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

@_Marcus, @Radish8, thank you very much. I think I have a better understanding of how to plan my reading goals now ᕦ(ò_ó)ᕤ


Regardless of how much grammar you’ve learned, expect that you may not recognize what you’ve already learned until you’ve seen it a few times. (So don’t let that discourage you!)

You can (time allowing) look up any unknown grammar you encounter, or you can ask it in the book club thread. Asking not only will get you the answer, but it helps out others who might not have fully understood the sentence without realizing it.


I want to start joining a book club, what is the next date? I see this post is from 2019.

Well, the start of the thread is from 2019, sure, but the end of the thread is still current.

As the topic title says, we’re presently reading なぜ?どうして?科学のお話 2年生 - that’s a series of short essays rather than a continuous narrative, so it’s easy enough for you to just pick up and join in wherever. That said, we’re only about a month away from finishing the book, so you might be better off waiting for us to decide our next book, whatever that may be.


I see, how to stay tuned?
I might buy a e-reader, physical books might take to long to ship.
Any suggestions for e-readers?

Also, if a book from a previous book club interests you, you can still read it and ask questions in the relevant threads.


Hi all. It’s time to pick a new book for Absolute Beginner Book Club to read. The なぜ book we have been reading finishes in a couple of weeks. We also have the doggy detectives book running as a spin off club, which goes through to September. We are up to the third of five volumes in that series.

There have been a mix of approaches to picking a book in the past. We’ve had some clubs where someone just picked a book and invited everyone else. And we’ve had some rounds of nominations and polls to pick a book.

The なぜ book has been enjoyable and a nice reading level. There are several others in the series at grade 2 level, and the grade 3 books don’t look dissimilar in difficulty.

Personally I think we’ve done a lot of “book” books recently and that it’s time to tackle a manga again at absolute beginner pace. The more formal style prose books are great, but we need to balance that with the wealth of natural spoken Japanese that comes from a manga reading.

I wondered about a reread of Yotsuba volume 1, originally read by the Beginner’s Book Club in 2017. But: it’s not available as an ebook, which has been important to a lot of people when we’ve discussed books previously.

There are a few manga nominations already but the one that really stands out to me as a good absolute beginner pick is Big Brother Rental which @ChristopherFritz nominated in this post.

I’m tempted to just go ahead and set up a thread for reading Big Brother Rental, but wanted to check first if anyone else had any strong ideas, or perhaps if there’s a strong appetite for another round of nominations followed by a poll.


Ooooh! I read it wrong, thought it said Jun 16 but it’s Jul(y)!!! Maybe I’ll jump in again for the last 2ish weeks then! And I guess it’s not the last live reading session either?

Yeah. I’m actually really interested in Yotsuba and thought about starting it a few weeks back but then I noticed that there’s no ebook. Until there’s no ebook, I’m not reading.

The story seems heartwarming and cute, I also like the art! I’d be in! How about a poll on whether to read Big Brother Rental or go the usual way (nominations & poll)?


I am happy to lurk along with whatever the group picks, be it a manga or another 10 min reader. :sweat_smile:


I’m actually already working my way through レンタルお兄さん、so I would love to join in if that was the book; I’m sure the thread will help me pick up a lot more than the first time.


Totally unrelated but I just wanted to say… well, I’m not quite sure what, but you did a really awesome job stepping up for the なぜ club :+1:


The three reasons I haven’t considered starting up a book club for Rental Oniichan are:

1) Don’t want to complete with the Absolute Beginner Book Club.

On one hand, you don’t want too much choice for absolute beginners, because it can result in choice paralysis. “Which one should I read???” On the other hand, if the pick is something you’re not interested in, you’re locked out of book club reading for two or three months.

2) I don’t know if there’d be enough interest.

Granted, I haven’t tried to gauge interest. But this is the main reason I support still having a poll to decide. What if only three people have interest, counting those already reading it?

3) With me posting the Sailormoon read-through’s weekly chapter posts, I’m afraid if I did two book clubs at the same time, I might mix up their days =P

Should we have a poll to decide whether we want to have a poll to decide whether or not we should have the regular poll?



Rental Oniichan

  • Yep, I’m in. I want to read this book and will do my best to participate!
  • Perhaps…I’m not so sure, need to think about this one.
  • No thanks.
  • I just want to click on a poll, can’t help myself.

0 voters


Oh no… it doesn’t show who voted!

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Pardon me while I sign up for about 20 WaniKani accounts. No, it’ll be for no particular reason.


Thank you @ChristopherFritz!
I was thinking of re-doing it, but there will be more polls to come… start date, pace of reading, etc etc! There is never a lack of polls on the WK forums!


I’m the “maybe”. I read the preview on Amazon and the difficulty level seems about just right for me. It comes across as a bit dark and I’m not sure about the abuse aspects listed in the “cons” section of the proposal. I will think on it.

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If the Amazon preview covers the whole first chapter, that includes some of the worst of that listed “con”.

Normally I wouldn’t think to even mention it, but people with different experiences have different sensitivities and tolerances, you know? Personally, I feel the story is well suited for all audiences, but I wanted to err on the side of caution in the nomination.


What is the first thread of chi sweet home, I want to read the book even when that club is already over if I’m right. Maybe I can see some guideliness along the way for grammar or vocab.

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That’s right, the books we’ve already read remain a great reading resource. You’ll find the vocab spreadsheet helpful, and I suspect most questions you have will already have been asked and answered. If you do have a burning question that hasn’t been answered before there are often people still “watching” the thread, so if you ask a new question there is a good chance it will be answered.

The links to all the previously read books are in the opening post. This is the link to the home thread for Chi.

I must say though it is much more fun reading along with a live group!