Over the course of my research for lectures and articles, I read a lot. I've always loved reading, and sharing what I've read. And I try my best to recommend books and articles to those seeking information for papers or personal enrichment. So, in that proud tradition, here is a list of some of the books, articles and journals I've read and recommended over the years.

Ghosts and Monsters:

-Matt Alt and Hiroko Yoda- "Yokai Attack!" A very fun and readable "roll call" of yokai within Japanese history. Structured like a survival guide, this book breaks down the yokai into classifications based on "threat" and gives a good overview of their powers, history and ways of warding them off. 

-Harold Coward- “Life After Death In World Religions.” A class text I read for "Religious Meanings of Death" in undergrad, it gives an overview of death in Asian culture.

-Michael Dylan Foster- “Pandemonium and Parade: Japanese Monsters and the Culture of Yokai.” Media representation of monsters and the fascination behind horror culture in Japanese media.

-Lafcadio Hearn- “Kwaidan: Japanese Ghost Stories." Despite being over a century old, this text still contains some early versions of both popular ghost stories and some initial study into Japanese insect mythology. "Kokuro" is his book on the sacred customs of Japanese society, the influences of religion and the supernatural and death rites and burial customs. "In Ghostly Japan" was the precursor to Kwaidan, and covers an entire host of folk beliefs and customs regarding spirits and the supernatural world of early modern Japan.

-Michiko Iwasaka- “Ghosts and the Japanese.” The best book, hands down, I have found on the subject of ghosts and Japanese culture. Sheds light on both historical AND popular concepts regarding superstition and ghistly encounters.

-Richard Freeman- "The Great Yokai Encyclopedia." An expansive tome containing entries for well over a thousand yokai. Not as detailed as the Alt book, but covers a lot more ground through quantity over quality. A great starting place for future research.

-Scott Littleton- “Shinto.” A short, concise and very well explained book on the Japanese experience of Shinto, both past and present.

-Susan Orpett Long- “Negotiating the Good Death.” In Ethnology 40/4. Modern Japanese thoughts regarding the "correct" way to die, and how it can impact the lives of the bereaved.

-James McClenon- “Near Death Folklore in Medieval China and Japan.” In Asian Folklore Studies 50/2. A look into cultural syncretism and its impact, particularly in regards to Buddhist theology. Parallels some similar events taking place in Europe at the time.

-Nanzan Institute for Religion in Japan- “The Nanzan Guide to Japanese Religions.” An excellent overview on the Japanese religious experience. Scholarly, but still very accessible.

-Robert J Smith- “Ancestor Worship in Contemporary Japan.” Excellent explanations on death rites, becoming part of the family kami, and the duties of the family in ensuring proper transition to ancestor.

-Royall Tyler- “Japanese Tales.” A thick collection of Japanese folk tales, covering just about every aspect of folk mythology. Easy to read, and very engrossing.

-David Gilmore- "Monsters." A great overview of worldwide monster culture throughout history. Covers more than just Japan and the East, and puts a lot of things into context.

-Noriko Rieder- "Oni: Japanese Demon Lore."  A wonderfully readable look at the image of the oni in Japanese art and culture. Seeing as how the oni is itself a very ambiguous term, Rieder manages to shed some light on the origins, uses and implications that surround it, and presents how oni have evolved in the past thousand years. Highly recommended. 

-Patrick Drazen- "A Gathering of Spirits." Structured like a classic hyaku-monogatari, Drazen explores how ghost stories and legends have been reflected in both anime and other forms of Japanese media. It reads quickly, though at times gets a bit confusing, especially when Drazen references the same series over multiple chapters without going into context. Still worth the time to read, especially if you are interested in creepy things.


By Henry Jenkins:
"Textual Poachers"- The "grandaddy" of fandom study books, and an excellent look into the ideas of fandom culture and community.

"Fans, Bloggers and Gamers"- Something of a update to Textual Poachers, a collection of essays on community and fandom within the digital age. 

"Watching Star Trek and Doctor Who"- Written with John Tulloch, a look into the fan communities surrounding two of the most famous science fiction fandoms of the early television age.

- "Convergence Culture" - Seriously, READ THIS BOOK. The idea of convergence, and the self-dictated media experience, is probably the best explanation for the explosion of the digital age I've ever read. 

By Matt Hills:
"Fan Cultures"- At times a response to Jenkins, and a critical look into every nook and cranny of the fandom movement. Very theory-centered, as one would expect from a British scholar, but also extremely thought-provoking.

"Triumph of a Time Lord"- A look into the Doctor Who phenomenon worldwide, this one also covers the recent explosion of the new series and its massive crossover appeal.

By Susan Napier:
"Anime From Akira to Howl's Moving Castle"- A collection of essays and papers related to fandom, cultural impact and interpretations within the medium itself, and analyses of certain aspects central to major "genres" of media.

"From Impressionism to Anime"- A look inside the Western interest in Japanese art and media, from woodcuts and theater to anime, cosplay and conventions. 

By Roland Kelts:
"Japanamerica"- A look into the Western obsession with anime, manga and other aspects of Japanese fandom and media experience. Very cross-cultural, and explains a good deal of the Japanese side of the equation as well.

By Fredrick Schodt:
- "The Astroboy Essays."
- "Dreamland Japan."
- "Manga Manga! The World of Japanese Comics."
- "Inside the Robot Kingdom."
- "America and the Four Japans."

By Helen McCarthy:
- "Hayao Miyazaki: Master of Japanese Animation."
- "The Anime Encyclopedia"
- "Manga Manga Manga"
- "Anime: A Beginner's Guide."
- "500 Essential Anime."

Japanese History:
- "The Making of Modern Japan" - Marius Jansen
- "A History of Japan to 1334" - George Sansom

Other books:
"Fandom: Identities and Communities in a Mediated World" - Jonathan Gray, editor.
"The Anime Machine"- Thomas Lamarre
- "Anime's Media Mix" - Mark Steinberg. If only for the summarization of Lamarre and the origins of anime as a media method. Also the look into omake is enlightening. 
"Pikachu's Global Adventure"- Joseph Tobin
- "Watching Anime, Reading Manga"- Fred Patten
"The Adoring Audience: Fan Culture and Popular Media"- LA Lewis
"Pilgrimage in Popular Culture"- Ian Reader and Tony Walter.
"Using the Force"- Will Brooker
"Star Trek Fandom as a Religious Experience."- Michael Jindra
"The Chrysanthemum and a Sword"- Ruth Benedict. The original, anthropological examination of Japanese culture. Extremely outdated, but worth the read. 
- "Starting Point" - Miyazaki on Miyazaki. translated by Frederick Schodt.
- "Popular Stories and Promised Lands" - Roger Aden. When you're done here, progress onto Durkheim and Victor Turner- both are the originators of the ideas of pilgrimage. If you can find Ian Reader, him too. But a lot of his books are out of print. 
- "Culture" - John Brockman