[2023] 多読/extensive reading challenge

Whoa! :rofl: Now you just have to read books by authors you’ve never heard of before :wink:

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[shamelesly copypasting from natively]

Picked up my reservation from the library, pleased to see it’s a hardcover :smiling_face:. I’ve had this on hold for a while but planning to finish it this time (although I really should study for the JLPT :flushed:).

@Vanilla I read 二番目の彼女でいいから a while ago and… what can I say, it was hard to put it down; finished it in like two or three days. Wasn’t expecting that title drop to give a whole nother meaning :sweat_smile:. Now I’m kind of disgusted of me enjoying it.

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You gotta read till volume 4. Volume 3 is pretty wack too and volume 2 is bonkos as well, but I’m extra curious on your thoughts of volume 4.

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“I wonder why theres a sudden drop in readers on volume 7”
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reads volume 7

Ah
:neutral_face:
I see

Man, gotta say, I’m on volume 8 of this series and this dude choked hard writing the series. He did say he hit a slump and maybe the pressure of putting out an anime got to him, but like breh what. I can almost excuse the writing that looks like this

願わくばマスター達の手で、その手が編む未来を見て──死にたい。
そう思う。だが……、
本来ならば──最高に心躍るゲームになっていたはずのそれは──
……だが、あまりにも──、と。
その続きを口にする資格などないのを承知で、それでも、思ってしまう。
最後のゲームが、こんなに──つまらなくて。

Because quite frankly I’m used to it at this point. But the entire game is just troll as fuck. I don’t understand how the editor let this one through.

They wrote two goddamn books about the characters playing a game where we don’t actually know the rules, how to win, how the game started, or why the game started because they had their memory erased. The MCs have it figured out seemingly, but they haven’t revealed it to us, so we the reader can just do nothing but sit back and wait for hundreds of pages for information to be revealed to us so we know whats going on. And then they decide to reveal more information that makes it more complicated and evident we really don’t know whats going on. And then they start a game inside the game. And then theres other people outside the game who were given orders (that we don’t know about) by MC to interfere with the game. And then someone whos within the game made plans before the game and added a rule that we didnt know about at the start where when you die in the game you dont actually die and become a ghost and he used that to get outside of the game to challenge the people who were outside the game trying to come in the game because of MCs orders before the game and yeah.

Like bruh. Might be a tapout for me. Im about 30% of the way through 8 and this shit is just wacc. There was another piece of information revealed that again, doesnt clear things up, and only adds another layer of complexity.

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Well, that just sounds depressingly like real life. :stuck_out_tongue:

Speaking of, you just lost The Game.

That’s a bit sad, though. I quite liked the anime, and was kinda interested to see where it was going. But yeah, even the end of the anime got less great when it switched from “we’re gonna win through clever tactics” to “we’re gonna win by cheating better than you”.

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It was pretty good for the first 6 volumes, and maybe it gets better after this game again, but yeah the consensus seems to be that this arc is pretty rough. Its the first game against an old deus, holo, and they’re like literally gods…so I think the author just felt the need to go all out for the first god game and he confused complicated with exciting.

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@Naphthalene I noticed you read 村上海賊の娘 - this book was recommended to me by a Japanese friend, and so I bought the first volume recently, but I’m still a bit afraid to get into the historical details :sweat_smile: I find it hard enough as is to read Flesh&Blood which is fraught with historical details of England&France where I have at least some background; doing the same with Japanese history feels like overkill :melting_face:
What was your spoiler-free impression? Did it contain long historical and political passages, or was it more focused on the pirating action?

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Sure, I actually wrote about it on the Natively forum. I guess I can just copy it here:

Oof, I finally finished 村上海賊の娘 一 | L39?? , and I have to say I didn’t really enjoy the ride. I like the historical plot, I like the titular character (and the others as well), so it should be an easy win, right? Wrong.

The pacing is hell.

