Tonight on GeekNights, we bring you the GeekNights Book Club: The Tale of Genji part 1. We have a lot to say, so we're splitting this one in two. The first episode covers our reactions to the work as fiction. This second episode covers the meta, structure, history, and anything else we had to say.
For those interested, the next book club book will be N. K. Jemisin's The City We Became.
Things of the Day
I had a similar experience to Rym after I finished reading The Romance of the Three Kingdoms. In that it compelled me to dive further into Chinese history, read more classic Chinese novels, and try to acquire a very rudimentary but working knowledge of the Warring States period. I think it would take a lifetime of dedicated academic study and being fluent in ancient Chinese to read and comprehend the giant iceberg of texts that comprise Chinese classical and historical literature, but it is fun and enlightening to skim the surface as a Westerner. There is just so much to learn.
Side note: Among the 5 classic Chinese novels, Dream of the Red Chamber seems most akin to The Tale of Genji in style and subject matter. It’s fascinating to me that despite their similarities, Red Chamber was written several hundred years after The Tale of Genji. I’m almost certain that Jia Baoyu and Genji would have been friends if, ya know, they were real people, living at the same time in the same region, and didn’t see each other as rivals for prettiest best boy in the kingdom.
Looking forward to the next book club book.
My goal is to get to the point where I have a basic working knowledge of the era, in that where it intersects with other things I know about I have the relevant context.
If I know as much about that era as a I know about, say, the British Isles in the same era, I consider it a win.