Welcome to the eighth chapter of our lockdown library—a series of great recommendations from our book exchange group to keep you entertained.

Times are strange, there’s no denying it, but one thing that never changes is the charm of a good book. Check out our first few chapters for some great ideas:

Introducing: Stefanie

What’s your name?

Stefanie Rueller

Where are you from?

Originally Germany, but now living in Tomigaya

Tell us about yourself (and your reading habits).

I am originally from Germany and am living in Japan for almost two years now. Contemporary fiction is my go to genre, but I also like a good crime novel or a well-written non-fiction book.

What are you reading right now?

Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami.

Without further ado: the books

books on wood background
Photo by istock.com/SB

1. Sweet Bean Paste by Sukegawa Durian

Sweet Bean Paste tells the heartwarming story of an unlikely friendship between a struggling young man, an elderly woman and a teenage girl. Set mostly in a dorayaki shop, it also delves into the history of Hansen’s disease (leprosy) in Japan. Sukegawa’s beautiful prose, especially when describing the intricate process of making bean paste, and his thoughtful character development make this a worthwhile read.

Order it here.

2. Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

Convenience Store Woman tells the story of Keiko Furukura a socially awkward young woman working in a convenience store. When her predictable and comfortable life is upended by a relationship, Keiko has to come to terms with who she really is. After reading this book, you will never look at your neighborhood konbini in the same way.

Order it here.

3. The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino.

This fast paced thriller is a far cry from your classical whodunit. Even though the perpetrator of the crime is revealed very early on, the clever plot twists kept me engaged until the very end. The novel is technically the third in the sequel of the Detective Galileo series, but reads like a stand-alone novel.

Order it here.


If you’re looking for more ideas, we have our own top picks for your consideration as well as a great guide on where to buy cheap books in Tokyo. While it’s not recommended that you go out right now, they’re good for future reference. Also, it’s worth checking if your local library has a delivery service like Saitama. If all else fails, your trusty Kindle is always an easy option!

Why we’ve chosen the book depository: They offer free worldwide delivery, ship from the UK (so still ok to get to Japan for the time being) and use far less packaging than the likes of Amazon! Of course a Kindle offers the most package-free (and paper-free) option, but if you’re after the real thing, the Book Depository is a great choice.

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