Absolute Beginners Book Club // Currently reading: Prefecture Stories ・ Next: Hunter × Hunter

My thoughts, based on a very quick initial glance through the preview on Amazon:

  • I wouldn’t worry too much about the page count, there. That seems reasonable, especially because even in the preview, there were a few image-only pages, so that part should be fine.
  • Vocabulary is a problem that the vocabulary sheets generally solve, so I wouldn’t stress about this part too much either.
  • While there were depictions of violence and some blood, nothing struck me as particularly gory or over the top in the preview that I could see, so I would tentatively say that’s relatively safe as well (maybe in your nomination post, you can post some examples of that behind spoilers/trigger warnings and people can look and judge for themselves if it is something they would consider too explicit. It’s not something that bothers me too much, personally, so my opinion should be taken very lightly into this consideration).
  • The part that would maybe give me some concern: Do you know if the entire manga has the same amount of text throughout? From the formatting and what I was skimming over, it would appear that the pages with heavier amounts of text are primarily exposition, so presumably introducing characters, so if the text kinda eases off after the first little bit, it wouldn’t be an issue, but if that’s the amount of text throughout, I might be a little more inclined to bump it up to the BBC, purely because it’s harder for newer readers to get through the amount of text that would be present.

Overall, I would say there is no harm in nominating it. Just be sure to include representative samples of pages so that people know what to expect, and the difficulty poll could serve as the final decision maker for us. If too many people vote on the highest ends of the difficulty poll, you can just move it to the BBC instead! :grin:

Edit: Also, I checked out of curiosity, and the Natively rating is currently a tentative L30, but it doesn’t look like it has really been graded, and that’s just a guess, as opposed to based on any actual ratings from those who have read it. If it really does fall into the L30 range, then it should be bumped up for sure, but since we don’t have any actual gradings, I would hate deny it on that basis alone.

3 Likes

The amount of text fluctuates heavily, as it’s basically a bunch of short stories strung together, so each start with a sort of exposition.
The main concern I have are these boxes:

Most things in the manga are explained using these. One pops up ever, couple of pages, with varying sizes, but they are at least a third of this in length.

I won’t nominate it yet and will just wait for a few opinions first. It’s currently free until the 7th on amazon if anyone wants to check it out.

2 Likes

Can one have multiple nominations going at the same time or rather not?

Nvm, one of them would definitely be beginner level, way too text heavy

2 Likes

Although you ruled out the one for being too text heavy, you can definitely have more than one nomination going at a time. We have quite a few slots open still, so I wouldn’t worry if you ended up nominating a couple. :smile:

4 Likes

The nomination was よふかしのうた, the vampire one that’s getting an anime this season. I felt it’s a bit long, given how text heavy it is at 200 pages.

Examples



I’ll definitely nominate 働く細胞 though, imo that fits, and I’ll make sure to look around my “to read” pile then :smile:

6 Likes

17-21

Summary

(from Amazon)
See the origins of the mad genius who created Chainsaw Man! This short story manga collection features Tatsuki Fujimoto’s earliest work. It’s rough, it’s raw, and it’s pure Tatsuki Fujimoto!
Alien invasions, high school romances, and even bloody vampire action—all this and more in four compelling short stories that reveal the starting point of Tatsuki Fujimoto, the twisted mastermind behind Chainsaw Man…

Availability

Online : bookwalker;
Book : amazon.jp; cdjapan.jp; verasia.eu/.fr/.it/.de

Personal Opinion

Reader of Chainsaw man will discover the early works of the mangaka, other can be intruduce with it and test the style. Art seems already pretty good for a mangaka that young (between 17 and 21 years)

Pros and Cons for the Book Club

Pros

Not dry
Furigana
Short stories; people can jump in at any time
A second volume (from the age of 22-26) if people want to continue

Cons

Some pages are heavy in texte
Not many page numbers
Art not as good as chainsaw man but can see the evolution

Pictures

First pages

17 01
17 02

Additional Pages

17 03
17 04
sorry for the bad quality

Difficulty Poll

How much effort would you need to read this book?

  • No effort at all
  • Minimal effort
  • Moderate effort
  • Substantial effort
  • So much effort my head might explode :exploding_head:
  • I don’t know

0 voters

4 Likes

Thank you very much for the nomination! I’ve got it added to the list of proposed books!

Just as a gentle reminder for those who are considering nominating something, it would be great if those nominations could be up within the next couple of days, so that people have time to vote in the difficulty polls before we get the selection poll underway! :grin:

I will be posting the selection poll on the 8th of July!

6 Likes

働く細胞 (Cells at Work!!)

