[2022] 多読/extensive reading challenge

I’m definitely interested. Probably doesn’t make sense to discuss in this topic, so maybe ping me in Pitch-Accent Awareness Corner instead if you don’t mind.

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New year, new goals! (Wait, I didn’t even have goals last year.)

2022 Reading Goals:

  • read 12+ books (or 3000 pages)
  • read 24+ manga
  • start the 鹿の王 series
  • start the 守り人 series (as my 50th book)
  • read something by Murakami

Secondary goals:

  • finish 貝に続く場所にて
  • reach 10~12,000 entries in my Anki reading deck (from 7000)
  • read more books than buy new ones
  • read more non-fiction
    → including ones about Studio Ghibli
  • read 1-2 of the classics (e.g. 坊ちゃん、雪国)
  • read one of the Akutagawa prize winners
  • read one of the Naoki prize winners
  • read another book by かがみの孤城 author Mitsuki Tsujimura
  • read 200+ pages in one day
  • read more books than buy new ones
  • read all of the books from my 2021 backlog
2021 Backlog

貝に続く場所にて
コーヒーが冷めないうちに
世界の終りとハードボイルド・ワンダーランド 上
神さまたちの遊ぶ庭 ✓
佐賀から広島へ めざせ甲子園
星やどりの声
楽園のカンヴァス

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Oh, we’re doing reading goals now? :smiley:

For me:

  • Read 5000+ pages of books
    • I’m not aiming higher due to my goal of reading lots and lots of web articles to expand my vocab and hopefully learn better ways to articulate myself
  • Try to finish ロクヨン at some point
    • In 2020 this was too hard for me. Last day of 2021 I reread the first chapter and it was difficult, but on a manageable level finally.
  • Likewise try to finish 黄金仮面 at some point
    • I love 江戸川乱歩 but for some reason this one was oddly hard for me.
  • MORE 青空文庫!
    • Seriously, this list of short stories is great
  • Make a decent dent in my own backlog
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Do you know if Uehashi Nahoko has any other shorter series or standalone books? I’m a bit reluctant to even try 鹿の王 because it’s 4 books, not to mention how long the 守り人 series is. I was able to enjoy 獣の奏者 largely because it was two books and done (since the next two books are a sequel), but my understanding is that 鹿の王 is originally all four books (well technically it was originally an 上 and 下 later split into four books, but same thing). But if she has another good 1-2 book series that would be great.

My brother once bought me a biography of Hayao Miyazaki in English, though I never read it… (I’m not really into non-fiction.) There must be an original version (or at least alternate version) in Japanese, right? Maybe that’s worth checking out.

Right now I have my eye on ツナグ. I’m not sure if the (presumably) unrelated chapters/stories will suit me since I often don’t enjoy that style. But on the surface the premise seems interesting and it has relatively good reviews.

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How do either of you do with scary stuff? 闇祓 looks quite interesting.

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I’m “fine” with scary stuff I guess, but I don’t generally enjoy them either. There are exceptions (like Higurashi no Naku Koro ni which I really love) but in general the horror genre isn’t for me.

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That’s right, you have cliffhangers from each book to the next :joy_cat: Technically, there is even a fifth book (just like with Kemono) but I think there is quite a time gap before it (not sure though as I haven’t read it yet) but the first four all belong together (I think even the chapter numbers just continue to go up across the books, but I don’t remember exactly).

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That’s what 獣の奏者 books 1 and 2 do, so that wouldn’t surprise me.

So I remember you mentioned that the technical talk was frustrating at times, but did you like the series overall? Would you say it got better or worse as it went on?

