Advanced Japanese Book Club // Now reading: 四畳半神話大系 (The Tatami Galaxy)・Next: Nausicaä・Next: マリアビートル

Same honestly. Although I’m at the point where I can somewhat pinpoint which popular authors I probably shouldn’t read due to disliking authors also liked by the same people recommending them, if that makes sense.

Ie, I dislike popular author A’s work. People who loves A also loves B. I should probably not read B.

When the Natively Mystery book club picked 十角館の殺人 a bunch of us read Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None in English beforehand as it was said to be inspired by that book. I listened to the audiobook but most read the text and universally people were saying, “Wow, I read this so fast. I wish I could read in Japanese at this speed” :sob: :upside_down_face:


Yep. I reckon on a page count basis I read between 3 and 4 times faster in English than Japanese, and I don’t feel like my speed in Japanese has increased much either… The other difference is that Japanese is more effort and so I’m much more likely to take a break after 15-20 minutes than if I were reading something in English.


Ah that’s super cool, like a network of recommenders (or rather non-recommenders in this case :rofl:)

The same Japanese friend lent a German book to me (my native tongue, and she is fluent in the language) but admittedly the book was very small and also slim (maybe 150 pages?). When I returned it she asked me how long it took me to read it and after checking my recording I said “3 hours”. I guess she felt the same at that point…


Man, I dream of being able to read that fast in Japanese. On a good reading day, I can read ~500 pages in English, so this snail’s crawl in Japanese is practically torture

The last time I read a JP novel at any sort of regular pace, it was 280 pages and took me 2 months. Although that was the first book I read and that was a year ago. I feel like only my stamina for reading in Japanese has increased since then, and not my actual reading speed, once you’ve factored in the decreased time needed for lookups. I could probably read it in a week of good days now, which is still almost painfully slow for me


I feel this as well of course since I’m not particularly advanced, and I think the latter is a big factor for me. I could easily finish a 200 page English book in 2 days at a leisurely pace, probably within a day if I got really into it. I could never do that for a Japanese book simply because of the mental fatigue. Most recently I finished a 250 page Japanese book in 7 days. A year ago I finished a 275 page Japanese book in 5 days. But those were on the easier side and really caught my interest, and it still took 2-3 times longer than it would in English. If the book is harder but keeps my interest that can drop to 2-3 weeks to finish instead, probably due to mental fatigue. (Let’s ignore the fact that when a book loses my interest it can take 1-2 months or longer…)


From my tracking spreadsheet:

Interest makes a big difference :joy:


Not much has happened in the last 48 hours or so, and the holidays are approaching fast, so I wanted to grab the opportunity and announce our next winner:



It was a hard and just fight and I guess it won righteously - we will see about that! :wink:

@pocketcat Are you willing to run the club for this book?


I’m happy enough people liked my first nomination to put it in second place. Maybe it’ll win next time :slight_smile:


Can do! I think it’s mostly just a matter of copying the templates (polls, rules, etc) and coming up with a schedule that makes sense? So more or less like the Mystery Book club, should be manageable.

I’ll look over the chapters later today and come up with a schedule (or schedules to vote on if necessary) and create the opening post.


Cheers :+1:

Yes, exactly that. The main thing is to create the schedule, and everything else just follows a template basically.

It sounds very interesting! I think I’ll buy it anyways just in case :sweat_smile:


It’s lonely down in sixth place. I’m fine waiting to read 風立ちぬ because it’s probably hard anyway and I’m lazy, but eventually I would like to read it!

Ugh, are you telling me to join a real book club again! Because this one actually seemed interesting. :sweat_smile:

(It’s a bit longer than I would have liked though…)


It’s actually shorter than listed! I did my best to get my iPad to reflect the Amazon kindle page numbers (it’s still off by a few pages, but not much) and the story itself ends on 319 and the rest of bonus artwork seems like.


Nice surprise!

I wonder if it’s actually as difficult as the rating (via one person) on Natively indicates. Seems like it could go either way based on the premise.


I looked into this a smidge, and someone wrote an English review and gave their thoughts on it from the perspective of a Japanese learner. It goes a bit deep into the plot so just linking as an at-your-own-risk for spoilers. I personally skimmed over that part of the review and focused on the later section on difficulty:

This is a challenging book. It’s fun but challenging for a few reasons.

The first, as I mentioned, is the various stories within the main story. These can get a little surreal and it’s hard to keep track of what’s going on and where things are. I found that especially for the fantasy narratives it was hard to get my bearings at times. This might partially be because of how Japanese people write high fantasy is different from how English speakers write fantasy, so it the stories didn’t go the way I was expecting them to.

The second is the Japanese language itself. This novel uses a lot of JLPT N1+ kanji and vocabulary, and even makes up a few character/place names and terms.

It also likes to use more uncommon kanji. Such as in the blurb of the book, 書物の蒐集家 (しょもつのしゅうしゅうか) which means “book collector” but the author used 蒐集家 instead of 収集家.

With the diverse narratives there are also some diverse specializations of terminology related to shrines, curses and spells, machinery, guns and more. (They make sense in context!)

This is a great book for advanced readers who love books, especially fantasy, and want to try a new challenge!

Edit: Actually that person’s username is the same as the person on Natively. A shame they didn’t leave that context as a review on the Natively site


I guess none of that is surprising. I noticed the 蒐集家 from the blurb as well! If they made an anime adaption I wonder if it would be like Paprika at all. :laughing:

N1+ kanji don’t bother me at all since I read digitally and like an opportunity to learn new kanji anyway. I’d be more worried about grammar personally…

I wonder what the reviewer meant about Japanese high fantasy being written differently from English. I’ve read some Japanese fantasy, but I’m not sure I’d consider any high fantasy. Maybe 本好きの下剋上 given how complex the narrative gets in later arcs. But if that counts I’d consider it similar to fantasy series I’ve read in English anyway.


I looked at some japanese reviews and saw that as well. “主軸の話ともう一つの世界の話がごっちゃになる瞬間もあって、何回か読み戻す場面もあった。”
A lot of people also complain there’s too much fantasy (eg “ファンタジーが過ぎて、自分の想像力が全くついていかなかった…”) but I’m less worried about that.
N1 grammar/stuff kanji doesn’t sound scary either :muscle: I’ve seen 蒐集家 before in 刀語 I think.


I’ve been slacking in my grammar studies for far too long now. :confounded:


Well it seems like we’ll have something to talk about then at least :smiley:


Post is open! この本を盗む者は 📚 🪄 (Advanced Book Club)

I did my best with the schedule but there are very few breaks to work with that actually have the star dividers so I had to rely on the less obvious narrative breaks (seen by extra spaces / paragraph breaks).

All in all though I think it should be ok? Please let me know if any thoughts or concerns, this is my first time running an ABC pick.


Yeah, it’s not my kind of book, but it definitely seems like a book club is the right environment in which to read it.