[2022] 多読/extensive reading challenge

Also in ポーション頼み 5. I still can’t understand why that word isn’t on WK. Someone should tell the team to start covering common words.

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Just finished the third book in the 魔女の宅急便 series. :broom:

Stats 📊


Total time spent = 10 hours
Audiobook length (for comparison) = 6.8 hours
Speed vs audiobook = 0.68
Speed for last book read (魔女の宅急便(2)) = 0.53

I have changed the graph up a bit to reflect reading speed relative to audiobook length because it’s a bit more meaningful than seconds per loc was. From chapter 5 onwards, I stopped looking up every word I was even slightly unsure of and only looked up words that I wasn’t sure I knew the reading of or hindered my understanding of the sentence. I’m inching closer to a comfortable reading speed, which is exciting!

Review 📖 (no spoilers)

I wasn’t as big a fan of this one as the previous two. The narrative structure deviated, we no longer had a self-contained adventure per chapter. Instead, there was more of an overarching storyline and there was even an antagonist introduced too! I’m not sure I really liked that, I was left wondering what was going on and what the antagonist’s intentions were (which I think was intended, not just because of my poor Japanese). But it wasn’t like a fun mystery I wanted to unravel, just confusing. And it wasn’t as charming. I hope this is not a case of the series maturing as Kiki ages. :slightly_frowning_face:

I’m going to take a break for a couple weeks or so and start 魔女の宅急便 (4)- I just hope it’s more in the style of the first two than the last one.

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I was very curious what happens in the next volumes, but didn’t want to actually read them, so I’m very grateful for your reviews :bowing_woman:

Question

I know you said that antagonist intentions are confusing, but what actually this antagonist does? Yes, I want spoilers.

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I ended up reading volumes 4-6 of ポーション頼み in err close succession.

The onsen part in volume 4, which made me stop reading the series in the first place, was extremely short and had no real fan service. Somehow, the men in the group still followed the usual trope and tried to peep, but that really makes no sense in context, which makes it extra weird.
Anyway, volumes 4 and 5 generally follow the plot loop I mentioned in a previous post. Volume 6 was more adventurous and introduced a 70 years time slip. When the main character comes back, the previous cast is really old (and partly dead) and the book basically focuses on “what happened during that time”. Then the main character start traveling again, without them obviously. So it was a good way to make a soft reset.
Overall, still a fun read. Honestly the only thing I found annoying was that the main character kept complaining about being flat chested. It felt a bit much (and irrelevant), especially since she could just use her powers to change her appearance if she wanted to. Anyway, that’s easy to ignore.

There’s one more volume published. If I read it today and finish 鹿の王2 tomorrow, I will have reached 100 活字 books read in a year (aka the @Kumirei challenge). On the other hand, I don’t like that series so much that I have to read the next volume right now — it’s just that it would make it possible to read a volume in a single day. Otherwise, I can still complete the challenge by reading 3 books in the next 8 days or 4 books in the next 16 days, which sounds much more reasonable. :thinking:
Then I am free from this curse and I can start reading manga again :upside_down_face:

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Looking at my bookshelf for inspiration, I realized that a bunch of non-light novel series I like (かくりよの宿飯, わたしの幸せな結婚, 紅霞後宮物語) are all published by 富士見L文庫. Innnnnteresting :thinking:

Edit: those 3 are the top, 3rd and 4th best seller of that label. I guess I should try the one in second place. :upside_down_face:

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Finished 伯爵と妖精 4! I thought I’d read something else after 3, but 4 sucked me right in.

My hold came in on 青桐 (inspired by the Akutagawa Prize reading challenge), so I started it last night. It’s possible it won’t suit my ‘it’s 2021 and I read what I want’ mentality, but if so I’ll put it back on hold set to activate in 2022. :grin:

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Aha I’m glad there’s someone who can live vicariously through me!

Spoilers

So, in the third book Kiki is 16 years old. There’s a new witch in town, Keke, who’s 12. Except, is she a witch? That’s one of the mysteries. She forces herself to live with Kiki and Osono and claims she is a witch but is not very forthcoming with what magical powers she has. In fact, whenever someone asks her a question, her usual response is it deflect it and ask a question back. It makes it quite frustrating to read, especially as I’m already lacking in confidence with the language so I like to have solid answers to confirm I’m understanding the text correctly.

The reason I describe her as an antagonist is because of the effect she has on Kiki. Keke kind of waltzes into town with a haughty demeanor and wins the hearts of everyone else, including people Kiki cares about (Tombo in particular). It also seems like Keke is pulling some strings in the background to undermine Kiki, like making sure she can’t hang out with Tombo. But nothing is for certain and Kiki doubts herself as well as whether she should even envy Keke as she’s only a child. Honestly, I found it pretty annoying that neither Keke nor Kiki were very open about their true feelings. Only until right at the end. But that might be a cultural difference.

Anyway, Keke leaves town and moves back home at the end of the book. So hopefully we’ve seen the last of her and the disruption she caused.

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Hit the halfway point for my yearly goal. After 14 light novels, I finally added in something else by finishing my reread of 容疑者Xの献身. :+1:

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I’ve ended up in the middle of a lot of things:

  • I noticed that if I hurried up a but with 週刊プロレス I could be 1/4 of the way to all of my listed numeric goals 1/4 of the way through the year, so I’ve been churning through those faster than usual. I think I might be able to get to where I’m actually caught up and reading them each week right after I pick them up, which would feel cool!

  • I’m right in the middle of 放浪息子, roughly where the english editions stop. I’m enjoying it, and I think I can get with the flow of the story a lot better now in Japanese than in English X years ago. But at some point I realized a low-key passage through the years probably wasn’t best read in one giant binge so I slowed down.

  • I got over the hump with デジタル・デビル物語 女神転生 and have been enjoying it quite a bit as a totally solid dungeon crawl with some interesting systems and a good vibe. I want to keep playing it but that kind of intense dungeon crawl is a very specific experience I’m not in the mood for all the time, so unusually for me these days, I’m gonna try to keep plugging away at it but not focus on it exclusively.

  • I’ve read a chapter or two of 世界から猫が消えたなら, enough to learn the premise and… it’s a surprising one! At first I thought it was going to be a straightforward story about cancer but then the devil shows up. Looking forward to reading more.

  • Hungry for a more language-focused game than Digital Devil Story to balance it out, I started ダンガンロンパ 希望の学園と絶望の高校生 on Steam. I’ve been curious about this for a long time but avoided learning pretty much anything concrete about it, so it’ll be interesting to learn what it actually is. I’ve only just barely started it, but the presentation seems fun. I’ll try not to let it overtake Digital Devil Story too much.

  • One of the things I got on bookwalker is some issues of ハルタ, the magazine that publishes Dungeon Meshi! I’m curious to try the manga in a magazine experience, and if nothing else, reading new Dungeon Meshi sooner is worth the price of admission to me. So far I’ve enjoyed quite a bit getting a taste of the different series reading through the magazine.

I’m planning on posting more about each of those when I finish them, but I have no idea what order they’ll get finished in at this point! So that’s my status for now. My focus is… a bit scattered! And that’s not counting the things in English…

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Curious to know how far along you are now? I’m guessing further than I am LOL :joy:. I’m still working on book 3 which was my new year’s resolution. About 2/3s of the way there… :slight_smile:

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はたらく細胞 (Cells at Work) Volume 1 is currently free on Amazon. By far the best anime from last year (at least in my humble opinion).

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I’ve actually only read book 1; the rest are on my backlog until I finish a couple of other commitments. Currently finishing up 雷の季節の終わりに and then I’m going to read 私の幸せな結婚. Definitely looking forward to getting back to it though!

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How do you like it so far?