My detailed thoughts (no spoilers though)

Yes, I absolutely loved it! But maybe that’s just because I’m crazy about medieval-type stories where people run through the woods and ride on horses and all that.
So, let me try to abstract away from that for a bit. I thought the world building was not as difficult to read and long-winding and dry as e.g. in Kemono but of course it happens quite a lot (in general I think the world is much bigger and more detailed than Kemono’s world). My pro tip would be to make good use of the map that you can find at the start of the book because the geographical layout is somewhat relevant for the understanding of how people move around across the story. Also there are lots and lots of people, and with the start of the second book I started keeping a list of who was who and who was related to whom in which way. I should have done this right from the start even. But I’m not trying to say those parts were bad in any way, not at all.
Then there is the Thing™ that needs to be solved. The Thing™ itself is of course a fantasy thing but Uehashi tries to somehow base it on reality. Which might work or might not work :joy_cat: So it has this resemblance to what e.g. I learned in school at some point, but then again not. Which might be a bit aggravating. That’s also not really bad, given that it’s fantasy after all. But what I found very annoying that somehow there were lots of very technical very long-winding explanations going on for The Thing™ but they were always somehow different, without letting the reader participate in how they came to that new conclusion. Or maybe I just misunderstood / did not understand things :upside_down_face: (which somehow would not surprise me, in those parts at least).

Did it get better or worse? Hm, hard to say. Books 3 and 4 get more heavy with those explanations, so of course books 1 and 2 feel more fast-paced and more full of interesting action, and I personally liked them better. But thinking back on it, books 3 and 4 also contain lots of action, and of course they carry the plot forward, so it’s not as if they are boring or something. Now that I think about it again, there was quite a lot going on, and maybe I found it a bit strenuous to have to keep all that in mind and then focus on the Japanese reading on top of that? But I guess you are waaaay more experienced with both of these aspect than I was 1.5 or 2 years ago, so I don’t think you need to worry about that.

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Reminds me of Brandon Sanderson, but in his case at least he does it really well. For example, he takes the real-world physics principals about how mass and energy relate, but in his fantasy worlds the relationship is actually three ways between mass, energy, and magic (technically the source of magic). So energy could seemingly come out of nowhere without any change in mass, but that’s just because magic was consumed (converted into energy) instead. I find it all really interesting.

Probably, yeah. Even when we read 獣の奏者 back in 2020 I didn’t find it to be that hard, and I’ve definitely gotten better at reading since then. Keeping track of all the characters can definitely still be a challenge, but I get plenty of practice with that from 本好きの下剋上! I feel like every arc adds a ton of new characters, but at least the series gives you several books to familiarize yourself with the current cast before a significant number of additional characters are introduced.

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@seanblue: 鹿の王 is 4 books, but each individual book is a lot shorter than Erin/Moribito (300 pages on average).

As for the standalone books, I think you’ve read 狐笛のかなた already and I’ve written about 月の森にカミよ眠れ before which was interesting, but not particularly exciting. There’s also her debut work, 精霊の木, which is actually a scifi book. Haven’t read that one, though.

If it’s in English, I might’ve read it already. I actually do have about 30 Japanese books and a couple of English ones here. Unforunately very few of them have digital versions which is a shame because digital makes it much easier to mark segments and take notes.

That’s also one I’d like to read. She’s written so many book and most of them are pretty long, so it’s really hard to choose. I really like this one from the cover art:

grafik

That actually sounds like I’ll really enjoy it. I kinda thought 鹿の王 might be even heavier on the lore/politics side – the latter one being what I enjoyed least about Erin. I do like the world and lore, the whole 王獣/闘蛇 biology stuff, but never really cared about the royal family and stuff like that.

Guess I’ll start soon!

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I finished 青騎士 第3B号
I felt pretty neutral about this one. A lot of stories I liked, but not really any I felt super enthusiastic about.
Some memorable parts:

  • 変彩石の隣人 by まとり is a series about a strange jewelry shop that doesn’t deal in cash but transmutes objects into gems with a rarity proportional to how important the original object was to the customer. Usually that means it’s bittersweet, but in this week’s chapter, no one takes the offer, the concept alone is enough to inspire the protagonist to fulfill their dream of becoming a drag queen, which is nice.
    image
  • I’m still confused by what クロシオカレント by こかむも is actually about, since there’s been like three chapters that all feel like they’re introducing a new beginning. But this chapter is about a gatcha game streamer excited to try one of those octagonal lottery thingamajigs that she’s seen in anime (and I’ve seen in 龍が如く…). It’s pretty fun.
    image
  • The last story in the issue was memorable in a negative way… A standalone about a guy’s relationship with a since-banned doll/robot modeled after a little girl. I didn’t think the very uncomfortable subject matter was balanced out by interesting new things to say… so I just found it uncomfortable.
  • 長田結花’s illustration pages, むすびめ, remains a highlight though! They’re so fun!
    image
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That’s a very good point. 獣の奏者 is 360 + 488 = 848 pages while 鹿の王 is 304 + 336 + 272 + 352 = 1264 pages, i.e. only 1.5 times the length.