Summary

Follow the 37 trillion cells inside a human body, including Red Blood Cell, White Blood Cells, Macrophage, and, of course, the cute, little Platelets, as they face off against threats like cedar pollen, parasites, food poisoning, staph infection, and their ultimate nemesis, cancer. Twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year, these tiny workers are doing their best to keep you moving.

Availability

E-book: BookWalker, Amazon
Physical: Amazon, CD Japan (only in bundle)

Personal Opinion

I grew up on the old French cartoon called “Once Upon a Time… Life”, the anime certainly has the same feeling. It’s quite charming. It would be nice to read the original material.

Pros and Cons for the Book Club

Pros

  • A lot of words are easy to figure out, because they are katakanized latin names
  • If you’ve seen the anime, the manga seem to have some stories that appear in it and some unique ones
  • It’s episodic, being lost doesn’t hinder you for the later chapters
  • It’s very scientficially accurate

Cons

  • There’s a lot of text
  • The very focused vocabulary might not be entirely useful to some

Pictures

First Three Pages of Chapter One



Additional Pages



Difficulty Poll

How much effort would you need to read this book?

  • No effort at all
  • Minimal effort
  • Moderate effort
  • Substantial effort
  • So much effort my head might explode :exploding_head:
  • I don’t know

0 voters

10 Likes

Hunter x Hunter

Summary

Hunters are a special breed, dedicated to tracking down treasures, magical beasts, and even other people. But such pursuits require a license, and less than one in a hundred thousand can pass the grueling qualification exam. Those who do pass gain access to restricted areas, amazing stores of information, and the right to call themselves Hunters.

Gon might be a country boy, but he has high aspirations. Despite his Aunt Mito’s protests, Gon decides to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a legendary Hunter. The Hunter hopefuls begin their journey by storm-tossed ship, where Gon meets Leorio and Kurapika, the only other applicants who aren’t devastated by bouts of seasickness.

Having survived the terrors of the high seas, Gon and his companions now have to prove their worth in a variety of tests in order to find the elusive Exam Hall. And once they get there, will they ever leave alive…?

Availability

E-Book: Amazon, BookWalker
Physical: Amazon, CDJapan

Personal Opinion

I really enjoyed the anime way back when I watched it. The artstyle certainly aged (well or badly, you decide). It’s a classic that’s probably worth a read.

Pros and Cons for the Book Club

Pros

  • Low text density
  • The language seems quite simple
  • If you start reading in Japanese now with no reading experience, by the time you reach the last volume, the next one might even be released!
  • If you’ve seen the anime, it’s a new way to experience the story

Cons

  • Despite the low text density, it’s still long (187 pages)
  • It’s unlikely the next volume will be released by the time you catch up

Pictures

First Three Pages of Chapter One (skipped textless pages)



Additional Pages



Difficulty Poll

How much effort would you need to read this book?

  • No effort at all
  • Minimal effort
  • Moderate effort
  • Substantial effort
  • So much effort my head might explode :exploding_head:
  • I don’t know

0 voters

10 Likes

I’ve been wondering if we should lose one of the fairy tale/folk tale nominations. We have:

No. Book Title Description
1 日本昔ばなしアニメ絵本 Japanese Fairy Tales (set of 18)
2 福娘童話集 Lucky Princess Fairy Tale Collection
3 日本の昔ばなし Japanese Folk Takes Collection Vol 1 (Issun-boshi and other stories)

1 is a collection of short books which are available in physical editions only. The books themselves are quite well suited to ABBC and very colourful. Each one is very short, so you’d need to buy a number of books which gets more expensive. We had a few people disappointed that the current book had no ebook edition.

2 is a website. The stories are a good ABBC level and it’s all free! For some reason hasn’t been that popular yet - maybe because people prefer a book format, perhaps because there are too many fairy tale options.

3 is ebook only. The book is 400 pages but the text per page is very low. There are a collection of stories in the book so it’s quite good value for 800 yen and lots of colourful illustrations. It doesn’t have any kanji which may be less popular given we are on the forum for a kanji learning site.

I wonder if we should drop number 1? It lacks a physical edition, need to buy multiple books, and it has been on the nominations a long time without garnering a lot for interest.

Don’t necessarily need to decide before the next poll (Mr Generic is typing at the same time as me, maybe with the next poll!) but thought I would raise as a suggestion.

8 Likes

It’s Time To Vote For The Next Book!

If you are interested in reading along with the Absolute Beginner Book Club, then please feel free to vote in this poll!

The list of options is below. The titles are hyperlinked to their respective nomination posts, which contains more information about the book as well as some sample pages.

The difficulty rating is based on feedback from folks looking at those sample pages, and so is very approximate! A score of 3 is considered to be “just right” for the club, with higher scores being a touch more difficult, and lower scores being easier, but since it is approximate, keep in mind that the scores may not be exact!

You have up to 3 votes, which can be changed up until the poll closes. I will keep the poll open until July 15th, one week from now.

The intended start date for the next book is August 27th 2022.

Book Title Description Difficulty Rating
日本昔ばなしアニメ絵本 Japanese Fairy Tales (set of 18) 2.7
福娘童話集 Lucky Princess Fairy Tale Collection 3.2
こぐまのクーク物語 春と夏 Kuuku the Bear Cub’s Story, Spring and Summer 2.9
日本の昔ばなし Japanese Folk Tales Collection Vol 1 (Issun-boshi and other stories) 2.4
もしかしたら名探偵 Detective Milky Sugiyama 2.4
10分で読めるこわい話1年生 10 minute reader - Scary stories (1st grade reader) 3.0

Manga

Manga Title Description Difficulty Rating
あたしンち My Family 3.1
Wanted Short stories from the creator of One Piece 3.5
こばと Kobato 3.5
あしょんでよッ ~うちの犬ログ Let’s Plaaay - Our Dog, Log 2.6
可愛いだけじゃない式守さん Miss Shikimori is not just cute 2.9
藤本タツキ短編集 17-21 Fujimoto Tatsuki Short Story Collection 17-21 2.3
働く細胞 Cells At Work!! 2.7
ハンター×ハンター Hunter × Hunter 2.7

Vote Now!

  • Japanese Fairy Tales (Book) [2.7]
  • Lucky Princess Fairy Tale Collection (Book) [3.2]
  • Kuuku the Bear Cub’s Story, Spring and Summer (Book) [2.9]
  • Japanese Folk Tales Collection Vol 1 (Book) [2.4]
  • Detective Milky Sugiyama (Book) [2.4]
  • 10 Minute Reader-Scary Stories (1st Grade Reader) (Book) [3.0]
  • My Family (Manga) [3.1]
  • Wanted (Manga) [3.5]
  • Kobato (Manga) [3.5]
  • Let’s Plaaay - Our Dog, Log (Manga) [2.6]
  • Miss Shikimori is not just cute (Manga) [2.9]
  • Fujimoto Tatsuki Short Story Collection 17-21 (Manga) [2.3]
  • Cells At Work!! (Manga) [2.7]
  • Hunter × Hunter (Manga) [2.7]

0 voters

(This is my first time creating a multiple-answer poll, fair warning, so I may have botched something! If it doesn’t work as intended, I’ll tag anybody who votes so they can recast their vote after any necessary fixes are applied. Fingers crossed I got it one shot though! :laughing:)

Edit: It seems to be working as intended, so unless somebody spots something I flubbed on, it should be safe to vote!


In regard to removing 日本昔ばなしアニメ絵本, I wouldn’t be opposed to doing so after this poll. Besides the major disadvantages of competing with multiple fairy tale collections, and of it only being available as a physical edition (which, for me, can be a deal-breaker if it’s not a book I really care to have taking up precious shelf space), it has been up for nomination since January 2019, so I say that unless it has some massive revival of interest in it, we can safely remove it after this round of voting.

13 Likes

The only thing missing from the poll is the ability to check the results without voting, which can be nice to have. ^^ Polls are hard.

6 Likes

I don’t know if this is the intended behavior for Discourse, but I found that if I select an item, the option to view results becomes available even without actually voting.

3 Likes

It doesn’t let you click show results without voting? That part is working fine for me, but maybe it’s because I constructed the poll…

2 Likes

It’s definitely weird.

Nothing clicked:

     image

Something clicked:

     image

(But I can view without voting!)

5 Likes

@MrGeneric It isn’t there for me, sorry. :bowing_woman:

@ChristopherFritz When I tried that, I got a NaN% value on all options. It broke basically. xD (Basically the show results button showed up, but clicking it gave the nan values)

3 Likes

Did you try reloading the page and trying again? (<= Tech Support question)

Relevant option for future poll makers:

image

(Side-note: It took me a while to make a perfect poll on a first try!)

4 Likes

Yup, still:

Might be Safari specific (wouldn’t surprise me), but it won’t work for everyone.

5 Likes

Hmm, relatively certain that’s where I left it, but maybe I bumped my scroll wheel or something while hovering over the option and didn’t notice. The text definitely indicates that as the case (results read as on_vote). Since one can just recast their vote afterwards if they want to cast their vote first and see the results, I won’t redo the poll this time (even though that’s an annoying step to take; sorry, y’all!), but I’ll keep a closer eye on that for the next one.

3 Likes

Honestly, it isn’t that big a deal in my opinion. It is nice, but if someone is planing to read with the club, they’re probably planing to vote anyway, so not being able to check the result without also casting a vote isn’t a problem. Just nice for the future. (I’m just a curious cat… Meow :cat2: )

3 Likes