[2022] 多読/extensive reading challenge

Thanks, I’ll just read the first book then!

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  1. 機動強襲型令嬢アリシア物語1 ~始まりは渾身の右ストレート~
  2. ミステリークロック
  3. 伯爵と妖精 (32)
  4. 薬屋のひとりごと (1)

I’ve read four books since last posting, including three from my pre-determined list to read 12 from. That means I’m on pace for my yearly goal.

Most importantly, I finished 伯爵と妖精! 32 volumes in about a year. I found this series somewhat randomly, but I’m so glad I did. It brought me a ton of enjoyment and also increased my reading speed and stamina.

ミステリークロック is the latest entry in the locked-room mystery series I really like, and it was a fun time. 500+ pages and I didn’t look anything up. I definitely could have and would have if I’d been reading on my kindle, but I was reading on paper and decided not to, and apparently I can do that (with this series that I’ve read a lot of) now!

薬屋のひとりごと is another I’ve been meaning to try for a while, and it was also fun!

Things I liked: the characters (particularly 猫猫), the setting, the humor, the Chinese names that make me think I was waiting to read it until I started learning Mandarin and the names would stick in my brain easily, that it was hard sometimes.

Things I didn’t like: the episodic feel, the way the narrative sometimes jumped around in time (cold open scene, then the next scene is something like “two days earlier…”), that it was hard sometimes.

Request: no references, no matter how glancing, to anything in future books.

I’d like to finish another of my 12-to-read books in April, so I’m trying to decide what to start next. :thinking:

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After a near 4 month break of reading novels (I still read every day at work because all teacher materials and documents that come my way are in japanese), I was curious to see how my reading speed suffered so I cracked out the timer and tracked my character mark in the book.

And…

I got…faster?


You heard it here first, boys. If you wanna improve your reading speed, just don’t read.

Realistically this is probably a fluke, but it may also have something to do thats its also an easier book that doesn’t try to use fancy words or language. Its more likely that after intentionally reading some harder books, going back to easier books feels like taking weights off maybe

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I’m finally done with 鹿の王 3. (EDIT: also I completely forgot to put stuff under spoiler tags wtf)
It took way too long. Somehow, my mind kept drifting off, so it was hard to make any consistent progress. The problem was compounded by the frequent changes in character point of view.
That being said, I’m so glad they finally got in the same friking spot and met each other.

It’s strange that I had so much trouble, though, since the story itself was interesting. It also contained elements that I like in general (like ヴァン and サエ getting close to each other, despite both having been previously married; I just never see that in stories I usually read). I’m also curious to see
if ヴァン can see things shine the same way ユナ does.
Speaking of ユナ, it felt really like a stretch that ナッカ was actually her blood relative… I guess that’s a good reason for him to actually go ahead with the kidnapping, but what were the odds.

Other than that, well, good bye 犬の王, I’m not going to miss you.
Ah, and I learned the word 地衣類 (lichen).

I’m going to pick up volume 4 today, because I need to go to the library anyway, but I’ll probably read something else in the meantime.


I didn’t mention it at the time, but upon reaching part 3 of 鹿の王 3, I took yet another break and read the first volume of the manga adaptation of 転生したらスライムだった件. The light novel is one of the first series I heard about when I started looking into light novels, but I immediately discarded it due to the fan service on the covers. However, I recently heard (or misunderstood?) that the main character was (kinda?) non-binary, so I got curious. When I saw that volume 1 (of the manga) was free, I just grabbed it, but didn’t read it immediately.
Well, I have now done so, and, huh, the fan service is indeed bad. It also makes no sense in context. The main character, being a slime, mentions that he doesn’t care about food or alcohol, since he can’t taste anything. However, he cares about pretty (by shonen/seinen manga standards) women? But why, though? The same logic that applies to food should apply here too. The main character even notes he probably reproduces by division.
With respect to the non-binary thing, he can assume the shape of other creatures, and there are hints that he will assume an androgynous form in the future, but he is acting in a very male coded way. So I guess that it’s just that, being a slime, his human form will be asexued, but that’s it?
I’m still curious about that, to be honest. There could be some arc that shows that the body impacts the personality (like in 蜘蛛ですがなにか where one character got reincarnated as the opposite sex and get their personality to naturally change). I’m not holding my breath, though. I’m 95% sure I’ll be disappointed. (If anyone knows better, please let me know).

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I read Shadows House volumes 8 and 9 over the last few days. I’ve enjoyed the series from the beginning (with only volume 3 being a bit slow/repetitive), but it’s definitely gotten even better lately. Volumes 8 and 9 (and 6 for that matter) were easy 5/5 volumes. The story is really picking up, with some mysteries being resolved and others being introduced. Volume 10 just came out this month, but I’ll hold off on reading it for a bit. Since there’s a volume released every 3-5 months I’m doomed to have to wait at this point anyway, so no reason to rush.

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I read 孤島の鬼!
It’s an Edogawa Ranpo novel. I picked it to read now because I’ve been enjoying the 獄門島 book club a lot, despite not reading the novel (since I read it last year), and I thought 孤島の鬼, in being an island-based mysteryish thing from an author in Yokomizo’s general ballpark, could satisfy that itch in a way.
Turns out though, other than both involving islands, and murders, and mysteries, the two books couldn’t be more different! While Yokomizo in 獄門島 very carefully and deliberately sets up an evocative setting that surrounds and informs the entire novel, here Ranpo does a whole lot of “reader, I’m going to tell you later about something that was very ghastly!!!” and then veers the story into strange and unexpected directions. There’s nothing especially wrong with Ranpo’s approach, but I like Yokomizo’s way more the juxtaposition maybe didn’t put 孤島の鬼 in the best light…
I enjoyed parts quite a bit, but I lost a lot of steam with the story in the later parts when it turns into like, a treasure hunt story for pirate gold – although to be fair I binge read most of the novel over the weekend in a way where it was easy for my endurance to be heavily worn down. The most memorable part of the novel I think is definitely the artificially attached conjoined twins of opposite sex, although the general presentation (and long list in the back of my edition of words to describe people with disabilities that have gone out of favor since the novel was written) make it hard to tell exactly how I feel about of her presentation (the male twin is really more of a bad thing inflicted on the female twin than a character, for example) or that whole deformity angle in general. Seems like the main emphasis is on the shock value, and it’s fun for that I suppose! The main detective-y character having an intense gay crush on the narrator was an interesting (and endearing) element! That character in particular (in contrast to the narrator…) seems to have a lot going on… The afterword mentioned this is an antecedent to other same-sex-attraction-tinged mysteries popular in Japan right now? I wonder which mysteries those are…
There’s an edition on bookwalker with contemporary-looking illustrations that are pretty cool

manga report:

  • 波よ聞いてくれ (1)
    This volume I read in English from the library a long while back and thought it seemed interesting but wasn’t quite sure what to make of it – it seemed so heavily loaded with Japanese regional and cultural references that even at the time it felt like one I should read in Japanese if I was going to read it. So now I read that volume in Japanese! And I guess it did feel like I tracked a bit more?
    It’s about a 20-something woman in Sapporo with a brash and outspoken personality that gets her scouted to be a late night radio DJ. The artstyle and general demeanor are interesting and unique (at least among the manga I’ve read – the author also did, in a completely different genre, Blade of the Immortal which I’ve heard of but not read), although not really in the kind of way that immediately gets me hooked to read a lot of it, if that makes sense. Still curious, will see where it goes.

  • ヴラド・ドラクラ (1-5)
    This is a currently running Harta series and it was the first one I started completely skipping in the new magazines because it came across as extremely dry, boring, and hard to follow. So I was hoping catching up in volume form would change my mind on it. And… it did! It took a little while, but I am on board now.
    If you’re hoping for a spooky supernatural Bela Lugosi style Dracula – this definitely isn’t that. But if you want a full-on historical drama about Vlad III of Wallachia and 1400s politics… check it out! Because that’s what this is. The sensationalism meter is generally dialed quite low here (like definitely drier and more history-focused than I dunno, Game of Thrones or Vinland Saga or something if that works as a reference point), which does make it hard to get into, but it also makes it feel especially impactful when things like, you know, impalements happen, and the series is definitely at its best when Vlad is glowering in the midst of some historical calamity (and there is plenty of that). Reminds me of Legend of Galactic Heroes, actually, in terms of over-arching political events told through the the lens of a handful of key figures who get to be very exaggerated.
    I have no prior conceptions of anything to do with Romanian history in detail whatsoever so I have no idea how it plays from that perspective.

  • あさドラ! (1-2)
    Naoki Urasawa is an author whose work hasn’t ever been an outright favorite of mine (so far), but it’s always consistently extremely solid to the point that I’m baseline interested in anything he’s done. So I’ve been piling up the volumes of this ongoing series of his as they’ve been coming out.
    And what do you know, it’s extremely solid! My most memorable Urasawa experience was falling quite far into scans of 20th Century Boys on the bus in high school before losing track of where I was and never finding my way back (that’s one to make up for later…) and this feels like it’s setting up some similar over-arching mysterious threads, but in a less frenetic and more lived-in way. It comes across as thoroughly planned, and very endearing. So I’m curious where it goes! Especially about the kaiju. I’ll probably catch up fully soon.
    The first volume came out in 2019 and the very very beginning teases a scene involving the 2020 olympics happening in 2020 so uhhhhh I wonder if how things went will color anything later in the series…

  • 人造人間キカイダー(1)
    I picked this up because I’ve previously watched the tokusatsu show based on it (looks like that official channel took down a lot of episodes? Booooo), and so far I really like it a lot!
    This is my first manga by Shotaro Ishinomori, and his art here is very reminiscent of Tezuka (which makes, he started as an assistant for him), but stands up well under the comparison, which is saying a lot. I’m extremely not an expert in either author’s work, but I suppose the difference I see here is Ishinomori puts more of an emphasis on bold lines and action, and the humor is a bit more like “and here’s the comic relief scene” instead of rippling back and forth between drama and humor the way Tezuka seems to do a lot. (but I might be completely off base)
    It’s interesting to compare to the show – this feels a lot… dramatic? Like the emotions and brooding tended to get lost in the peppy episodic tokusatsu fights in the show, but they’re fully in the forefront here. It’s also interesting to me to see Hattori Hanpei here as like, a bit more of a hippy/dirtbag/Shaggy type of character (complete with a Velmaish partner!) when in the show he’s in a Sherlock Holmes costume and in full-on over-the-top goof mode all the time.
    I enjoyed the show, but I think I already probably like the manga more… there’s just something about a crisp page of comics!


    Plus it managed to scratch the kind of Dracula itch that Vlad Dracula wasn’t so much interested in…

  • 極主夫道 (9)
    I have absolutely nothing new to say about this that I didn’t say when I read the rest of the series, but it was quick and pretty fun.

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I read the first volume back when there was the big harta free first volume shenanigans and also liked it quite a bit! It was definitely not what I expected, but the atmosphere! The moodiness! It really delivers on the setting. Also the art is nice. :eyes:
I can imagine starting in the middle with this one wouldn’t be ideal.

I’m glad to see it continues well. It’s on my list of things to get back into when I’ve a bit of a handle on the 積ん読. :slight_smile:

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This is honestly one of my favorite parts about Ranpo books. It makes me so nostalgic for English books with similar writing styles I read as a kid :sweat_smile:

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早々いない

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They suddenly disappear.

TIL that there are actual kanji for そうそう (然う然う)

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As expected I’ve been reading less lately. I’ll be busier from now on and I want to enjoy the weather as much as possible, so I guess it’ll stay like this for a while. I’m still trying to read a bit every day at least.

香君 上
Finished the first part (20%) a while ago. I like it. Not much has happened so far, but some interesting concepts were introduced. There’s a certain rice crop with exceptional yields even under bad conditions – and obviously everyone wants this crop. But there’s obviously a downside – to the point where a now dethroned king chose to let his people starve rather than introduce that rice plant to his lands.

This is a really interesting premise because it’s actually a big problem in our world – invasive plant species and monoculture farming that destroy local ecosystems. I’m sure there’s still a lot more to it, so I’m intrigued to read on. That being said, I chose to focus on 島はぼくらと for now.

島はぼくらと
About half done and I still like reading it, but never more than a few pages a day. It’s still all about the small island’s microcosm – not only the four main characters but also many side characters get their share of the spotlight. It’s very mundane, but I like that and the characters do feel very authentic.

There are a couple of unresolved plot threads right now and new ones are introduced constantly, so I wonder if some of these will kind of melt together at some point or if some aren’t meant to come to a conclusion.

Because both books are so long and I’m not dedicating much time to reading, it feels like I’m not making much progress right now. But that’s okay, no need to rush.

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Shipment from Mandarake arrived :blush: Took less than a week!

Mostly stuff I want to try out and a few next volumes. Konosuba is nice comfort food. I had already almost given up reading Monogatari, but the physical books looked so cool I just had to get em.

Currently reading キミと僕の最後の戦場、あるいは世界が始まる聖戦. It’s pretty cliched but the Romeo and Juliet setting is pretty nice and it doesn’t take itself too seriously while having an interesting world. Bought quite a few volumes on a whim on BW so hoping to finish at least some.

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@valkow I saw on Natively that you recently read 私の推しは悪役令嬢 and gave it 2/5 stars. Did you have a problem with the story/characters, the writing quality, or both? Were there any redeeming qualities (without spoilers)? This series is on my “maybe I’ll read it eventually” list, so not a super high priority, but I am curious.

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Same. I’m also interested in feedbacks
although I have bought, and read, pretty bad stuff before, but let’s ignore that :shushing_face:

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It’s been a year since I finished it and I don’t remember it that well. However, I talked about it a tiny bit here (referencing your question above and @Ditto20’s post between) and here.

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Considering you just read like 50 悪役令嬢 light novels I’m amazed this wasn’t one of them. :joy:

Welp, I didn’t realize you just joined Natively. I saw a date from last month and assumed you had just finished it. I suppose I should have searched the topic first and then I would have noticed that you already posted your thoughts on it (to me asking no less!).

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It’s not on booklive :confused: At this point, that means a book might just as well not exist.

Edit: for some reason, the manga adaptation is there, though. Why.

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あらあら… isn’t that Oregairu? :smiley:
Thanks for the share! Looks like I might be able to get it after all.

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I decided to continue 私、二番目の彼女でいいから 2 a bit tonight while I wait for my laundry, and…

I formally withdraw any suggestion I have made to people to read this book

This book was pretty cursed already, but it literally just keeps getting worse. Chapter 13 actually had me feeling emotions I don’t even know what to call. This book is actually just cursed. Its so deeply unsettling and anxiety inducing. All I could think of to describe the change in my mental state while reading is this picture.

image

Just, don’t read it.

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Would you mind spoiling what happened? (Behind a spoiler tag, of course)
I am waaay too curious for my own good.

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