Yea, well, there is of course also some lore and politics involved :joy_cat: But it’s a different type than in Kemono. Or at least that was my impression. (Sorry, but I can’t really say more without risking spoilers, which I would like to avoid by any means.) Given what you said about Kemono, I can totally see that you will probably like it. (And if not, we can mutually rant about the parts we disliked :joy_cat:)

Looking forward to your review!

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Decided on a super simple goal for this year. Considering how little consistency I’ve had in both studying and interacting with Japanese since I left Japan almost two years ago. (Seriously, 2020 is still kinda messing with my brain because I can’t believe we’re entering pandemic year 3. My brain insists it must still be late 2020, maybe edging into 2021…)

So I’m going to read one volume of something each month. I call it volume because it is probably gonna be manga, but it might be a book or 5-part graded reader or an actual book with text. I’m not gonna decide in advance. This way, even if I fall behind, as long as I try to catch up each quarter, I will at most need to binge three volumes of something. Doable.

Also, my other reading (I’m a bookworm, well, been a bit inconsistent with that lately too) needs a boost too, and there is no way I’m giving up all my reading in English. So many books, not spending enough time. So about a decade ago I easily beat the read one novel a week challenge that I saw around that time (well, technically 50 books in a year, but whatevs); in fact I finished that at the half year mark. Now, I have no idea how much I read or didn’t read last year, so I’m just gonna set one novel-length work a week (could be novel, anthology/collection, non-fiction book). When I get going, I typically read 3-4 novels a week, so as long as I regularly get into my reading hobby bubble, then I will hit that challenge. (I won’t track the English reading here, obviously. But I’d probably count any book-book that I read in Japanese for 52 book challenge. I have a couple of those.)

I look forward to all the reading I’ll do if I keep up with these challenges. :3

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I recently discovered that an artist whose artwork I like published a manga in the Harta’s December issue, and I was wondering if you could tell me what it was about, more or less, and whether it was any good? :smiley: The mangaka’s name is 内田晟 and the name of the manga is チェンジマーク, I’m pretty sure.

I really enjoy reading your Harta highlight posts, by the way!

In exchange, I, uh, offer this music video traditionally animated in ink by 内田晟.

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Oh yeah, that one! (didn’t remember it by name but definitely did when I refreshed my memory)
It’s really good!

It’s one of the 八咫烏杯 contest winners (so congratulations to the artist!) and definitely one of the more striking and memorable of that group. I would very likely have mentioned it in the post if I didn’t have a whole bunch of stuff in that issue to highlight already!

As I recall, it’s about a guy getting caught up in a dreamy time loop type of thing, involving a monster movie and a girl he met in class. It’s 67 pages and really well illustrated, so it’s quite cool and substantial. My only complaint was the ending felt a bit overly telegraphed to me.
image

Hope that helps! Thinking of picking it up?

Also, thank you for the kind words (and the music video)!

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Wow, really beautiful! Thanks for sharing :blush:

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Only saw this topic now - it’s a really fun idea! I’ve been reading through comments but a lot of the books mentioned seem very far out of my wheelhouse as a super beginner. Can anybody suggest any extremely beginner friendly books or direct me to any existing threads/articles to get started?

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Have you checked out the Absolute Beginners Book Club // Currently reading Mitsuboshi Colours ? You can either join for their next pick, or you can read any of the old picks and use the discussion threads (and even still ask questions in them)!
Happy reading :blush:

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I hadn’t! Thank you very much for the information I’ll start looking through them.

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