[2023] 多読/extensive reading challenge

Wow, not often I see a sale like this!


Looks like many many Manga Time Kirara series have their first volume available for only 55 yen!


I think that’s a very good approach. After all, reading is not only a means of studying, but rather something we do for fun. :slight_smile:


So far I bought 11 volumes, for a total of 605 yen. At full price a single volume costs 792 yen :laughing:

And I still have 25 tabs open to check out. :sweat_smile:


Same here! :blush: I think that’s just a healthy approach, and I would do the same in any language tbh. Reading (or basically studying, as much as possible) should be entertaining and not feel like a chore.
For the lulz I recently had the idea to turn my Natively account (which I only use to grade read books, not for tracking my reading) into a Wall of Shame for all books I ever started and did not yet finish (for whatever reason; some were too difficult, some were too boring, some are still ongoing) and I got to 28 books: https://learnnatively.com/user/nikoru/library/?list=80a39538-4b3c-4599-8a6b-8a125a8c69ff&collapse_series=1 :sweat_smile:
(ok in all fairness I haven’t started the top 2 yet, I just added them already)
I keep telling myself that I want to get back to at least some of them, but then the next interesting reading opportunity appears out of nowhere and my good intent crumbles again :joy_cat:


I agree with this and yet I bought the audiobook for https://learnnatively.com/book/b365233b25/ with the intent of burning through the book at 1.5x (or more, I really don’t care) speed just to say I’m done with it :joy:

I just checked and I have 14 stopped books: https://learnnatively.com/user/cat/library/?list=9911b49c-973b-4802-8284-92532e3ad9f6&collapse_series=1

A few of those I do plan to revisit sometime next year, others I have no interest to ever touch again.


I guess my year is over since I won’t be finishing any more books in the next hour.

This year I read:

  • 80 volumes of manga (previous high was 59 volumes in 2020)
  • 12 total books - less than the 16 I read last year, partly due to the abovementioned high (for me) number of manga
    • 8 volumes of LNs
      • 本好きの下剋上 volumes 13-17
      • 魔法少女育成計画 volume 4
      • 薬屋のひとりごと volume 1
      • 忘れえぬ魔女の物語
    • 4 novels
      • 三日間の幸福
      • RDG volume 1
      • 僕が愛したすべての君へ
      • 君を愛したひとりの僕へ

For 2023, as usual I will not be setting goals for how much to read. But I certainly have some things I intend to read.

  • 本好きの下剋上 volumes 18-21 (already halfway done 18) to finish this arc
  • 魔法少女育成計画 volumes 5-6 (another two part story, and I already own these)
  • やがて君になる 佐伯沙弥香について - I plan to at least read the first one, prior to my planned reread of the manga. If I like it I’ll read volumes 2 and 3 after I finish rereading the manga.

That’s all I have planned for now. I’ll fill in the rest of the year with whatever calls to me in the moment and possibly the occasional book club. Some possibilities include 裏世界ピクニック, 博士の愛した数式, and of course more 本好き.


I finished something I’ve been reading slowly through a lot of the year!


This initially arrived on my radar because it won a sci-fi novel prize, and just sounded very tantalizingly interesting. I didn’t really know what exactly it was, but I knew it had something to do with kanji and language used in interesting ways, and just flipping through the hardcover copy I have, it was easy to see examples of strange arrangements of kanji or aggressive amounts of furigana or other oddities like that.

When I started actually reading it, I was pretty immediately taken with it. It’s extremely dense, and extremely dry, but something about that and the mystery of what’s going to be the hook in a particular story, makes it feel very special when some of the logic behind it becomes clear.
There’s 12 stories in the book, and going in I wasn’t sure how connected they would be and half-expected some mind-blowing super structure to reveal itself at some point. (Now having finished it I would say the stories aren’t connected, although certain elements like I think a character or two or concepts like 阿語, referring to - I think - an Atlantean precursor language or something along those lines. I genuinely could be completely wrong about that but I swear it said something about Atlantis a few times). All of the stories deal intensely with various real-world subjects, in a not-waiting-for-you-to-keep-up sort of way, from obscure Buddhist and Taoist believes and practices, to 古典, to calligraphy, to Chinese and Korean history, to even the novel 犬神家の一族. There’s a brief but weighty bibliography at the back that I wish I’d noticed sooner to check what topics might come up in a chapter beforehand. These elements are used by the book to sort of, stitch in seamlessly whatever weird 文字-related idea is the concept of that particular story, in a kind of bewildering but exciting way - since you don’t really know the real world subject very well, the fictional subject slips into the crevasses of your understanding, and it feels like you’re getting a glimpse of something magical hidden away in an obscure discipline.

I found a Japanese reader’s very good review in a blog post, and I think they describe this feeling very well here:


(and it was reassuring to hear they experienced it too :sweat_smile:)

The experience I would compare it to is it’s like… a few steps removed from “reading” The Codex Seraphinianus, which is a (stunning) nonsense book designed to appear as though it is conveying information, just in a language you can’t understand. When looking over that, I found my brain was similarly tricked into almost feeling like I was reading.
This book is conveying information, it’s just strange information. But of course for me, the fact that it’s a foreign language with vocabulary I can barely understand enhances the feeling in a strange way!

A quick example of the kind of trick in a chapter, from the first:

in the first story, there’s a character named 羸 (えい), but then the next time they’re mentioned the character used (without the change being remarked on) is 贏, then the next time another slightly different variation like that, etc., and this ties into the themes of the chapter about identity and reproduction, with the backdrop involving the construction of the Terracotta Army.

A more elaborate and spoiler-y example from my favorite chapter:

Okay, so… the chapter involves Taoist lore and a description of a vision in the sky, that appears to take the form of Space Invaders, but like, formed by recursive 文字 instead of pixels. The concept behind this involves treating the character 間 as a 3-digit binary representation: 門+口+一 and if you construct a representation of 間 where each one of the pixels making it up is a 門 kanji with the constituent parts at that location (e.g. 門 for the 門 parts, 問 for the 口 parts, etc.), and then XOR that representation, well the remaining outline of the 門’ll be 凸, which looks like the player in Space Invaders, you see, and all of this and then some is explained in a way that makes it sound like it makes sense, in the context of Taoist mythology and this vision somebody had centuries before the invention of Space Invaders. At least that general kind of thing, anyway.

I can’t pretend to have understood all of it, and honestly, it seems like the kind of thing where even if you DO understand all of it, the difference is just whether your inevitable “…huh” upon finishing it is inflecting with the thrill of discovery or the disappointment of confusion.
But honestly when I was at least kinda following along I loved the book, and I’d be tempted someday to read it again, especially now that I know what it is and wouldn’t be tempted to rush assuming there was more of an over-arching plot or mystery or something, and take it slowly, trying to dip into the subjects enough to at least get a sense for what each chapter was talking about, and take notes to cross reference particular concepts or work out which ones are fictional and which ones are non-fictional.

Before I started reading I nominated the book for the Advanced Book Club, and while I’ll begrudgingly admit from what I’ve described it’s not extremely well suited for the format, I’ll probably leave it nominated on the off-chance it’s someday picked and that’s the excuse for the reread. I think honestly the ideal schedule to read this would probably be 1 story per month (they’re like 25 pages but again… dense) for a full year. It always preferred the chapters when I was just like “I’ll sit in for the next few hours and read this one chapter” more than the ones where I was like “it’s time to finally finish Mojika!! Let’s go go go!” It’s one to take slow. (since they’re stories moreso than chapters, though, reading one or two and bouncing off or putting it off til much later would be a fine way to approach it too).

At the end of the day, if I didn’t love 文字 as a subject I wouldn’t be on this website, and even if I was barely hanging on to the thread of a handhold the book provides, it felt pretty amazing to be able to read something that’s both so unusual and interesting in its own right, and like, absolutely 100% fundamentally untranslatable - I don’t know how this book could exist in any other language, both because the typographical tricks it use exploit Japanese’s peculiar mix of writing systems to its absolute fullest, and because many of the topics tied in with the stories would be even further from common knowledge outside of a Japanese language context. It would be… a very interesting and headache-inducing problem to try to tackle as a translator.


Sadly I did not reach my Japanese reading goals for 2022 so I’ll just be trying to reach the same numbers this year: 10 books and 24 manga. It’s definitely a very doable goal but life just…keeps…getting in the way. We’ll see what happens.


