I’m curious to see what week 4 brings!
Week 5 is here! What will we learn next?
Here is Week 6:
Week 7 is on the doorstep!
Happy Holidays everybody! I have a special present for you: This week we will read two chapters! But don’t worry, the second chapter is pretty short.
…I still haven’t finished this past week’s reading I should get on that
Here is Week 9 - this week we’re back to just one chapter:
Hello and welcome to Week 10!
This week is the longest of all, we will be reading two chapters again, with ~47 pages in total. But after that it’s back to normal again, I promise
I just finished the book and just fyi, ユージニアノート is not part of the novel, it’s an afterword that was added in the 文庫本 version. So don’t feel like you have to read it. Interestingly though, it uses the same interview format as the rest of the book. It’s not super clear to me if Onda wrote it herself? It’s not from her pov but the style is the same and there’s no name on it. The afterword mostly talks about the hardcover version of the book, so it’s a bit hard to picture when you haven’t seen it. I found some pictures here and here.
The penultimate week is here!
Incredible but true: This is the last week of Eugenia!
Alright, the book club is now officially over, and it’s time for the
Have you read ユージニア?
- I finished it
- I’m still reading and I plan on finishing it
- I don’t plan to finish it
- I never even started it
If you read the book, how would you rate it on a 5 point scale? (1: hated it, 5: loved it)
- Unsure / Didn’t finish
If you read the book, how would you rate its difficulty?
- No effort at all
- Minimal effort
- Moderate effort
- Significant effort
- So much effort my head might explode
- I don’t know
I’m quite impressed at the almost constant participant rate. Almost everybody managed to stick with the club to the very end - well done everybody! I also like the spikes in discussion activity a lot
I never know how to answer the effort question. “Minimal effort” sounds like I’m bragging, but moderate effort makes it sound harder than I found it? It’s not even just about language difficulty, because I was so interested in the content that I always finished the chapters before I knew it, difficult or not…
I also wondered about that with this book. Usually if I can read a book ok, I answer “minimal effort”. That might mean lots of lookups nonetheless, but it also means that I only rarely wondered about a sentence longer than a few seconds or so before it clicked. And that I thought that I generally understood what was being talked about.
With this book I was tempted to answer “significant effort” but then I thought that while I struggled with some parts, I probably did not struggle with all of them, so I decided on the middle ground.
Yes, there’s language difficulty, and then there’s context difficulty, and this book had a lot of the latter. Not sure if we should take that into account when measuring difficulty, here or on Natively. But after having read for a while, most grammar is more or less (at least vaguely) familiar, so it’s either vocabulary or context that is likely to cause more comprehension issues. Unless the book is older of course, then difficulty usually goes up in all respects.
I answered on the basis of “feels like a normal Japanese novel” being ‘moderate effort’, with noticeably easier than that being ‘minimal’ and noticeably harder being ‘significant effort’. That ‘normal’ effort level for me means that there are words I might look up but also that I’d be happy to read the book without a dictionary to hand. A ‘significant effort’ level book I would not want to read without having a dictionary because I’d expect it to be likely to throw enough unknown words at me that I’d be lost without it at least once in a chapter.
See, we all mean different things after all. There’s no way I can read anything without a dictionary (yet, and for much longer I’m sure). And it definitely doesn’t make sense for me to answer “minimal effort” when you answer “moderate”, as I’m sure you’re way more experienced than me… I guess I should change my vote.
I feel like Natively is a different question because I answer it not based on how easy it was for me, but how easy it was compared to other books I’ve read so I tend to be very analytical and consider things like grammar, vocab spread, dialect usage, how clear or vague the plot is, etc. Things that could get in the way of comprehension.
For this poll (when when voting on nomination difficulty) I kind of think like:
- no effort: this is a graded reader or close to it.
- minimal: I can space out a bit, not really give it my whole concentration. Not looking up many words and certainly not looking up grammar points.
- moderate: I look up words and grammar points, I have to pay attention, but it doesn’t feel like work
- significant effort: it feels like work, even if it’s an enjoyable book. I have to read more slowly and maybe have to go back and check things.
- so much my head might explode: oh no, I’m reading Meiji era texts again aren’t I?
The existence of the “no effort at all” option protects you from that
Grammar/vocab difficulty, context / writing style difficulty, and even interestingness all affect how much mental effort it takes to get through the book, so I think it’s fine to account for all that in your answer (it factored into my answer at least).
You also don’t need to be consistent with other people; you just need to be consistent with yourself from book to book. Because ultimately, knowing that book A has a difficulty rating of 3.7 or whatever isn’t useful on its own - but knowing that it’s slightly easier than book B with difficulty 3.9 is useful.
You convinced me
I changed it back, “moderate effort” just felt wrong in my personal scale of things.