1 Silk by Alessandro Barricco. Exotic, erotic and beautiful. I can't believe I haven't blogged a review. It will follow later today ... and on that note, enough said.
2 The Plum Rain Scroll by Ruth Manley. CBCA Book of the Year in 1979. A wonderful blurring of fact and fantasy in a traditional style folk tale. My review here.
3 The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi. This 17th century work on strategy, tactics, bushido and swordsmanship, by the greatest samurai warrior of all time (My opinion, yes, but most would agree) has been my constant ocmpanion duting the writing of the Samurai Kids series. It centres me - firmly in feudal Japan. Apparently Musashi looked awful and refused to take a bath. I guess if you are the best swordsman in the world you can do whatever you like when it comes to personal hygeine!
4 Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn. And the other books in the Tales of the Otori series. This is fantasy Japan at it's best. And not such a big step away from history either.
5 Moonshadow: Eye of the Beast by Simon Higgins. And also the sequel in the Moonshadow series, Wrath of the Silver Wolf. These are wonderful books by an Australian author who truly lives and knows what he is writing about. Don't miss a visit to Simon's website