Advanced Japanese Book Club (Now reading: パノラマ島綺譚)

We also lose 藪の中・将軍 for lack of interest, and 騎士団長殺し is now on its last strike.

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Here is the home thread for our newest pick:

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I somehow feel sad about losing titles in the hard section. We have so few of those. :sob:

I’m really happy we’ll read this one now.

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I see what you mean… On the other hand, if nobody is really interested in them, it doesn’t help either I think :woman_shrugging:

We should simply add some more popular and hard books to the list :wink:

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Yes, of course, and I don’t disagree with the decision to remove them.

Or your solution. :eyes:

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Just a quick heads up for those of you who like to read some classics: The Beginner Book Club will read short stories by Ogawa Mimei from Aug 28th :slight_smile:
The author is known as the founder of modern children’s literature in Japan.
Of course the reading speed will be very slow (given it’s the Beginner Book Club), but as the short stories are independent from each other, it should not matter too much if you need to wait for the next week. (Or if you don’t wait at all :upside_down_face:)

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A quick heads up for those interested in Bakemonogatari:

Maybe you’d like to hop over there and read the book with that group?

Having said that, I’m not sure whether it makes much sense if we have the book nominated here and also have an informal reading thread (although at a different speed) over there :thinking:
@d-hermit what do you think?

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Given the recent voting results doesn’t look like the book club will read Bakemonogarari any time soon.

But that’s a different book. I don’t think it makes sense to have a book club thread for Nisioisin because he wrote plenty of books.

Oh, I see! Sorry for the confusion :slight_smile:

Made an auspicious trip to my local Book Off today. ¥110 each :wink: :joy:

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Looks like you’re well prepared for everything that there is to come :joy_cat:

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I made a trip to the one Japanese bookstore in Paris. I was hopeful they’d have 人間失格, since it’s such a classic, and they did! But no such luck for Doctors in Isolated Room, although they had a few other books from the same author. I’m gonna have to order it from amazon jp. I should probably get on the ebook bandwagon but I don’t have an e-reader, and I like having the books on my shelf like trophies, as long as I have space for them…

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Picked this up at a Kinokuniya in Tokyo a few years back. It will be nice to finally read it!

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Just a quick reminder for everybody that today is the Advanced Book Club’s 1st Birthday! :tada: :birthday: :clinking_glasses:

I must say I’m really happy how it developed so far, with so many interesting picks from different areas and genres, and a lot of exciting proposals being lined up!

Plus, we will celebrate this birthday by kicking off reading 人間失格 this weekend - stay tuned and join in!

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Ohh :partying_face:

s-l400

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For those of you who are still contemplating joining the youngest book club spinoff 冷たい密室と博士たち (or who have not read the main book すべてがFになる yet), the whole series is currently discounted (as in, pay less money when buying) on Bookwalker (and probably elsewhere as well?)

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Only one year? How has it only been one year?

Did we really only start the Advanced Book Club after the Sickness?

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Feels like it has been here forever, right? That’s what I like so much about it.

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Although we’ve just extended the reading schedule of our current pick by one week, it’s already time to think about the next book for this club! (With the usual one-week break, the next book is due to start on September 18th.)

We currently have 14 nominations (11 “fast” ones and 3 “hard” ones) so we are in a very good position. Still, there is room for some more proposals - fire away if you have ideas for nice book club picks!

I’m planning to start the next poll on August 5th. But if you want to nominate a book and absolutely can’t make the time before that, please drop me a note and we can see about it.

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I’m enjoying so far kind of belatedly (in more ways than one) participating in a book club, so there’s a couple of books I think I’d like to nominate:

文字渦

Author: 円城塔 (Toh EnJoe)

Summary

Japanese

昔、文字は本当に生きていたのだと思わないかい?
――秦の始皇帝の兵馬俑から発掘された三万の漢字「文字渦」
――硯のうえで文字を闘わせる、いにしえの言語遊戯「闘字」
――漢字の領土争いにルビの反乱! Unicode宇宙大戦「誤字」
――さらには、恐ろしい大量殺字事件までもが起こり「幻字」

English

(I couldn’t find an English summary so this is just my attempt at translating the Japanese summary)

Long ago, characters were really alive, don’t you think?
– 30,000 kanji excavated from the first Qin emperor’s Terra Cotta Army “文字渦”
– characters made to battle on an inkstone, an ancient word game “闘字”
– Kanji’s fight for territory - Ruby’s resistance! Unicode Space Battle “誤字”
– Furthermore, it even goes so far as horrific mass “litercide” “幻字”

Length: my copy is about 300 pages even, bookwalker has 348
Category: probably hard, not due to age but difficulty

Availability

amazon.co.jp
Bookwalker

Personal Opinion

This is next in one of my queues - I think I found it by looking for past SF award winners. It sounds extremely interesting, and also basically impossible to fully translate, so I’m super curious about it.
I also think it would be funny to read a book about characters on a site for learning characters. That could help mitigate the hard-looking parts since it’s a topic we’re clearly all interested in.

Pros and Cons for the Book Club

Pros

  • It’s about 文字 so it would be extra appropriate to read on this site.
  • Won the 日本SF大賞, a major Japanese science-fiction prize
  • Seems like it’s neatly divided into 12 episodes of some sort, so portioning weeks might be easy.

Cons

  • The topic and style might make it hard to read. I suspect it’s loaded with references (esp. tech/science ones) that might be hard to get, and interesting but confusing subversions of how characters are normally used.
  • Wikipedia quotes someone about the author: “His complicated narrative structures are the subject of heated discussions and have even evoked harsh reviews calling his work ‘indigestible’, ‘sleep-inducing,’ and ‘reader-unfriendly’” so… there’s that.
  • A bit on the long side for something I can’t 100% vouch for (since I haven’t read it yet).
  • I don’t think there is (or possibly even could be?) an English translation.

Pictures

First Three Pages of Chapter One



Additional Pages

Given the subject matter, there’s ample opportunity for playful textual things, and flipping through the physical copy shows unusual things like these:


Difficulty Poll

How much effort would you need to read this book?

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

0 voters

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