Absolute Beginners Book Club // Now reading: The Wolf of the Small Forest

Yeah. And due to the indefinite hiatus (see “cons”) probably for a while, sadly…


Oh my…

although that only increases the chances of my participation tbh :see_no_evil: I hope it returns shortly after the book club devours it


A few months ago, during the last nomination period, we talked about Nagatoro being a possible candidate, but also the fact, that it would have to be put to vote, if it should be even allowed as a nomination, because of the contents of it (bullying, sometimes heavy fanservice, etc etc).
I do think it would be quite a good fit for the club, it has a quite everyday style (with actually both a slangy and a more formal speech pattern being used at the same time), it’s easy to pick up, and it’s quite nice, once it sheds its skin of an ecchi manga one or two volumes in.

Here be dragons for those that want to read the conversation about it from july. Not sure if it’s completely off the table, I would still definitely participate, even as a past reader.


Honestly I think the controversies surrounding the series is greatly exaggerated and people don’t get that its essentially what if the roles were reversed and the girl teased the boy she liked. Its basically a PG version of 高木さん.


tbf, 高木 got complained too, but somehow it survived. (It concerned me a little as well.)


I honestly had forgotten about potentially nominating it. I personally have no problems having it as a nomination, though I don’t know that I want more than 2 of my own nominations going at once. :sweat_smile:

With that in mind, though, putting it to a vote probably wouldn’t be the worst thing, simply because it does skirt the line of being NSFW (in the first volume, at the very least) and is doing so in a way that can make light of some situations that could make folks uncomfortable.

Should Nagatoro-san be allowed to be a nomination? (Votes are anonymous!)

  • Yes
  • No

0 voters


I just discovered that part of Ruri Dragon has 25 minutes of official voice-over on YouTube, and it’s super fun to watch:

(Part 2, Part 3, part 4)


Hey! I’m hoping to join the club for the next book, but I’m confused about the voting process. If I vote that a book would be a higher difficulty for me, does that hurt its chances of getting picked?

My reading level is low enough that I’m marking things Moderate, but I’m up for the challenge, and I don’t want it to penalize books that I’m genuinely interested in.


This is just a gentle nudge to any of the folks here who might be newer to the club, or reading in general:

Voting in the difficulty polls really helps us determine whether a pick would be a good fit for the club. As it stands, most of the votes for recent picks heavily weigh in the direction of labeling the picks as super easy, but they are also mostly from names and faces I recognize from both this club and higher-level clubs, so it’s sort of a false positive in that sense. :joy:

If you are still in the earliest stages of your journey, I really want to hear your voice and see your thoughts on the nominations, because ultimately, this club is for you.

Many of us who still are nominating and voting and discussing nominations are here because we want to help folks get a leg up while reading. Speaking personally, many of the nominations in the ABBC at this point are well below my level of difficulty in terms of what I can read and tackle, but I’m here because I know that being around more experienced readers was how I got my footing and was able to dive headfirst into reading, and I want to pay it forward, so to speak!

My votes in the difficulty polls are pretty much just intended to spark people to vote (when you see 0 people voting, it gives the implication that you don’t need to, after all), and I actually completely disregard my vote when I calculate out the difficulty rating for the final poll, but if I were to hold that standard up to the folks who I know are capable of reading at a similar level to me, we would effectively have only a single vote currently (thank you for voting! We need that!)

Anyway, my rambling aside, I just want to encourage people to vote in the difficulty polls, and also to bring out the point that as of right now, if you are feeling discouraged because you see something that would be difficult for you being rated super easy and are having doubts about whether you are ready for the club because of that, to not pay too much heed to how those votes look at the moment! :grin:

Great question! No, rating a book as a higher difficulty for you does not hurt its chances in the poll (just take a look at our most recent picks to see that in action. They are the two hardest picks we have ever had in the club, and they both won handily). The only time that I would take difficulty into account as potentially disqualifying a pick would be if I start to see a huge amount of “So much effort my head would explode”. That would indicate to me that maybe the pick is too high of a level for the club. And even that, I would likely put into a poll before removing it.

The idea behind the difficulty polls is purely to try and let us roughly average out a number for what that difficulty might be in comparison to all of the current picks in the club, so that when we go in for our final vote, we can see a scale of difficulty ranging from 1 to 5, and get sort of a side-by-side to try and inform people’s votes a bit more.