For the first half, anything that happens is interrupted for the author to give some sources as for why it happened and why it probably happened that way.
Picture this: two characters, A and B, are talking. A says “hey, B”. The author immediately interrupts to give some background on A, including some notes from the diary of character C, and then goes on to explain that C would be familiar with A due to meeting him, as written in character D’s history of C’s family or something. Back to A and B, B is not happy about meeting A. Cut to an explanation of the dynamics between their respective families and why B would be annoyed.
And it just goes on. Overall, it feels like the author is trying to show us that it’s all super realistic, the best approximation of event he can come up with.

Then, we get the titular 村上海賊の娘, vinyl scratch, the author admits that “well, as far as we know she didn’t exist, there’s just that one family tree that mentions a daughter, contradicting other sources, and I’m going to extrapolate wildly based on that one untrustworthy source”. Basically, from there on, any historical character still gets the “and here’s why he would use those words in that order” treatment, breaking flow, while she gets “source: I made it the eff up”.
Not only does it pad the book like crazy (not much happens in that one book, in the end), it doesn’t even help with the suspension of disbelief. I did learn some history about 織田信長, the 毛利 family, 顕如 and others, so that’s nice, though.

Note: when the author quotes a source, he leaves it in its original version. It’s a good opportunity to practice some Classical Japanese.

So, tl;dr:

I does, hard, in a way that is not really fun to read for me.
There’s some action, though, but I guess it’s like 5% of the whole book :joy: 50% is a narrativized retelling of History, and 45% is giving sources. (I didn’t actually check, but that’s how it felt)

Edit: I also checked some of the historical characters on wikipedia, so I know how the events covered by the book will end :eyes:

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Thanks for the details! That sounds pretty much like Flesh&Blood to me :rofl: :roll_eyes: just without the really annoying bits you described, luckily

Alright, I think it will sit on my shelf for a bit longer, then :sweat_smile:

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I finished October’s Harta!

ハルタ 98号


(I especially like this month’s cover art, especially with the accompanying table of contents art)
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The first 新連載 in this issue is 魔女のエデン by ゆめじ, which has an interesting background – it seems it was originally published in France (as L’Éden des sorcières), and now is coming over to Japan for the first time (but the creator is Japanese so it’s not exactly a translation).
I think that’s pretty cool! I don’t know a lot about the French comics scene, but from afar, it seems neat.
Anyway, I thought the first chapter had a fairly familiar fantasy story set-up, but something visually very cool happened right at the end and won back my intrigue.
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The other 新連載 is 花園に幹が立つ by 野澤佑季恵, about the only boy attending a former girls-exclusive academy. I wasn’t pleasantly surprised that the comedy this goes for wasn’t at all “haha this boy has to do girly stuff” nor does it seem to be a harem situation, the comedy and drama look like they will instead come from his intending to just study but slowly getting warmed up to the “elegant girls’ boarding school” vibe that the characters around him embrace whole-heartedly.

The good period piece manga with the uncomfortable premise that I have mixed feelings about, 煙と蜜 by 長蔵ヒロコ, returns from hiatus, so I am glad for the author’s health!

On the ending side of things, ジラソウル -ゴッホの遥かなる道- by 沼野あおい concluded after a tanko’s worth of chapters. I’m not sure what exactly to make of it, as it seems neat but I feel weird about the specific use of real historic artists, in a way that seems at first impression pretty divorced from the context of their real lives. I’d be curious to read it in collected form though (and I am glad it’s getting one!).

And シャッター街のさくら姫 by 宮本伶美 also concludes! It was a straightforward and sweet story about revitalizing a local shopping district. Wouldn’t be a bad one to check out if that topic sounds appealing.

A 読切 I thought was especially strong this month was by 本を葬送る by 児島青 (hey, they did the tea one I mentioned last issue! I knew that art style looked familiar…)
It’s an especially well-illustrated story about a jaded used book store owner cleaning out the library of a deceased collector. Hits true to my tangential experience volunteering in a used book store, and comes with a real life book recommendation! The Palm-Wine Drinkard, by Amos Tutuola.

