[2022] 多読/extensive reading challenge

Lol, well to be fair, I’m on the bottom floor in the corner of my classroom on the opposite side from the door alone and its on my personal computer. Its not like anyone could possibly know what I’m looking at. I don’t think anyone actually knows that I’m reading in the first place.

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No, but if you make a disgusted face they may start to wonder :joy:

I’m thinking of starting to read some light novels soon. Bunny Girl Senpai and Oregairu are pretty high on my list, but was also thinking of something I found today - a manga called 世界の終わりに柴犬と

I found it on Verasia, which has reasonable prices and a quick delivery to my location. Has anyone read it and can recommend or not? There are 2 volumes right now.

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They probably think the look of disgust is from me reading the pre-prepared city lesson plans.

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I’ve read it in English (fan translation, I suspect) and found it quite amusing. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Yeah, I like the vibe of it, honestly. Very much even. Heck, why am I even hesitating. I’ll just order both volumes. :joy:

Edit:
Ordered 2 volumes of the Shiba dog manga and first volume of Spy Family. :slight_smile:

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I’m sorry to interrupt for this very important commercial:

The Advanced Book Club is currently polling for their next pick, which will be read from January 1st, 2022. This is the perfect opportunity to set a New Year’s Resolution for yourself, in case your New Year starts on that day, or to read a new book for entertainment purposes, if not.

Thank you for listening :grin:

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I finished reading a Harta series that I never knew what to make of while I was reading in the magazine near what turned out to be the end: ミギとダリ.
Turns out I still don’t really ​know what to make of it!

It’s by the author of Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto, and (from what I read of that in English at least), it does a similar-ish thing of like, an unusual protagonist doing unsual things, played with a very very straight face, but this series isn’t an outright comedy, it’s more like… an espionage mystery coming-of-age adventure? I… guess?

It starts with two twins, arriving in a town in Japan modeled to an intense degree after American suburbs, having been adopted by a kindly older couple… who think they are adopting one boy, not two.
The opening sections revolve around the twins maintaining this illusion in a variety of ridiculous ways as you slowly learn what their real motive is: investigating the death of their mother in a quest for revenge.

I’m not really sure how much I like it? But it’s unusual to a degree that it kept my attention and I’m glad to have read it. I really don’t have much at all to compare it to, it just feels like it’s own odd thing. There’s a lot of cross-dressing, incestual teasing, diapers, and infertility as a motivation for villainy, so I’m sure there would be a lot to potentially unpack, but I feel like I’m perplexed by it to a degree where it’s hard to think about analyzing it deeper.
I think whatever it is it’s doing is executed well, and the ending was satisfying and surprisingly sweet - the parents ultimately recognizing there were two kids without having to be told was a good-natured touch.

Anyway, it’s one more loose end tied up. the last volume is out next month so I read those chapters in the magazines. (Still counting it as having read another volume though)

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It turns out the librarian is one of the people who eats lunch with me and literally my neighbor in the staffroom even though she is never there. I was talking with her on friday and books ended up being a nice shared interest obviously. Unfortunately, we didn’t know a lot of the same books as you might imagine.

After finishing 二番目 yesterday, I decided to give 人間失格 a try since what japanese person doesn’t know that, right?

Man, what a book. Honestly first two memorandums were kinda like aight this is neat. But like it was just so hard to empathize with the main character, yknow. Then the second part of the third memorandum hit. Man what a fucking 終盤. I still don’t really understand the main characters thinking necessarily. But at this point it was familiar enough for me to appreciate it coming to a head.

Definitely not my usual type of book to read, but it was well worth it just for that third 手記. The japanese also wasn’t nearly as hard as I expected, but I was still able to get a good amount of new words from it so I’m happy.

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I ended up doing something brain melting over the weekend: I read in parallel 後宮妃の管理人 1 and the first 3 volumes of the manga adaptation of 薬屋のひとりごと.
They have the same setting, use the same technical words, but have different reading for them. Also, they have similar characters: in 後宮妃, the 貴妃 is the classic beauty with large breasts while in ひとりごと that was the 賢妃. Instead, in ひとりごと, the 貴妃 was the exotic looking one, role taken by the 淑妃 in 後宮妃.

