And now I wonder why the English poet wanted the *western* wind to blow, 'That the small rain down can rain'?
Finished last week?
Parker, The Convict's Sword
Burgis, Stolen Magic
-more fluff Regency A/U with detestable villains and wrong-headed heroines
Foster, Pandemonium and Parade
- yes, well. A history, rather schematized to my way of thinking, about how the Japanese view youkai. The first two chapters were the most useful to me: the introduction and the Edo period encyclopedia-izing of youkai. After that it's all Meiji debunking and Taishou nostalgizing and Shouwa resurgence in manga and films and anime. He cites the urban legend of the Slit-mouthed Woman as a modern youkai spreading by word of mouth as of old: but IIRC he doesn't trace her back to her original Edo appearance.
No one to date has ever addressed the manifold grotesqueries of youkai. Our bogles and hobgoblins and trolls are odd, but odd in the same way. The plethora of deformities and incongruities in Japanese youkai is fairly unique in my experience. Ghosts and bakemono may be beautiful, though not necessarily; but the wider genre of youkai are both ugly and disgusting, and I don't know why.
Still with the mammoth and (physically) weighty Pound Era. We have just got to Chinese hanzi. Oh dear.
Alas for good intentions, there are two Akitadas from the library and a collection of trickster stories on the way. But inspired by those youkai, I intend to have another look at A Robe of Feathers by the Japan-domiciled American, which I now can't remember clearly.