In the end I managed to reach my initial goals I had set out at the start of 2022. Although I had adjusted my goals slightly here in the tables and those were almost all reached.

Managed to read 50 volumes of manga, there were some great manga out there, some good ones and also some I’m not sure I would read again. I had also managed to reach my initial goal of reading 5 books, so I stretched it to 10 and I was on course for that till I got sick and had to let it go. I read 9 books and still working on the tenth.

Played 5 different gamese in Japanese, but here I went for finishing 5 games. I still believe that would have been possible if I didn’t like long ass rpgs. I adjusted that down to 3 and was also working towards that. In the end I managed to beat two games.

All in all managed pretty well. No big goals for 2023, but I’ll count them all up anyway. Maybe I’ll just go for specific would be nice to do X or Y this year.


My goal in August was to read 6 books by the end of the year. I managed like 4 and two two-thirds? Close, but not quite there :slight_smile:.

For 2023, I want to read 10 books by August 15 - which will mark the 3-year point since I started learning Japanese. After that I’ll probably focus more on listening practice.


My goal was to finish 50 volumes of manga in 2022 and I just barely made it! :partying_face: It was mostly JoJo, which I really enjoyed.

For 2023, I hope to read 75 volumes. I’d really like to catch up to JoJo’s current point (I’m not sure how much sense Part 9 will make without 8 yet). I think 75 will either get me there or close by the end of the year. I hope to possibly get to some of my other manga, but we’ll see how it goes :slight_smile:


I finished 20 book volumes and 26 volumes of manga in 2022. The number of books is lower than 2021, but the difficulty level was higher and so was the amount of text. This year’s books were longer and denser, and I think if I had a way to count by word it would definitely be more.

I was able to make the transition from choosing books based on “what can I read?” to “what do I want to read?” I would have liked to have gone from “reading as study” to “reading is fun!” but I’m starting to feel like maybe that’s not so far away, and perhaps I can get there sometime in 2023.

List of books
  1. 怪盗探偵山猫
  2. 七夜物語(#3)
  3. ゆっくりおやすみ、樹の下で (reread)
  4. ビブリア古書堂の事件手帖(#1)
  5. ビブリア古書堂の事件手帖(#2)
  6. 三毛猫ホームズの推理
  7. 吸血鬼はお年ごろ
  8. 少年H(上)
  9. 武田信玄と上杉謙信(戦国武将物語)
  10. ナミヤ雑貨店の奇蹟
  11. 彩雲国物語、はじまりの風は紅く(#1)
  12. ガリガリくんができるまで
  13. 鹿の王(#1)
  14. 彩雲国物語、黄金の約束 (#2)
  15. 鹿の王(#2)
  16. 十二国記、月の影 影の海(上)(#1)
  17. 十二国記、月の影 影の海(下)(#1)
  18. 鹿の王(#3)
  19. 魔道祖師(#1)
  20. 十二国記、魔性の子(#0)

Half of the manga is 暁のヨナ。 The others are assorted volume 1 or 2s. I haven’t made it past volume 3 in any other series.

For 2023 I think I want to keep aiming for consistency and improvements, rather than a specific number of books or pages.


I just noticed the other day that on December 30th I finished my 50th book ever! :tada:

(“book” meaning no manga, no graded readers, no short stories.)

Looking back on my first steps with にゃんにゃんDetectives and 時をかける少女, I must say I’ve come a long way - thanks to everybody who helped me along through organizing book clubs or answering my questions! Can’t emphasize enough how motivating this was! :+1:


I haven’t read much since July, but since the first half of the year was pretty productive, I still managed to finish 20 books.

Let’s check the goals I set for myself at the beginning for 2022:

2022 Reading Goals:

  • read 12+ books (or 3000 pages) (20/12)
  • × read 24+ manga (17/24)
  • start the 鹿の王 series (even finished it)
  • × start the 守り人 series (as my 50th book) (but read 香君 instead)
  • × 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) (actually reached 17,000 – but a few thousand were familiar words I added for completeness sake)
  • × read more books than buy new ones (22 bought, 20 read)
  • 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 another book by かがみの孤城 author Mizuki Tsujimura
  • × read 200+ pages in one day
  • × read all of the books from my 2021 backlog (4/7)

So about half-half, I guess. Overall I’m satisfied with what and how much I read in 2022. Reading was my dominant hobby for the first half of the year, but at some point I was kinda burned out – not to mention the 2nd half of the year was incredibly busy.