In terms of plot, 後宮妃 feels like a mix between ひとりごと and some subplot of arc 4 本好き. In terms of personality, the main character reminds me of マイン, except that she cares about money rather than books (her hobby is to count things with her soroban, so maybe closer to フリーダ?). Mostly, her internal dialogue makes me think of マイン, especially the よっっっしゃー and the like.
Favorite one, coming after a political enemy publicly insults her husband:

そんな皓月様にあんなこと言うくそ親父は、とりあえず禿げろ。禿げ散らかせ。

About the manga version of 薬屋のひとりごと, it was my first reading an adaptation, and I have to say this one is pretty good! It follows accurately the stories; some elements had to be dropped but instead we got chibi 猫猫, which was fun. The first three volumes cover about 2/3 of the first novel, so I’m not sure if it’s sustainable in the long run or if they will just stop the publication at the end of an arc. There are 8 volumes published, so I guess they are somewhere around volume 3? (Actually, checking the preview on booklive, volume 8 of the manga starts at 87% of volume 2 of the novel). Since there’s furigana on everything, definitely recommend to people who are having problems with text only.
By the way, there are apparently two manga series, I am talking about the Square-Enix one.

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By the way, I just noticed that the first volume of that 薬屋のひとりごと manga is free to read until the 16th of December.

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I read the debut issue of 青騎士

I described this before as a Harta spinoff, because two series moved from that magazine to this one (and it was advertised heavily there at the time), but I doesn’t seem like it’s meant as ハルタ 2 or anything like that - it’s not on the “Harta Comix” label, I don’t recall seeing an “enterbrain!” logo anywhere, and it’s billed for ハルタ, 月刊ASUKA, 電撃マオウ の有志, so I guess it’s joining a range of magazines that are ultimately under the voluminous Kadokawa umbrella. Ultimately I don’t know anything about the manga publishing industry, so I do wonder how all this stuff works. A couple of the stories here have full furigana coverage, which makes me wonder if maybe they were originally prepared for a different magazine before getting moved here, or something.

The name, it turns out, is taken from “Der Blaue Reiter” an early 1900s art group/movement/magazine founded by Kandinsky and others, signalling this new magazine’s intent of “伝統的な価値観を乗り越えようとする、先駆的な出版活動.” I don’t know enough about German expressionism to know for sure if they live up to the name, but it’s a pretty good first issue for a manga magazine, at least.

Harta’s slogan these days is “Never Seen Never Before” which doesn’t… quite mean anything, but I think does a good job of capturing that while there’s stuff I could point to as vaguely Harta-ish elements (female protagonist, historical or fantasy setting, quiet plot, sense of wonder or enthusiasm), there’s plenty of stories and series that don’t fit that mold and really the only thing that binds them is they’re all going for something that’s at least a little bit unique to them, which I think is what makes them at least baseline interesting to me, I like that I’ve never seen them… never before, or whatever.

Anyway – that’s just to say that I wouldn’t be too shocked if any of these series had been in Harta, I’m not detecting a giant editorial difference yet at least. It maybe feels like it has a slightly colder or harsher tone in general, but honestly that’s probably just because it’s, well, blue, and doesn’t have nearly as much work put in to make the overall package warm and inviting, which Harta is especially good at.

For the first issue, they made more of an effort than for some reason I expected to make it an easy place to jump on board, with the continuing series either not being in this first issue (Bride’s Story is replaced by a one-shot by the same author) or starting from 第一話 with a new arc. Which is a welcome change of pace after starting in the middle of things. A lot of the other series start with prologue, or even trailer installments though, so it does feel a little slight overall when a fraction of the 20 stories are just “hey this is really gonna kickoff next issue” but hey, it’s just getting started.

Some stories I thought were particularly memorable:

“Receipt Jiangshi” by 戸塚こだま, about using long retail receipts as Taoist talismans to harness the necromantic energy of jiangshi. This is a really clever concept, and I love jiangshi so I’m definitely here for it. It looks like it’s a 2-parter.

波間の子どもたち by 有海とよこ
This is just a prologue chapter, but a really intriguing one.
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紅椿 by 高橋拡那 (moved from Harta)
This one has a surprisingly large amount of nudity and bondage (like… a lot). I usually don’t like the lone sexually explicit series amidst lots of stuff that isn’t about that at all, since it’s jarring and not really my thing, but I do really like monsters from folklore, and the art in general is quite good, so I’m intrigued. Felt kind of like “Bayonetta but with yokai instead of Christianity” which I could get behind.

北北西に曇と往け by 入江亜李 (also moved from Harta)
This is about a Japanese detective living in Reykjavík and it looks super interesting. I remember being intrigued the first issue of Harta I read before it moved, so it’s cool to get to start from the top with a new mystery now.
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… and plenty of others it feels a little unfair to mention, but I’ll stop there. Overall, kinda cool to see a new magazine start up, and it intrigued me enough to go on to the next issue, so hey!

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Which one? Seems the magazine is split into 2 versions. :thinking:

Yeah, issues 2 and 3 are split into 2A/2B and 3A/3B for some reason (I think maybe just pagecount?). I think though ultimately it’s different content in either half (and I remember they came out at the same time), so it’s like A and B combine to make one large issue. And then 4 was one issue again… we’ll see what 5 does, I guess, probably in December.

I was gonna read 2A, then 2B, then 3A etc. and tally/post each separately for maximum arbitrary numbers.

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And with 魔都精兵のスレイブ 8 I hit 50 books total read on Bookmeter :relaxed:. Pretty much 50/50 books and manga. Went on a bit of a manga craze and read 3 volumes of 怪獣8号 over the weekend. Pretty basic shounen, but enjoying the older MC, great art and unconventional perspectives to monster killing. Also finished ウィッチウォッチ 2 on friday which added up. That one has some great name gags :sweat_smile: (from vol. 1):

Great reminder why learning Japanese pays off big time :smiley:.

Also still chipping away at Your Name, which is still unfinished… Made it my ‘just before bedtime’-read.

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I just finished the second part of かがみの孤城, in only five days! Yes, this is a short book that’s really 45% of a single longer book, but it’s still faster than I’ve ever read a book in Japanese before. One part in the middle I read like 75 pages (after adjusting the count to a more “normal” page size) in a single day, which is definitely the most I’ve ever read Japanese in one day. Plus, even looking at the original 550 page book, I read the whole thing in two and half weeks, so a very nice pace for me.

You can probably guess based on how fast I read it that I really enjoyed the book. I’ll hold off on saying anything specific here since there’s a book club going on for it right now, but I was really impressed with the writing and how well everything connected. I may have to check out another book from this author at some point.

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Holy smokes! That’s definitely faster than I read in English :sweat_smile:.

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I’m a slow reader in both Japanese and English, I just happen to have a lot of free time. I’ve read 200+ pages in English in a single day before, but I was basically reading all day.

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I thought the book was pretty shit for most of the time, but the ending saved it pretty hard. Was a great 終盤

To each their own I guess! I liked it from start to finish and found it to be gripping the whole time.

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I read かくりよの宿飯 10 a few days ago, but didn’t really have time to comment about it until now.
Boy, it was a ride. All the things set into motion by the last arc just came crashing together and was great, but at the same time, I started thinking “wait, that really feels like a finale, but it can’t be, right? There’s a volume 11!”. But then 2/3 through the book everything is pretty much solved. Then the last chapter gave me the 3 years later kind of after-credit scene and that got me really confused.
I mean, it was great, probably the most satisfying entry in the series, with a lot of callback to everything that happened, showing the growth of the characters throughout the series.
But I kept thinking, what about volume 11?!?
Then I read the afterwords and the author mentioned that the series was over, but they still had some ideas for stuff happening to the characters, just without much of the weight of the recent arcs. The author mentioned not knowing how it would be implemented, but I know, since I’m from (their) future.
It was written as volume 11, which is in fact a collection of short stories in a much more laid back setup (since most tension was resolved). I read the first story (out of 12) and it was quite a nice vibe! Very slice-of-life. I’m probably going to take my time reading that book, since it might be the actual last one, sadly (wikipedia says the series is still going on, but it has been known to be wrong).

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