Advanced Japanese Book Club // Now reading: 海辺のカフカ・Next: 狼と香辛料

If it’s easy enough, it could potentially be a three week read then? 40 pages a week?

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Also, these are some other books I have on my shelf that I could nominate. If there’s any preliminary interest, I can make a proper nomination thread.

限りなく透明に近いブルー
Author: 村上龍
(Another Akutagawa Prize winner about sex and drugs, very short, 18+)
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道草
Author: 夏目漱石
(Autobiographical tale of financial and romantic struggle from the famous author, long and probably difficult)
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珍名ばかりが狙われる連続殺人鬼ヤマダの息子
Author: 黒川慈雨
(Long title, goofy premise, possibly a fun summer mystery?)
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Well I’m not very experienced in the usual pacing of the book club, but I read it in 4 days (next to work, etc.), and in the first post I see that 40 is within the aim, so I think 3 weeks is totally doable.

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This book is certainly something! If anyone’s interested, I can give some more details about the cw. :slight_smile:

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Just a quick heads up that I will start the poll probably around 2022-04-14T16:00:00Z so if anybody wants to get another nomination in :upside_down_face:

@Jfredel78 I‘d definitely be up for reading the first book (have it sitting on my shelf actually ^^). Not sure about the second one as I‘m still struggling with older texts (but that shouldn’t keep you from nominating it!) and the third one indeed sounds like a silly funny mystery :smiley:

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I couldn’t manage to set up the poll yesterday evening (I’m just sooo busy holidaying right now :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:) but here it is:

It’s a Poll!!

Have a look at the List of Proposed Books section in the first post for details on each book. Every book has a difficulty associated with it (based on the book club members’ votes, thus subjective) out of 5, where 1 means “no effort at all” and 5 means “so much effort my head might explode”. The difficulty is annotated in the poll in square brackets after the book’s name.

Do not rely solely on difficulty when making a choice. Please have a look at the nomination posts and text samples if you haven’t already.

Expected reading pace: The proposals fall into two categories, Fast and Hard. We aim to read fast books at 30-50 pages per week and hard books at ~15 pages per week (that number might vary a bit throughout, depending on the book’s breaks and chapters). For manga, depending on difficulty and chapter length, we will probably read one to several chapters per week. The pick’s exact reading schedule will be negotiated before the book club kicks off.

Start of Book Club: We will start the next book on May 28th (after a one-week break).

Poll duration: The poll will be closed within a week (and most likely before that), whenever it looks like voting has dried up. You can choose up to 5 options.

  • Fast: 86―エイティシックス― [2.67]
  • Fast: クォンタムデビルサーガ アバタールチューナーⅠ [3.29]
  • Fast: 狼と香辛料 [2.67]
  • Fast: マスカレード・ホテル [1.89]
  • Fast: 風の谷のナウシカ [3.13]
  • Fast: 海辺のカフカ (上) [2.36]
  • Fast: 化物語(上) [2.8]
  • Fast: 虐殺器官 - Genocidal Organ [3]
  • Fast: ユージニア [2.25]
  • Fast: 蛇にピアス [2.33]
  • Hard: 檸檬 [3.6]
  • Hard: 風立ちぬ [3]
  • Hard: 午後の曳航 [3]
  • Hard: 文字渦 [3.86]

0 voters

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I’m a bit torn if I should remove my vote for Masquerade Hotel, since there is no e-book, and haven’t really found an affordable way to get it :melting_face:. Probably going to read it at some point, and been reading a lot of Keigo anyway lately…

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Thanks for pointing it out, I had missed it. I removed my vote for the same reason.
The lack of an ebook version is a problem for me. :neutral_face:

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I was actually a bit hesitant on that one just because I’m about 2/3 of the way through the movie version (I’ll finish it eventually :sweat_smile: ) and was worried about not being able to discuss as much since I might know some spoilers.

On the note of no ebook though I went to check what books he does have in ebook form and oh man - プラチナデータ was a fun movie adaptation. But honestly for how prolific of an author he is, he has so few in ebook form.

