[2023] 多読/extensive reading challenge

I didn’t really dislike the main character of コンビニ人間 that much, and most of her thoughts and actions “make sense” within the context of her being neurodivergent. A certain other character with an obsession with the Jōmon period was far more dislikeable to me personally.
The characters in 地球星人 however are pretty far down the dislikeable scale for me, and the combination of despicable behavior with a profound self-righteousness and contempt for their fellow human beings really got to me. The story is pretty graphic, involving physical and sexual abuse of a minor, murder and cannibalism, and there really aren’t any “good guys”, most of the characters are just sort of awful.


Right, to me her actions make a lot of sense. Her struggling to find anything interesting to do in life other than working as a part-timer and using the familiarity of the convenience store’s atmosphere as a “safe space” to retreat from the expectations of society sound like what I would expect from her as a character. However, then she suddenly comes up with the idea to marry 白羽さん which would be like her admitting she’s a 異物 to the society and needs to finally 治る to fit into it, to become a true blue 社会人. That feels counter-productive to the narrative.

Then we have the odd-ball 白羽さん. Some of his references to 縄文時代 make sense to me in the sense that there are specific societal norms and roles we are expected to follow and if we don’t follow them, because we’re too 弱い, we’re a failure. But again, he’s counter to this is being a stereotypical “neckbeard” by harassing women and constantly repeating how society is shit. That too I can’t really get behind, because nothing productive comes out of it.

Makes me wonder what was the author thinking :sweat_smile: . Like, at this point I would rather read a smutty light novel instead.


It’s honestly kinda fun to identify the phrases or words certain authors use a lot. I’m currently reading a book by 小川洋子 (おがわようこ) and she REALLY likes to use “さえ”, to the point it was probably appearing like 5+ times on every page at the start of the book (at least it felt like it). I’ve also noticed “不釣り合い” like 10 times and I hadn’t seen it in another book before this.


If it’s just a small cover that’s like one third of the height, it’s called 帯 and it’s really common. In fact I’d say it’s rare not to have one. Nearly all bunkobon I have were book+cover+obi. People disagree on whether you should throw away the obi or keep it.


By “outer outer cover” you mean the obi? :thinking:

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A book’s characters don’t need to be likeable. I personally enjoy books with dislikeable characters (heavily depends on the book and the reason they’re dislikeable, but I don’t need to like them to be interested). And a story certainly doesn’t need to be pleasant. It’s not mandatory to enjoy the book, or even read it, but this doesn’t mean the author shouldn’t have written it.


Yes, but in this case the obi had the same dimensions as the actual cover. On other books I have the obi is usually smaller or just an actual paperstrip.

I completely agree! But also both enjoyment and understanding of the book is highly subjective. What I meant before was that I can’t see myself relating to the book on a level that would help me appreciate it.


Weird, I’ve never seen that before!


Well, you might want to finish the book to see how she ultimately feels about the whole plan…


Yeah, I encountered my first full-height obi recently too – I posted a picture in the ‘show me your books’ thread.


Soo… a cover? :sweat_smile: Is it even an obi at that point?


I had a really hard time dealing with her counterpart.

Like the dude really needs to be told to shut up. That said it was really easy to read the last part of the story in one go and would encourage you to finish it when you feel like it.


I keep posting my thoughts about books on the Natively forum instead of here, so this time I’m just going to post on both sides. In fact, I’ll even add more spoilers here.

I just finished reading 裏世界ピクニック8 共犯者の終り | L33 and it was kinda weird.
Instead of involving some Eldritch horrors from the other side, it completely focused on the relationship between the two main characters and the fact that 空魚 is basically asexual (as far as we know) so having an actual relationship with 鳥子 is bound to be difficult… The book starts with 鳥子 asking for a clear answer, and the whole thing is about 空魚 trying to figure things out.
Except it’s all for moot because, at the end of the day, she ends up naked with 鳥子 and she finds out that she isn’t asexual, actually. That felt a bit strange as a way to resolve the plot… I expected at least that she would find out that she has some trauma preventing her from doing anything physical but… no. It just happens.
Follows a long-ish sex scene (which is also fairly strange for this series) with at least the interesting fact that they lose control of their respective powers during the act, which leads to weird (but harmless) consequences. While 空魚 can’t see what is happening to herself, we get to witness 鳥子 laughing, screaming, crying, err enjoying herself? and turning into a tree. Not going to lie, I never tried that last one in bed. I really wonder what the neighbors heard during that time…


To continue my (slightly off topic, sorry) previous rant about artificial digital restrictions, today I learned that you can’t gift an ebook to someone in another country, at least as far as Amazon is concerned.

I just can’t wrap my head around that. I thought geographic restrictions were all about distribution licenses. But when someone you are licensed to sell ebooks to buys the ebook, your transaction is complete. They can choose to gift the ebook to whoever, wherever, right? Amazon needs to facilitate that due to stupid drm, sure, but the financial transaction is complete, the ebook has been bought, so why on earth does it matter at all where in the world the gift recipient is located? :rage:

So much fun to try and make a nice gesture and instead end up exchanging countless troubleshooting emails before finally giving up.


A cover-cover! Doesn’t look like a regular obi, no. It’s the anime release promo cover, but then I’m confused why they slapped on top of the existing cover and not just replaced it. The anime looks very nice judging by the frames by the way, so if anyone has finished the series, it might be worth a watch.

Big thanks all for the feedback :). After the initial shock/disgust/etc. I decided to continue the book. I’m currently at 116/168 pages and it does get easier the further I go, because there is less of the dude seemingly :sweat_smile: .


Haha, nooooo. Welcome to the modern digital economy. A physical book, sure, they can’t stop you from getting on a plane, flying to another country and just handing it to another person. But ebooks? Or digital music, digital art, anything online? They control access to that, forever. Any time they decide the licence no longer applies, they can just straight-up delete it from your device.

I feel like someone online somewhere made a pretty pointed observation about this once, but I can’t find it now. (My gut thinks it might have been xkcd, but that doesn’t feel quite right…)


xkcd 86, 129, 488?


Aha, that’s the one I was thinking of.

I think.


TIL that there are events on Bookmeter! And they of course revolve around books and reading.

One thing especially caught my interest:

The British newspaper “The Guardian” once published a list of 1000 novels you need to read before you die, grouped into 7 categories, and this challenge is about reading one or more books from one of these categories. The challenge’s official time is the middle of the month (the next one is March 10 to 12) but you can read the book sooner or later as well. Of course the books are written in whatever language but there seem to be some Japanese books in the mix as well (or maybe they are just translations, did not check them out). But as people here are also reading books in other languages, I thought maybe you’d be interested in any case. This month’s category is Comedy. I’ve decided to read “Infinite Jest” by David Foster Wallace as it was recommended to me by a friend recently, and it’s on that list as well, so I took this as a sign :sweat_smile:


Did you check if there are any Japanese books on that list? :smile: