[2022] 多読/extensive reading challenge

Several volumes of ひとりぼっちの〇〇生活 are half off on Amazon, for those interested. I really enjoyed the first two volumes and plan to buy more soon. (I’m not going to buy them digitally since I want to keep getting the physical version.)

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I started and finished 超ビジュアル!日本の歴史大事典

thoughts about it

I must have been really starved for history, because I read straight through this! It’s by no means short, but it’s about as breezy as you can get with thousands of years of capital moves, 乱s, 変s, reforms, regents, shoguns, regents to the shogun, etc. Reading it reminded me a lot of devouring Horrible Histories books when I was a kid, although this isn’t anywhere near as sarcastic or charming.

Format-wise, it’s presented as a series of two-page spreads about particular topics, which makes for easy reading but also makes things feel pretty disconnected, and sometimes highlights just how brief the coverage of those subjects really is. I’m obviously by no means equipped to assess the book’s accuracy, and it’s obviously pretty shallow and toothless, but it’s not like I’m surprised by that, given it’s a primer for kids. The fictionalized illustrations are very hit or miss and can feel weirdly editorialized at times depending on how heroic or villainous a figure is made to look, and I also don’t love that the illustration for the occupation of Korea is some Korean students looking just sort of vaguely bored in a Japanese-language class. But I think it’s fine as an introduction source, and I like reading about history enough (and wanna read/watch jidai stuff enough) that I’m quite sure it won’t be my last source.

I enjoyed reading it and am happy to finally have at least a general outline of events and time periods in my head that I can already start plugging historical dramas into (“oh, that’s the battle from Kagemusha!” “Oh, that’s why those ghosts were sad in Kwaidan!”). My other main take away is like a billion historical names and terms I’ll probably regret putting into my anki deck once I start having to review them.

The next prose thing I drew is 世界から猫が消えたなら which I don’t really know anything about except it’s a novel and it seems like it’s sad.
I’m gonna be honest, I bought this one on impulse because professional wrestler Hiroshi Tanahashi tweeted about having read it. I have no idea if he has good taste in books or not, I think I just see “oh 猫, it must have something to do with cats, cats are nice!” and that’s enough for me, apparently.
Anyway I’m looking forward to not reading non-fiction for a bit at least!

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I finished volume 3 of ポーション頼み yesterday and, hm, I guess I’m reaching saturation point.
In a process that I have noted happening in other series, the story is becoming more and more a caricature of itself. (That process kinda reminds of flanderization). In particular, the main character is starting to really sound like a male protagonist from a shonen manga in her internal monologues. It’s even acknowledged, with the mention that “she should stop”. But I guess that now that the author has found a recipe that works, they have no reason to stop.

The process (minor spoilers if you haven't read volume *1*)
  1. Kaoru moves somewhere far where people would not recognize her.
  2. She sells stuff that are just a little bit better than market products.
  3. She somehow misses that one of those products is completely overkill in its own way.
  4. Begin loop:
    a. Someone of importance (noble, religious head, lieutenant colonel, guildmaster, whatever) tries to pressure her.
    b. Roland and Francette come out of the woodwork, hand on the hilt of their sword, radiating murderous intents. Emphasis on the fact that Francette looks unhealthily happy about the situation.
    c. Visitor attempts a hasty retreat, blocked by Belle and Emile, who have the characteristic vacant look of cultist. Also, whatever Kaoru tells them to do, they only bow and reply “as you wish” (ご意思のままに or some such).
    d. Visitor is extremely confused and starts sweating bullets
    e. Kaoru plays them like a fiddle, solving the situation. Francette is disappointed.
  5. One situation that is too overboard to just solve through wits appear. Kaoru steamrolls everything through her insane powers.
  6. Move to the next place.

It still felt entertaining enough to keep going, but, opening volume 4, coming up is the obligatory onsen episode (I feel like a lot of 男性向け light novel feature those…). So, I immediately stopped reading and moved on to かくりよの宿飯 あやかしお宿に嫁入りします。

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Are you maybe looking for something different entirely? I recently had the idea that it would be a nice life goal to read all the Akutagawa Prize winning books, and maybe you‘re interested in that as well? The prize was established in 1935, with 2 books per year (with a small number of exceptions, it seems), so it’s about 150 books right now. That will probably take me until I die :woman_shrugging:, but I guess you can read them until the end of next year or something :joy_cat:
The newest books are quite expensive, so I was thinking about starting 10 years back and sticking with that gap (i.e. 2 books per year), while at the same time moving into the past if I have room for more than those two. (Double incentive: One of the 2011 books is currently discounted on BookWalker while the other one is cheap anyway :wink:).

Would that be interesting for you (or anybody else?)