As for the self-indulgent section of things from comics I already knew I liked,

Dungeon Meshi was sure something this time around! So much happened! And holy dang good on Izutsumi!

峠鬼 also had a lot of plot and character motivation exposition that I’m intrigued by.

I loved this standalone ハクメイとミコチ chapter about a haunted ぐい呑み!

恋の絶望行進曲 is heading in an interesting and potentially grim direction…
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And I like that あかねさす柘榴の都 gave Alba a chapter for some introspection on her own.
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And I guess I’m in the mood to share an extra amount today so here’s a couple pages from ナッちゃんはテンションで水深が変わる

And a couple pages from いやはや熱海くん


P.S. just a note since some folks on here started following ホテル・メッツァペウラへようこそ - I saw that both the third volume and a volume of short stories from the same author were released with this issue. (I picked up the short story collection and haven’t read it yet but… it seems like it probably deals with similar subject matter, in the sense that the first thing I see opening it is some very pretty butlers.)

other manga report:

  • 青のフラッグ (3-5)
    This series is awfully good! I slowed down a bit going into these volumes (I think the leg injury angle left me a little cold since I thought that maybe the rest of the story was going to revolve around this somewhat contrived car accident, but that ended up not being the case at all), but picked up speed again and was fully won over in this stretch.
    It’s full of endearing character art and dialogue that both warp to express as much character as possible, and by this point I feel like it’s broken completely out of any initial set-up and has an invested plot involving a lot of what feel like authentic teen kind of like, figuring each other out while figuring yourself out at the same time type conversations. It feels kinda similar to what I like about いやはや熱海くん, just in a much much more kinetic, action-packed (in as much as a manga about teens talking to each other can be action packed) sort of way.
  • シュトヘル (1)
    The same friend who recommended 青のフラッグ recommended this, and while I’m not fully on board yet I am intrigued.
    I didn’t go in knowing anything about it, and still don’t know very much ,especially since I read the first chapter some time ago before reading the rest of the volume, and the first chapter introduces the isekai-adjacent (and I think a gender swap is involved?) plot conceit before the rest of the volume spends 100% of its time establishing the setting of historical Mongolia, to the point that my memory is very foggy on the initial set up (but it seems primed to maybe turn back to that more with volume 2).
    In any case, that historical setting is neat! It feels sort of like it would be a good fit if you liked A Bride’s Story, but wanted it to have more action. And reading about historical Chinese and Central Asian societies that used 漢字 (which the story deals with) is always interesting to read about in Japanese because having the (written) characters goes a really long way even if I have no idea at all how a given word or civilization name would be pronounced in either its original language or English. The title of the book itself is an amusing example, as the title is technically 悪霊シュトヘル but the title that’s made its way to English in lieu of an official translation is “Shut Hell” even though that makes no sense and is completely wrong because シュトヘル is presumably a transliteration of a Mongolian word meaning 悪霊 and has nothing to do with English or shutting hell.
    Anyway, I’ll keep reading!
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There’s one boy and multiple girls, so it’d only be a regular harem, if that was the way it was planning to go.

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good catch!

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I went to the library and picked a (kinda) random book again. This time, I went from the top right of the first shelf near the entrance and I saw 負け犬の遠吠え by 酒井 順子. I had heard of that book, since it (in)famously defines “loser” as “a single women in her thirties”. While I was curious about it, that’s a fairly big book, so I’m not sure I could stand that kind of content for so long. Instead, I went with the slimmest book they had from her, “着ればわかる!”

On the one hand, I enjoyed reading the book. It’s also very short and I do like her writing style.
On the other hand, it’s an essay about wearing a bunch of different “uniforms” (I don’t really think stuff like “disco” or “costume from Cats” really count as uniforms, but whatever) and doing some armchair psychology about the type of people wearing them.

