Absolute Beginners Book Club // Now Reading: Tamamo no Koi!

I know this is a bit iffy after 7 people have already voted, but considering that we talked a few months ago about how the old polls without the “senior member” option are actually hurting the motivation of new potential readers - I think it would be a good idea to add it now, even if that resets the poll. (That does reset the poll, right?)

(The option we wanted to add was “I am an experienced reader, so this is not much effort for me.”)

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I’ve got it added into the template now because I forgor to do so before. :sweat_smile:

But yeah, I think it would be a good idea to change it out for the new version, despite it resetting the poll. Also being sure to add whether readers want to do natural or simplified, @eieio :grin:

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Just saying that explaining every unnatural sounding easy sentence is probably going to be an issue.

But I’m not gonna be here, so it’s for you guys to think about.


I agree, I also think it’s a bit odd to join a book club only to read something that isn’t native Japanese, though I’m not sure how good the natural version is. Well that’s what a graded reader is for.


@MrGeneric @TobiasW @Kazzeon
Added a new poll at end of main post

  • Simple[the example pics][Furigana, less kanji, grammar, vocab in vol 1 but builds up each of those for each volume]
  • Natural [No Furigana, natural use of kanji, grammar, vocab in each volume]

Even the example chapter of the natural variant looks way easier to me than the current Ruri Dragon, so I voted for that. Kanji are easy to look up when one doesn’t know them.


The Beginner Book Club is currently holding a vote on what to read next. If you are interested in reading something a bit harder head over there and vote!


Following the last book selection poll, I considered developing a poll to include each week to gauge how new readers are doing.

I hadn’t seen something like that done before (although I haven’t followed all the ABBC reads), so I was surprised when, a week into RuriDragon, there happened to be the “For our new readers: How are you doing so far?” poll. (It felt like one of those “great minds think alike” moments.)

@TobiasW, now that we’re almost a couple of months into the club, do you feel the poll provides any actionable insight?

Would you have adjusted the reading schedule midway through the club if poll results differed? (This is where the shift to only one pick per “next book” poll will be nice. I felt guilty slowing Mitsuboshi Colors mid-club, as that delayed the start of the second pick.)

Since I’m lazy, I look forward to copying your poll verbatim for the next club, so I won’t need to work on writing up my own.


So far the only “actionable” insight is that no action is necessary. Somewhere between “It’s going well” and “I’m struggling, but I manage” is a good spot to be.

I have no idea if there is a point though - as usual, there have been people dropping the manga, and I don’t know if those people are actually filling out that poll.

I’m looking forward to making some statistics out of it at the end though.

I also thought about having a poll for people who decided to drop the manga asking for the reason, but in the end I didn’t do that after all. That might’ve been interesting (if I can reach those people), to e.g. find out if most people drop it for personal reasons, or if the club is too fast for them, or if the threads are hard to navigate, or what have you.

If there had been a lot of “I’m struggling so much I’m thinking of dropping the book” I would’ve probably made a poll to see what people’s problems are, if it’s not clear from the forum posts. E.g. if everybody is struggling with the casual speech, an information post about that might be in order. But yeah, if it seemed like the workload per week is a problem, I might’ve adjusted the reading schedule. I don’t think there’s a point of making the current club suffer just so the next club can start a bit sooner.

Side note: I think the “I’m no longer reading the book” option might be superfluous in all polls, considering how seldomly it’s used. Tons of people are “no longer reading the book”, but they just stop filling out the polls (and probably visiting the threads).


I’m waaaay late on getting the next club thread posted, but I plan to do so later today.

When is our expected start date for The Wolf of the Small Forest? May 20th, giving one week after Ruri?


That would make the most sense, though there’s only like a month until then. Honestly, I would create a thread ASAP and ask about how many people want to acquire a physical copy and how fast that arrives for them.


It’s totally late (because [insert excuses here]), but the thread for the next pick is up!


When can we expect a new poll? I want to go over all the entries beforehand to make a good decision for the first bookclub I’ll join.

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6-7 weeks before the end of the last selected book club.
Beginning of July most likely, so you have ample time.


So that my plans are posted officially here:


@Gorbit99 @MrGeneric thank you!

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The Ruri Dragon book club is officially over, and I wrote a post for that. It features:

  • So many polls that some might mix it up with the POLL thread.
  • Graphs.
  • Recommendations on what to do next.

Here you go:


For those who feel ready for something a bit harder, the BBC is currently voting for its next pick!


I have a few book proposals that might suit absolute beginners I am going to start working on…

今日から始める幼なじみ 1 / “Will you be my childhood friend?”



Kaede always wished for a childhood friend like in the mangas she reads. When she moved next door to her classmate, Kouhei, he said he’d do anything to help her out. So, she asked him to be her childhood friend! The two of them have fun adventures recreating all of the things that childhood friends should do! (Comickey/official Eng) (Natively lvl: 17 atm)



Personal Opinion

This is probably the first manga I read that I just looked at the cover and thought “That looks good, I’ll give that a try” and ended up reading the whole series of volumes available. The difficulty level and general grammar is right in the upper-beginner strike zone, where it’s not so simple you’re entirely reading hirigana but not so difficult you get lost as to what is going on. There is no furigana though, but I think it’s a pretty good easing-in point for reading without it.

Kaede in particular often operates according to tropes, so there’s a lot of familiar vocabulary throughout, especially if you’re into romcoms in the からかい上手の高木さん vein or anything involving childhood friends (at the very least you will learn 幼なじみ very quickly). But they’re also just regular middle schoolers, doing regular middle schooler things, so there’s lots of regular use vocabulary as well that you will see in other places.

Pros and Cons for the Book Club


  • Relatively straightforward vocab and grammar
  • Low-ish text density
  • Art is adorable. Absolutely adorable
  • First chapter is like 25 pages but subsequent ones are closer to 10-15 usually
  • Light-hearted and easy read
  • From volume two each volume has a crossover promotional chapter at the end where Kaede talks about another (real) manga based around childhood friends, which I think is very funny that there’s enough to support a consistent omake like that
  • I tweeted about it and the author said thank you for making my manga your textbook


  • No furigana - you will need to know how to look up words either with OCR or using handwriting recognition
  • If there’s an actual romance going it’s a hell of a slow burn. Best to treat this more as a slice of life manga.
  • Occasional middle schooler slang


First Three Pages of Chapter One

The author posts a lot of chapters straight to Twitter. Here’s the first half of chapter one

Additional previews


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
  • I am an experienced reader, so this is not much effort for me
0 voters

/Updated poll to template standard


For the sake of clarity, I’d post some other pages as well, looking around the author’s twitter, it seems the text density of those first few pages isn’t quite representative, though I’m sure you have better of an idea about that.

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