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Well, I played and lost. I actually bought volume 7, but took 4 days to read it :joy:
Mostly, the plot (?) is much slower and comedy-centered, with the main character doing something ridiculous(ly overpowered), the orphans she is taking care of noticing, and her coming up with a weird explanation for what happened. Then quick cut to point of view of the kids (who know her true nature from the start) wondering why she is making up those excuses, and whether she is seriously trying to hide anything or not. They basically believe they are being tested but they don’t understand if the correct answer is to show they know (intelligence test) or to follow blindly her ordersexplanations and pretend they don’t (loyalty test).
The correct answer is that the main character is dumb.

Anyway, maybe things will happen in the next volume, but it’s coming out in October.

Edit: having a peek at the 小説家になろう and the next volume is still in the process of being written.

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Finished くま クマ 熊 ベアー 2 and I didn’t like it, like at all.
I was away from my PC and reliable internet connection for two weeks, so I decided to read it because I knew that I could read it without looking up words.
Well, I do appreciate easy to read writing, but here it is in a completely different league. The writing is so dull and boring, the resemblance of a plot is so stupid, and I really hate this “literary onanism” where the main character is super overpowered and solves any issue just because they are “so cool”.
I have the third book as well, but I doubt I’ll ever read it.
The valuable lesson I learned from this experience is that I need to prioritize quality over quantity when it comes to books. Not only because that is more beneficial from the learning point of view, but also from enjoying point of view.

I also read some free manga I accumulated over a year of using BookWalker.

  • ふらいんぐうぃっち (1, 2)
    Enjoyed it quite a bit. The style reminded me of よつばと!
  • あせとせっけん (1)
    Standard romantic manga with a weird premise. I liked the first volume, there was a moment where I felt worried, but it resolved fine.
    It has explicit scenes (by my standards at least).
  • 極主夫道 (1)
    This is a fun one, but you need to have some background knowledge about yakuza to enjoy it. I watched let’s plays of 龍が如く0, 極, 極2 and 5. I think that helped me a lot.
  • イジらないで、長瀞さん (1, 2)
    Well, this one is a bit controversial.
    I personally liked it a lot as a comedy. The visual part is also of high quality. It also has very good font which was very important since I read it from my phone.
    What I am not sure about is the “teasing” part. Sometimes it crosses the line in my opinion, but then again, that is intentional and a premise for the comical part.
    It has a lot of innuendos and semi-explicit scenes.
  • 彼女、お借りします (1)
    Didn’t like it. The actions of the characters are absolutely illogical and I already see where it is going (harem). I’m not a fan of this type of comedy.
  • 聖☆おにいさん (1)
    Turned out to be too difficult for me, so I didn’t go past first chapter. :cry:
  • 宝石の国 (1)
    Read about a half of the volume and came to the conclusion that I’m better off watching the anime version. It is difficult to distinguish some characters without color.
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I can see that. I got the first three volumes for free, but whenever I look at previews I always think “the art is so boring compared to the anime”. I think I’ll just keep hoping for more anime adaptions. I am really curious to see how the story continues, but not enough to read the manga with its dull visuals, especially given how vibrant and fluid the animation was in the anime.

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Thank you for saying this - exactly my sentiment!

That’s why I set up the Akutagawa Prize Reading Challenge - maybe you did not see it as you were away for some time? Would be nice if you could find some inspiration there for picking a quality book.

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It had a rough start, I’m not gonna lie. It felt like it took a while to get to a point where it was consistently interesting. It basically spends the first two chapters setting up a lot of characters and plot threads whose importance is not immediately obvious, and the result was that I was both slightly bored and slightly anxious that I was getting lost. Now that I’m past that point, I’m enjoying it.

(By the way, by “finishing up” I don’t mean that I’m close to the end :sweat_smile: I’m taking it pretty slow)

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Ooh :eyes:
I think I know exactly what scene/moment had you worried… I was too. I had picked up volume 2 for free too so I read on (about half a year after volume 1), and have read 8/10 volumes at this point. It turned into this super wholesome 癒やし系. :slight_smile:

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in one of the fights in the first 5 volume, she gets tired and that was a legendery monster fight