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Online Book Club, “The Housekeeper and the Professor”


Participants explored a beautiful, elegant novel that is considered a classic piece of modern day Japanese literature, and was awarded the prestigious 2004 Yomiuri Prize. A best-seller and movie in Japan, Yoko Ogawa’s The Housekeeper and the Professor is centered around the unique friendship between the “professor”, a mathematician whose memory only lasts 80 minutes, and his housekeeper, a single-mother to 10-year old “Root”.

From the New York Times book review:

This is one of those books written in such lucid, unpretentious language that reading it is like looking into a deep pool of clear water. But even in the clearest waters can lurk currents you don’t see until you are in them. Dive into Yoko Ogawa’s world (she is the author of more than 20 works of fiction and nonfiction) and you find yourself tugged by forces more felt than seen. (The New York Times)

Tese Wintz Neighbor led a conversation about this novel and its context, and provided a free digital packet of resources to all participants. All K-12, current in-service teachers were welcome to apply.

This program was sponsored by the East Asia Resource Center at the University of Washington, and funded by a Freeman Foundation grant in support of the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA).

Program leader

The Book Club was facilitated by EARC China Specialist Tese Wintz Neighbor.


Participants were divided into two groups and joined this program either on Wednesday July 1, from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m (PST) or on Thursday, July 2, from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m (PST).

This program was held on Zoom.

Program benefits

  • A physical or digital copy of the book
  • Online Resource packet
  • Four free Washington State OSPI clock hours