Absolute Beginners Book Club // Now reading: Cells at Work!

Thanks @Radish8 for updating the thread title and OP.

I noticed you recently removed your “advert” for the わんにゃん spin off book series. I wonder if we should keep this in the OP. Especially as you set it up so carefully to be accessible to absolute beginners in the pace and how you structured the threads.

I would personally consider all the わんにゃん books so far to be part of the book club rather than spin offs. And they’ve attracted new readers each time, unlike most “spin off” clubs that are reading continuations of a manga series. We could maybe put them in the list of previous books too?


No problem!

Yeah… I don’t know. I’ve mostly kept the わんにゃん stuff to advertising the upcoming book just for a short period for a couple of reasons:

(1) I decided when and how to run those clubs myself, without any reference to the ABC - so even though, like you say, my intention has 100% been for them to cater to this club’s demographic, and I try to time them so that they aren’t entirely out of sync with what the club is going, it feels strange to call them ABC books when they’re more like “maverick radish books” :stuck_out_tongue:

(2) I actually think it’s kind of confusing for people to see multiple upcoming or current books - it’s really nice and clear if you just have one current thing and one upcoming thing. This is especially true for the ABC where people are much more likely to be new to the forum / clubs and can already find it difficult to navigate. It’s not so bad if the official pick is a manga, because then it feels like the club is just offering a choice between the two media - even so, right now that would leave us with two current books and an upcoming manga. Maybe we could add it back in once なぜ is finished.

I agree with you about them being different from other spin-off clubs. Perhaps the わんにゃん club should be branded more like… a sister club to the ABC?


Oh I don’t know. I feel like the わんにゃん books are a spin-off from the ABBC in just the same way as Yotsuba is a spin-off from the ABC. And that’s no bad thing!

It also makes things a whole lot easier to organise at the master list of bookclubs!


I agree with this point. It’s nice keeping things simple. And with なぜ finishing and case 3 not too far away in わんわん it’s probably nice timing to have the わんわん advert up again.

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I’m new to the Absolute Beginner Book Club.
Is this forum still active or there a new one for absolute beginners?
Sorry, I’m a bit confused about how and where to join in this club :sweat_smile:


This topic is main topic for Absolute Beginner Book Club. Main topic is for choosing next books.

They are now reading レンタルおにいちゃん - Home Thread is here.

They are currently on Week 1, Week 1 discussion thread here.


Thank you so much for your help :hugs:


I accidentally linked the same thread twice, fixed now!

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Hello everyone :slight_smile:

This is my first post, so please bear with me, as I’m being thoroughly confused with all the threads leading to more threads and so on :see_no_evil:

I am happy I found this absolute beginner’s book club as I find it highly motivating to overcome the hurdles of the Japanese language together and support each other throughout.
I’m looking forward to join the conversation on the current read, but was wondering if the next book, which is probably scheduled for November, is already being discussed? Or will we read the whole series, which I think is 4 books in total…?



Book clubs usually read the first book in the series only. After that, and if there is enough interest, an offshoot book club will be formed to continue on with the rest of the series.

Voting for the next book takes place a long time before it actually starts. This allows for people around the world to order the physical book. Delivery times are extra screwy at the moment with the pandemic messing things up, so the lead time required to buy the next book is significant in some cases.

I hope that all makes sense. Let us know if you have any questions at all.


Welcome Yviee! As Davids68 says, after we finish volume one of レンタルおにいちゃん, the club will start on a new book.

Your question is well timed as it’s about time to pick the next book. We have several books nominated already as potential options. The plan is that we will have a poll of the book club members to decide what we want to read together next.

The list of proposed books is visible in the opening post of this thread - under the heading “List of Proposed Books”. Each book has a link to the original nomination post for the book which gives further information about the book.

Within the nomination post for each book is a poll, that allows people to rate how difficult they think the book is for absolute beginners. It’s helpful for lots of people to look at the nominations and rate their difficulty. The aggregate score is used to come up with a score for the overall difficulty of the book.

Anyone can nominate a book. The proposal template and instructions for proposing a book are in the opening post of this thread, just above the list of proposed books.

I was thinking we should aim to select the next book by the end of this month. This would give 2 months for people to get hold of the book prior to an early November start date.

My suggestion is that we spend the next couple of weeks asking for any further nominations, and giving people a chance to rate the difficulty of those nominations, and then look to have a poll around the 23rd August to pick the next book.


At the end of なぜ? we talked about nominating another one from the series, but there was some discussion on if we should move up to Grade 3 or stick with another one from Grade 2. Any thoughts?


ドラゴンボールSD 1


Dragon Ball SD is a remake of the Dragon Ball manga with SD graphics and simplified text made for very young children.”
“The first four chapters of Dragon Ball SD quickly cover the main story points of the series, jumping straight from Goku’s childhood to the battle on Namek, and then to the Cell Games and the Majin Buu Saga.”


Print Version:


Personal Opinion

Dragonball brings up childhood memories and this Chibi-Style version gets one excited to dive back into it. It could be a good pick for the absolute beginners book club. All Chapters have 20 pages, which would make it managable to read within 9 weeks. The font-size might be a little small, but it seems sharp and still good readible due to the quality of the print.

Pros and Cons for the Book Club


  • Beautiful & fully colorized
  • Gorgeous Art Style
  • Furigana


  • Small font
  • A lot of pages (192)


First Three Pages of Chapter One

Table of Contents

Additional Pages

source of additional pages

Difficulty Poll

How much effort would you need to read this book?

  • No effort at all
  • Minimal effort
  • Just right
  • Challenging
  • Impossible, even with everyone’s help
  • I don’t know (please click this if you’re not voting seriously)

0 voters


Addendum: Bookwalker with Preview

For those lazy enough to not click the link:

First 3 Pages

A couple of pages soon thereafter


That’s better, I’m gonna add it to the post! Thank you @ChristopherFritz :slightly_smiling_face:

Yes! I’ve been eyeing these lovely volumes and I’d love an excuse to buy them.

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Hmm, what to do about なぜ? There was a strong appetite among those who finished the recent なぜ book to do another one. People particularly liked the format of separate short chapters, so if someone fell behind it was easy to skip some chapters and join the group again. The language was also a nice level for beginners.

I guess we should pick one and put it on the list of nominations. Personally while I enjoyed the two なぜ books I’m more interested in reading a breadth of different books rather than another なぜ book just now.

I’ve looked at the level 3 books and I didn’t think the language looked any harder than the level 2 books we’ve read. I presume it has more kanji, which might even make it easier! So I think a level 2 or level 3 book would be fine for this club. What do others think?

And how to decide which book to put in the nominations? Is a poll to decide which one we nominate taking it too far!!

If the なぜ book doesn’t get selected - people might be interested in an offshoot book club I guess to continue to read なぜ books…


Maybe we could finish off 10分で読める物語 二年生. Not exactly a なぜ, but the same general series.


I’d read another non-science one! Maybe something like biographies for 3rd graders: 10分で読める伝記 3年生


I would love another なぜ! Like you had mentioned it’s nice they are bite sized and can pick back up if needed. If I had to say something I disliked about the last one was that there were some very technical terms that aren’t really relevant to my learning that would trip me up. I don’t have any specific nominations though but would be OK with a level 3. :slight_smile: