Rimer's Guide begins in the eighth century and ends in the 1990s. Readers who read from beginning to end will gain a good overview of Japanese literature through their encounters with the individual books that comprise the guide. Those who wish to skip here and there, searching for the book meant especially for them, may do so with impunity. In either case, readers will come across a tremendous variety of literary styles and types: diaries, poetry, plays, essays, short stories, and novels. There are works of great subtlety, works that are boldly drawn, religious works, and secular works. There is something to suit every taste.
Newly added to the original edition's twenty classical and thirty modern works are several new chapters. "After Oe," which covers younger contemporary writers coming after the 1994 Nobel Prize winner Kenzaburo Oe, includes such writers as Haruki Murakami, Ryu Murakami, and Banana Yoshimoto. "Some New Translations'' presents translations of both classic and postwar works and writers who were discussed in the first edition but who are now represented by additional translations.