The Pillow Book
Written by Sei Shonagon
Translated by Meredith McKinney
A court lady from tenth-century Japan spills the tea in this classic portrayal of court life.
Written by the court gentlewoman Sei Shonagon, ostensibly for her own amusement, The Pillow Book offers a fascinating exploration of life among the nobility at the height of the Heian period, describing the exquisite pleasures of a confined world in which poetry, love, fashion, and whim dominated, while harsh reality was kept firmly at a distance.
Moving elegantly across a wide range of themes including nature, society, and her own flirtations, Sei Shonagon provides a witty and intimate window on a woman's life at court in classical Japan.
Read if you: literally go to work for the office gossip.