While some of her conclusions make sense they are generally obvious (“a military combat uniform is heavy! You need to be fit!” you don’t say?). However, what was more “fun” was all her opinions on what it is to be feminine (your mileage may vary). I expected some more conservative opinions, but generally she went with “sexy = good”. (She literally says the following, but in a less aggressive way, I started typing it like that as a joke, but I got a bit upset halfway through :sweat_smile:) Pro beach volleyball female player are not allowed to cover themselves by rule? ThAt’S GOod AcTUally! ShOw tHat a$$. Traditional work clothes for young women picking tea leaves make you basically flash your underwear to everyone? That’s great! That way you’ll get a real man (not like those modern herbivores) to bring you behind the field after the day’s work and make a woman out of you.

Now, if I was to do a bit of armchair psychology, besides all her comments on how women being sexy is great, there’s that one chapter where she says that she is not gay, but, she finds crossdressing women (from the Takarazuka Revue) really hot. It’s not gay because all straight women feel that. Source: she is a straight woman.
I mean, maybe? I don’t know, I’m bisexual; every time someone tried to explain to me sexual preferences, I felt like what I imagine a blind person would feel when being told about color theory.
Then, when she tries the “uniform” (i.e. crossdresses) and her editor and another staff member who’s helping her for the book start acting flirty with her, she absolutely loves it. I mean, I don’t know. I’m probably reading too much into that, buuuuuut I think she is a bit sus, as the kids say these days.
Anyway, that part is one of the first things in the book and kinda changed my whole reading of everything, which is probably why I enjoyed it :joy:

Also, on a side note, she kept writing some seriously thirsty stuff about her editor, but, by definition she (the editor) had to read everything in details, right? That’s kinda weird, right? Or awkward, I guess.

Edit: specifically, I mean that it’s one thing to talk about someone who might read what you wrote and guess it’s about themselves, and another to write about someone who will have to sit down, read the whole thing knowing it’s about them, and then have to make constructive comments about it…

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It’s OK, she’s totally straight.

No gay vibes here, no sir.

gay-lgbtq

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More seriously, though, a cursory search on google (and scrolling through the comments on bookmeter) didn’t yield anything… so maybe I am overthinking it? I guess I just got primed from the “I’m not gay but” part at the beginning.

Oh, also, I learned that when she call people (including herself) losers (負け犬), she means it in a positive way (?!?).

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Wikipedia goes out of its way to point out that the partner she lives with is male, for what it’s worth…

現在も独身であり、30代末期からの付き合いのパートナー(男性)と同居している

I read your not-exactly-quote about sexiness and real men as sarcastic, but I can’t be sure of course. But apparently she defends being single/unmarried and the term 負け犬 has to do with that? I haven’t read anything of hers so I wouldn’t know.

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Oh no, in context, she does not sound sarcastic about it.

That is a bit strange. Also, I checked the source, and, without wanting to go into conspiracy theory, the sex of the partner is never explicitly mentioned, but she said (about wanting children) that if she was a man she would definitely ask her partner to have a bunch. That also doesn’t mean anything (I assume she is imagining a different hypothetical partner), but I find it funny nonetheless.
I should stop wondering about the life of random people, though.

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I looked at it cursorily, and again it seems to me like she’s just opposed to the “normal” prescribed path for women, and she’d be fine with having children if she were a man because then she wouldn’t have to go through pregnancy/childbirth/expected maternal role. I don’t get gay vibes from her, just women power. I don’t even know why I’m interested either, to be honest

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My feelings exactly. But she won and I am now planning to read 負け犬の遠吠え.

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Sounds pretty consistent to me - if somebody is a “loser” in terms of the Japanese value system, then that means they broke free from these norms and values, I guess?

Yeah, that.

BTW this discussion reminds me that I should at some point really sit down and read the 朱野 帰子 book I bought ages ago :sweat_smile: (spring sounds like a reasonable time frame :roll_eyes:)

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