My favorite book was easily Nahoko Uehashi’s 香君 (both volumes).

For 2023 my goal is simply to read more manga and finish the books I’ve started in 2022 and then some.

The manga reading goal also has a practical purpose: I want to siginificantly reduce my physical library before I move some time in the foreseeable future, but I don’t want to sell/give away stuff I still want to read.

Unfinished books that carry over from 2022:

  1. 吉田の日々赤裸々。 (19%)
  2. 佐賀から広島へ めざせ甲子園 (21%)
  3. 美しい村 (60%)
  4. イコ トラベリング 1948- (13%)

Other backlogged books I want to read in 2023:

  1. ノルウェイの森
  2. RDG3 夏休みの過ごしかた
  3. 狐笛のかなた
  4. 精霊の守り人
  5. アイとサムの街
  6. 君たちはどう生きるか

Current size of book backlog: 19 (積読本) + 4 (読んでる本)

I doubt I’ll read much in the next few weeks, but hopefully will make it a routine again from February/March onwards. We’ll see.


Perhaps I should make that as a goal for 2024 (not this year), lol.

Anyway, my count as found in Bookmeter is 42 manga (:tada:) and 2 light novels (:point_down:).

Bookmeter recordings
Month Manga LN
April 3 -
May 5 -
June 3 -
July 3 1
August 7 -
September 6 -
October 5 -
November 4 -
December 6 1

Making 50 manga for this year would be fair choice, though I might not just cut down the backlog.

For 活字 type, probably as much as book clubs, or read-together, indicate. Probably 3 in a year.


Alright, fine. You’ve convinced me!

香君 was half points back on Amazon and I couldn’t decide whether or not to buy it since I don’t know when I’ll be in the mood to read something by Uehashi Nahoko. As you know, her books can occasionally be a little dense, so I’d have to be in the right mood to read one of her books. But from your previous posts, this sounds much more pleasant to read than 鹿の王 and I want to read it eventually, so why not just buy it now I guess!


My listed goal in 2022 was to read 0 things, and it’s hard to tell mathematically whether I knocked it out of the park or failed miserably, but I read a bunch of things and enjoyed them!

I think my favorite aspect is that now more than ever I feel like reading in Japanese is just a matter of fact for me, and when I don’t understand things it feels less like a “language barrier” and more like just, incidentally not grasping particular things like I might in any book in even my native language (even if obviously the rate is much higher). And I wouldn’t say there’s any particular risk of my not doing plenty more of it in 2023, so since I haven’t been treating this like a “challenge” anyway, and I realized I don’t really need more tracking stuff, I probably won’t sign up on the 2023 version of the chart at the top of the thread. I enjoyed posting thoughts about stuff I read (and reading others’) so I’ll keep doing that though!


One could say your level of success was *ahem* undefined.


Oh, that one is on my “whenever I finish my 積読 pile” wish list. How was it? (Wait, now that I think about it, I remember seeing someone’s review of it either here or on natively :thinking: sorry if I asked already before)

Reading stuff like 鹿の王 or 十二国記 is definitely nothing to scoff at. At this point, you can obviously go for anything that strikes your fancy. By the way, I really liked the ビブリア series, if you want some recommendations.

:tada: :tada: :tada: That’s a really nice milestone!

I got this one for christmas! Hopefully I’ll also read it next year (instead of letting it gather dust on the shelves)

Kinda same, but I also noticed that my reading is strongly biased towards easier stuff (especially light novels). Reading those does not feel like studying, though (more like brain rot in some cases :sweat_smile:) so my goal is specifically about reading a given number of books I would usually not read (like proper literature or non-fiction).


Thanks! :blush:

I also have that in my pile! Maybe we could read it together at some point?
(… erm … I mean, start it together and then I watch you from behind as you race off :sweat_smile:)

Now I wonder whether Murakami falls more into the “easy brain-rot” section or into the other one? :thinking: