The first of my dynamic duo is a Canadian exiled (by choice) in deepest, darkest Japan (I lie, it's somewhere near Tokyo). Take a bow Tanabata, curator of the ever-stylish and cherry-blossom emblazoned In Spring It is The Dawn. This site is a haven for all things Japanese, and having spent three years in the Land of the Rising Sun myself, I am always happy to join in the fun. The name of the blog comes from the first line of Sei Shonagon's The Pillow Book, an ancient Japanese work, and Tanabata (a pseudonym, of course) runs many a readalong of Japanese texts, including the one from which the site takes its name.
Another fun aspect of the site is the monthly Hello Japan! mini-challenge, where a topic is given, and all and sundry are free to interpret it as best they can and post the results for the world to see (I was lucky enough to win a delightful wooden sumo game after being drawn as the winner of the sport-themed month for my reminiscence of my sumo-watching days...).
One final reason to spotlight Tanabata is that she is one of the three organisers of the recently-founded 'South Pacific Bookchat' on Twitter (#spbkchat). Every Thursday, at an Asia-Pacific-friendly time (7 p.m. Japan/8 p.m. Eastern Australia/10 p.m. NZ), bloggers from all over the region (and some from further afield) twitter happily away on a pre-determined topic, allowing Asia-Pacific bloggers and tweeters, who can often be neglected by some of the US-/UK-centric events, to get involved in the bookish community. Just another reason to say Domo Arigato Gozaimasu :)
The second of my choices today hails from my home country (England - Australia is just where I
As well as keeping me up to date with all that's happening back home, Jackie allows me to vicariously follow what's happening in contemporary literature as she is an avid reader of modern fiction, and a compulsive reader of books appearing on long- and short-lists. I would never try anything like this - I am addicted to my old classics and foreign-language literature, and I'm loath to try a book (let alone a dozen) that I'm less than assured of liking -, so it is wonderful to have someone out there who can do all that for me!
Rest assured: when the Booker Prize winner is announced next month, it's Jackie's comments I'll be looking back to, and her opinion that I'll be sharing when praising the judges for their perspicacity or slamming them for their total lack of taste ;)
So there you have it: two wonderful blogs, and two lovely people I am in (semi-)regular contact with :) You could do a lot worse than drop by their blogs this week, and see for yourself what makes them great!