The Reason I Jump

By Naoki Higashida, KA Yoshida (translator), David Mitchell (translator)

Book cover of The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism

Book description

The No. 1 Sunday Times and internationally bestselling account of life as a child with autism, now an award-winning documentary film.

'It will stretch your vision of what it is to be human' Andrew Solomon, The Times
What is it like to have autism? How can we know what a…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked The Reason I Jump as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

The Reason I Jump is a fascinating look inside the mind of a neurodivergent young man who shares his hopes, his dreams, and his unique perspective on the culture we all live in. I learned so much about Naoki’s unique point of view and grew to have great empathy for his inability to easily communicate his needs to others. This is a fully embodied look at our world from someone who sees from a different point of view, a non-verbal Japanese young man who has lived a rich and full life but doesn’t see the world the same as neurotypical…

Naoki was thirteen when he wrote this short, beautiful, poetic account of his life as a non-verbal autistic person. (He has since written another, equally brilliant volume about being a young man – Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight.) What stays with me, from his writing, are his incredible powers of observation, his exquisite descriptions. I have never been nonverbal, but I experienced my childhood as if I was peering at an inexplicable “people-show” from behind an impenetrable pane of glass. These books are close to my heart, and really grew my empathy.


By David Joiner,

Book cover of Kanazawa

David Joiner Author Of Kanazawa

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Why am I passionate about this?

My book recommendations reflect an abiding passion for Japanese literature, which has unquestionably influenced my own writing. My latest literary interest involves Japanese poetry—I’ve recently started a project that combines haiku and prose narration to describe my experiences as a part-time resident in a 1300-year-old Japanese hot spring town that Bashō helped make famous in The Narrow Road to the Deep North. But as a writer, my main focus remains novels. In late 2023 the second in a planned series of novels set in Ishikawa prefecture will be published. I currently live in Kanazawa, but have also been lucky to call Sapporo, Akita, Tokyo, and Fukui home at different times.

David's book list on Japanese settings not named Tokyo or Kyoto

What is my book about?

Emmitt’s plans collapse when his wife, Mirai, suddenly backs out of purchasing their dream home. Disappointed, he’s surprised to discover her subtle pursuit of a life and career in Tokyo.

In his search for a meaningful life in Japan, and after quitting his job, he finds himself helping his mother-in-law translate Kanazawa’s most famous author, Izumi Kyoka, into English. He becomes drawn into the mysterious death of a friend of Mirai’s parents, leading him and his father-in-law to climb the mountain where the man died. There, he learns the somber truth and discovers what the future holds for him and his wife.

Packed with subtle literary allusion and closely observed nuance, Kanazawa reflects the mood of Japanese fiction in a fresh, modern incarnation.


By David Joiner,

What is this book about?

In Kanazawa, the first literary novel in English to be set in this storied Japanese city, Emmitt's future plans collapse when his wife, Mirai, suddenly backs out of negotiations to purchase their dream home. Disappointed, he's surprised to discover Mirai's subtle pursuit of a life and career in Tokyo, a city he dislikes.

Harmony is further disrupted when Emmitt's search for a more meaningful life in Japan leads him to quit an unsatisfying job at a local university. In the fallout, he finds himself helping his mother-in-law translate Kanazawa's most famous author, Izumi Kyoka, into English.

While continually resisting Mirai's…

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