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I was specifically talking about that light novel series :joy: Well, that would help me reach my non-light-novel quota for the year, yes.
Also, there’s a line, but I can get them for free from the library (at least, the random ones I checked). I guess that makes sense, as the library would probably get those automatically :thinking: That makes it sound like a pretty good idea.

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I would totally expect any decent library to stock the winners of the country’s major literary prizes, indeed!

Well then, here goes :joy_cat:

The nice thing is, about everybody here can tick off at least one of the entries :wink:

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Soon! :durtle_noice: :sparkles: Just a few weeks left of Konbini Ningen reread club

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Well, first of all, I loved what the author did with かくりよ. The kanji for that word are eventually introduced and it’s a spoiler. But I would have been hard pressed guessing them. So, there, spoiler title and yet I was not spoiled.
(Obviously, do not look up that word beforehand :sweat_smile:)

Second, I just came across

魑魅魍魎

which is always a good feeling.

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@Belerith
update about 丸の内魔法少女ミラクリーナ

I mentioned before (somewhere in Konbini thread) that the first story was quite fluffy, but that I don’t know yet about the others.
Well, now I finished the second story and the vibe isn’t consistent :grin:
Second one is written from the PoV of (female) captor :no_mouth:

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That sounds like it might be pretty dark and complicated!

I’m always happy to have a good mix of themes in a short stories collection, so that sounds good to me. Did you enjoy it?

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I forgot to mention, but I did finish the rest of 本好き book 7. As was the case with book 3 (being the end of an arc), most of the non-マイン PV chapters were actually relevant to moving forward the plot in preparation for the next arc. So they were all largely interesting, especially compared to the “extra” chapters in most of the books. Now, the book did actually still have two “extra” chapters. The first was pointless and boring, but I found the second one to be entertaining. (I’m not a huge fan of レオン so far, but it was pretty funny seeing the forest exposition from his perspective, where he was the only one who knew that ジルヴェスター was the 領主. :laughing:)

I read the book in 15 days, which I think is a new record. That works out to an average of 25 pages per day. I really should get around to going through all the words I highlighted and add a bunch to Kitsun…

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Agreed. While I do appreciate the effort of the author to make a coherent world, at that point, that was definitely not what I was caring about :sweat_smile: I just wanted to move on to the next book.

You forgot the most important, the 4 koma bonus manga at the end!
They are a staple from this volume on.
While they aren’t canon, I just love them.

About the content of the book (besides what we discussed before), while I realized since volume 5 that マイン had extremely strong magic, that volume made me realize that she is completely out of scale. What with her being able to make a random blessing of all the major gods on the spot. Also, becoming a noble means that she would go to Hogwarts noble school. It was so exciting!

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Exciting! The 4-koma was hilarious, so I’ll gladly take one each book!

Yes, all that was quite good! Also, they at least gave a brief explanation/theory of why her magic is so strong, which is nice. Would have been fine without an explanation too, but I appreciate that the author is trying to explain a bit more.

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I finished かくりよの宿飯 and it was a really nice read.

There sure was. The main character’s problem solving process basically goes “Problem? → food” :joy: You’re hungry? Food. Sad? Food. You have fever? Food. You had a fight with your sister? Make her some food.

Still, it was fine, since it makes the plot go forward rather than being a distraction.
I really love the atmosphere, the 妖怪 and their interactions with the main character.

Only disappointment:

He is neither ツン nor デレ. It was all lies.

Still, I loved the book. It’s another one of those that can be read as a stand-alone, but I really want to keep going with that series.

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I will have to try this one at some point! If that guy was neither ツン nor デレ, what word would you use to describe him instead?

(ahem also what are you reading next)

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He is very good at separating his work and private life. At work, he is at the very top and the main character at the very bottom, so he is pretty cold and distant. In private, well, they are 婚約者 and he obviously likes her, so he is pretty warm and affectionate.
:thinking: I mean, I guess that would be some sort of ツン and デレ now that I think about it, but not the regular usage of the word.

Hm what am I reading next indeed. I just finished the preview for volume 2, but I (again) do not want to buy more stuff at the moment…

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Not as much as the one with 魔法少女 theme, but yes :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

I got interested in ハウス after your post, and yesterday I finally watched it. It was certainly an interesting experience and the special effects were adorable and hilarious :stuck_out_tongue:

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Oh, nice! I’m glad to hear it! That’s a movie that I think can safely promise at a minimum an interesting experience… I think a lot of haunted house stories could be improved by the addition of someone who’s really good at kung fu and has their own music cue for kicking things.

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Finished 伯爵と妖精 3! I enjoyed it very much. <3

Also, I liked this bit of the author’s note (even though I usually skip those):

An A+ description of 伯爵と妖精 from what I’ve seen so far. :grin:

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You still working through 私の推しは悪役令嬢 or have you pretty much given up at this point?

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