Reading Colorfully: Traveling through the World’s Literature


–by Nichole Reber


Ask for names like Basharat Peer or Tashi Dawa at your local or chain bookstore and the clerks look at you like you’ve got seven heads. I was the one confused, though, by the lack of easy access to international authors upon repatriating back to the States. Sure, I no longer had daily access to ramshackle book vendors beside Mumbai train stations, Peruvian favorites in Lima’s bookstores, or expat bar bookshelves in China, but need that put an end to my colorful reading? So join me in this journey between crisp white pages of new literary titles and soft yellowed pages of older books.

Acts of Worship cover

Kodansha International, Publisher Date of Publication: 1965

Literary Acts of Worship Terrifies

Yukio Mishima’s Temple of Dawn gave me nightmares. It’s not a frightening novel, not a thriller or suspense, a crime drama or any other form of genre fiction, though it does contain some magical realism elements that prove the literary technique does not lie solely in the hands of Latin American writers. What stole my sleep for two nights, what has me in a terrified yet excited fix to watch The Criterion Collection’s two-disc account of the Japanese author, is his ethereal darkness.

Just a couple of days after opening my first of his books, I put down the novel and started on something else entirely. The next time he came around I stuck with him, opening the pages of Acts of Worship with excited terror like seeing the Blair Witch Project for the first time in a 1999 theatre. This collection of short stories made a better entrée into the troubled writer’s oeuvre. Continue reading