana Evans, Ordinary People novel is a
buddy read with Britta Böhler. Britta Böhler and I have already predicted that
it’s going to be a mutual bail K: You never know! S: but fingers crossed. Anything else you’d like to say?
K: Um… Thank you so much for your hospitality and
I’ve had so much fun today. Because I just moved to Tokyo so I don’t know
where any the bookstores are. And I don’t know where any of the cool places are, and you
showed me some of those earlier today and that was great. S: I showed you where
the bookstores that have gone out of business are. K: That was good, you know, you can mark them on
the map. You know, that’s good. And there’s some good eateries it looked like, down
there. Some neat restaurants, so thank you for that. S: What is the next video that you will be
planning to post on your channel? K: So recently I went home to the
United States and I have two book hauls. And one of them- ’cause I brought a lot back-
and one of them’s books that I bought. That I searched out or I just bought.
The other is that I went home and my mom said, ‘you have a lot of books here.
You need to take them *to Japan with you.’ So I went through my childhood
shelves, which is basically through college, and I brought a bunch back with
me. And so that *video, if it’s not up already it will be up soon.
S: Oh, I can’t wait to watch that. S: The next video that I will probably post,
I- do you belong to Scribd? K: I do not. S: Early in my Booktube days I created a
tag called The Ten Books Tag which I thought was like a catch-all tag for
people that, you know, if you’re new to Booktube and you want to talk about
books that are on your shelves or books you’ve read but they don’t fit into
hauls or TBRs or something you can just pull ten books off your shelf and talk
about them. K: Nice. S: They could be books you’ve read, they could be books you
haven’t read, but just- they could be books you don’t own but you’ve read
about in the New York Times or whatever, just talk about ten books. And then more
recently I adapted it for Scribd but it could be adapted to any other thing like
Audible or… kindle… K: Your local library… S: …anything. The last ten books you added to
your saved list. So I’m, will probably be editing that video. The second iteration of the
Scribd version of The Ten Books Tag will be coming soon! Or maybe already up.
Aren’t you excited? K: Very excited. 楽しみ~ S: So soon my husband Kenji will be coming
home with pizza, so I think we should wrap this up and maybe slap back a
couple of more drinks and carry, carry on with the evening’s festivities.
K: Sounds wonderful. S: But thank you Kazen for such a wonderful day.
K: Thank you for having me, showing me around. S: Can’t wait for our
next video. Next weekend? K: Yeah!
S: Alright. Thanks for watching.