Unofficial Official Hairpin 3.0 Book Club: The Pillow Book


*Looks up from book* Oh, hello!
 *Puts book down*
 *Rolls up sleeves on artfully slouchy cardigan*
 *Folds up tortoiseshell glasses that accentuate intellect while simultaneously enhancing natural beauty somehow*
 I didn’t see you come in! I was just sitting here, indulging in some highbrow literature,
 *Conspicuously pushes smuttier reading material out of frame with foot*
 I am here today to announce the launch of the Unofficial Official Hairpin 3.0 Book Club.

What was the book club? To fully understand, let’s break it down into its parts. “Book,” as we all know, refers to that thing we read when the Internet is down. And Webster’s Dictionary defines “club” as “a heavy usually tapering staff especially of wood wielded as a weapon.” I like to think of a “book” as a “club” of knowledge with which to attack the world. Everybody is doing it. My mom is in a book club. The Hairpin kinda had some versions of a book club in its past.

I have a job that requires me to be up-to-date on new books, particularly children’s and young adult stuff (I know, it’s rad). For this, I’m compelled to go in the opposite direction and pick something old and adult. Since we’ve already covered all the best books about fucking bears, let’s go with The Pillow Book of Sei Shōnagon.

This book is nonfiction; Shōnagon was a lady-in-waiting at the court circa tenth-century Japan. Many details of her biography are murky, but she kept a journal of sorts, collecting observations, lists, musings, and scattered thoughts into what has since been published as the Pillow Book. It’s a book that’s been on my nightstand for some time, but that I’ve had yet to read — let’s go down this journey together, Hairpinners. I will personally be using the Penguin Classics 2006 version translated by Meredith McKinney.

Let’s all read whatever version we can get our hands on, and then reconvene next year to discuss, mmk? See you back here on January 12th, 2015 for the second meeting of the Unofficial Official Hairpin 3.0 Book Club.