Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

Or The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha.

So my eagerly awaited new (second-hand) book has arrived, handed to me by the Yamato takkyubin guy who knocked on the door not one hour ago.

This new hard-bound version is an acclaimed translation by Edith Grossman. An older translation by John Rutherford can be accessed on

Another monumental book for the shelves, and another addition to my List of Books That I Haven’t Finished Reading.

(In Japan, “Don Quixote” is a chain of stores that sell all kinds of cheap stuff where I don’t usually go to because of their narrow corridors and labyrinthine layouts.)

Of course, Don Quixote the book has been around for hundreds of years now, and is often claimed to be the first novel, one of the most translated works of fiction and one of the best selling books of all time. So this sort of makes this a must-read book, like Ran is a must-watch film.

Reading just the first paragraph, the take-away is that one is never too old to have an adventure.

Somewhere in La Mancha, in a place whose name I do not care to remember, a gentleman lived not long ago, one of those who has a lance and ancient shield on a shelf and keeps a skinny nag and a greyhound for racing. An occasional stew, beef more often than lamb, hash most nights, eggs and abstinence on Saturdays, lentils on Fridays, sometimes squab as a treat on Sundays–these consumed three-fourths of his income. The rest went for a light woolen tunic and velvet breeches and hose of the same material for feast days, while weekdays were honored with dun-colored coarse cloth. He had a housekeeper past forty, a niece not yet twenty, and a man-of-all-work who did everything from saddling the horse to pruning the trees. Our gentleman was approximately fifty years old; his complexion was weathered, his flesh scrawny, his face gaunt, and he was a very early riser and a great lover of the hunt. Some claim that his family name was Quixada, or Quexada, for there is a certain amount of disagreement among the authors who write of this matter, although reliable conjecture seems to indicate that his name was Quexana. But this does not matter very much to our story; in its telling there is absolutely no deviation from the truth.