Thank you! That’s a really helpful explanation. I definitely did a double-take when I saw how many people marked them as Minimal Effort, and I was questioning whether I was in the right thread.

Maybe have a Helper/Senior Member option in the poll? That might keep the polls looking active, but not be quite as scary.

I’m super excited to join!


Something like that might not be a bad idea for sure! I’ve been trying to workshop some ideas on how to improve the difficulty polls a bit because I’ve noticed that they just don’t seem to drum up much participation sometimes, especially in comparison to our nomination polls. :sweat_smile:

I do understand they are bit more work, so to speak, since one has to look at the preview images and read to get a general idea of how difficult it might be. Ironically, the people for whom it is easiest to read thus are more likely to vote in the polls.

It’s far less a commitment for me to read through the first few pages of ルリドラゴン than for somebody who is just starting out reading. What takes me a couple of minutes might take someone else ten. So I understand that it can be a little bit harder to vote in them. Not really sure there is a way around that bit of it though. :sweat_smile:


On the topic of scary: The beginner book club is currently voting on what to read next. If you want to try more challenging stuff or just read more in general, check it out!


Wait what. Damn that sucks I hope he gets well soon.


ギャルと恐竜(きょうりゅう)・Gal & Dino


We’ve all been there—a couple drinks too many, and a hazy wander back to your home, where you wake up wondering how you got there. But in Kaede’s case, not only was she not sure how she got home … she wasn’t sure how the dinosaur got there, either! The two are soon fast friends, but though their personalities jive, they’ll have to learn how to communicate in order to live peacefully together! (Source: Kodansha US)


Physical: amazon.co.jpamazon.comCDJapanKinokuniya USA

Digital: AmazonKoboBOOK☆WALKER

Personal Opinion

I love the humor of the dinosaur learning about the world and the people around it being kind and accepting in return. Misunderstandings and hilarity ensues! This also gives a good setup to learn a bit about Japanese culture (although I guess this goes for a lot of slice-of-life manga).

I think the difficulty is right for the club. I haven’t read the whole thing, but it starts off fairly easy. Glancing ahead there are a few parts with longer sentences but nothing seems too hard for an ABBC book. The Natively level is 18.

I think it has a good chance of holding people’s interest, even for multiple volumes, but I admit the type of humor may not be for everyone.

The biggest downside is that it may be hard to find a physical copy. Amazon.co.jp has one copy left and amazon.com only has used copies. CDJapan and Kinokuniya are sold out. If anybody finds a better place to buy it, I can edit this post to add it.

Pros and Cons for the Book Club


  • Furigana
  • Page numbers!
  • Natively level 18
  • 7 volumes released (I can’t tell if it’s a completed series, sources are conflicting)
  • Anime adaptation (12 episodes) for listening practice


  • Some people may not enjoy the type of humor
  • Hard to find a physical copy


First Three Pages of Chapter One

Additional Pages (the rest of chapter 1)

Bookwalker Preview (first 2 chapters)

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


On that note, I think for nominations after this run, I will add this option for difficulty polls:

“I am an experienced reader, so this is not much effort for me.”

What does everyone think of that wording? Would it help take the edge off for some of the beginners to see it made clear where those votes are coming from?


Looking forward to the day, I can vote for this option :upside_down_face:


“I am an experienced reader, so this is not much effort for me.”

As someone who was looking into the Absolute Beginners club… I think that option would be wonderful. I was happy with my moderate effort for Ruri Dragon and when i voted and saw a bunch of minimals I went ‘ope’. However I’m looking forward to diving head first into a bunch of stuff that I dont know so I wasn’t personally put off by a bunch of minimal efforts.


I look forward to no longer being this guy:


You’ve been making good progress, so that day will sneak up on you before you know it! :grin:

Thank you for the feedback!

Before stepping into the role of organizing (and thus just being able to throw my own vote away so I didn’t impact the results), I was definitely that guy also. :joy:

So far, sounds like it will be a good option for everyone! Glad to hear!

Great idea @quilltips, and thanks for helping me refine the wording @TobiasW. :grin:


As a side note, I think something that is “moderate effort” probably leads to the best book club experience - enough challenge to learn lots of new things, but not so hard that it becomes stressful. So just ignore all of us minimals from other book clubs, “moderate effort” is a really good level to read at!