The Pleasures of Japanese Literature — Donald Keene

Actually, I found this one because it was referenced in The Architecture of Happiness (see above). This was the first time I chose a subject matter I knew nothing about. Love the chapter about the Japanese aesthetic and learnt some really interesting stuff about their love of imperfection. Did you know that one of the biggest cultural tragedies after World War II was when American G.Is painted the wooden houses that they occupied? The Japanese aesthetic values seeing the decay of natural materials — paint hides beauty in their culture. Wabi sabi.