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Yeah, that’s really annoying, sorry for that :frowning: Some authors just don’t seem to like ebooks.

Luckily Murakami made up his mind about 18 months ago or something and released all of his books as ebooks. Therefore you can find the current poll leader here:
海辺のカフカ @ Bookwalker
(I’d like to update the nomination post but unfortunately Discourse won’t let me, grrr :rage:)

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There has not been much movement in the poll any more (and nothing that would change the result, on top of that) so I’m calling it a day.

The winner is 海辺のカフカ !

Will set up a home thread and schedule soon.

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I’ll probably sit this one out because I’ve read it too recently in English, but it’s an excellent book and I envy anyone reading it for the first time.

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Here’s the home thread for our newest pick:

@jhol Sad but understandable! You are of course always welcome to discuss with us anyways. (And maybe help us along with the language :sweat_smile:)

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I read it in my native language a few years ago and it’s one of my favourite Murakami’s books (along with 1Q84), so I relate to @jhol words so much! I don’t know if I would be able to keep up with an ABC anyway (maybe in the future:), but have fun reading!

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More of a general question - if I understand correctly people can nominate a book pretty much whenever and it will be up in the next voting so long as we have 20-or-fewer nominations in total - Is that accurate?

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Yes, that’s correct! If you absolutely want to make sure that it gets into the next voting, then you could add it to the list in the OP already - usually I do that at some point, but I’m waiting for the day where I will overlook one of the nominations :scream: and cause it to be skipped, which would be very very sad. But usually I check at least 3 times or so… :grin:

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Perfect! In that case, here’s my nomination post for something I have on my BookMeter 読みたい list that I think might have wider appeal. Will then add to the list in the OP. :smiley:

感応グラン=ギニョル

Author: 空木 春宵

Summary

Japanese

Taken from Amazon:
昭和初期、浅草六区の片隅に建つ芝居小屋では、夜ごと少女たちによる残酷劇が演じられている。一座の役者は皆、ある特殊な条件のもと集められていた。ある日、容姿端麗で美しい声を持つ新人がやってくる。本来ここには完璧な少女は存在してはいけないはずなのに。その秘密が明らかになるとき、彼女の〈復讐〉が始まる。(「感応グラン=ギニョル」)。分かち合えない痛みや苦しみを抱えて生きる孤独な魂を描く全5編。第2回創元SF短編賞佳作受賞者、待望の書籍デビュー。

English

Chucking the Amazon description into DeepL:
In the early Showa period, a playhouse stands in a corner of Asakusa’s six wards, where cruel plays are performed nightly by young girls. All the actors in the troupe were gathered under certain special conditions. One day, a newcomer with good looks and a beautiful voice arrives. A perfect girl is not supposed to exist in this place. When her secret is revealed, her “revenge” begins. (“Sensou Grand-Guignol”). A total of five stories depicting lonely souls living with pain and suffering they cannot share. The long-awaited book debut of the winner of the 2nd Sogen SF Short Story Award.

Length: 393 pages (per Amazon)
Category: Sci-fi / dystopia-ish?

Availability

amazon.co.jp
bookwalker
booklive
honto (ebook, paper)

Personal Opinion

I read a review of it months ago when challenging myself to read an article everyday and it sounded intriguing. New author, short stories, has excellent reviews, seems like it will make me feel some feels. One of the Amazon reviews said it had cyberpunk vibes and it was 江戸川乱歩 esque.

Pros and Cons for the Book Club

Pros*

  • Short stories tend to be more punchy and interesting
  • Won a prize
  • Widely available in ebook format

Cons*

  • Almost 400 pages and the language seems like it fluctuates in difficulty a bit
  • I have no idea how weird things might get

Pictures

First Three Pages of Chapter One



Additional Pages

Since it’s short stories I just grabbed a short section from the 立ち読み preview here:

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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How’d you manage to get the blank lines in the poll? :joy:

I copied the template over to Notion when I was filling it out (just nicer to not have a draft that long and easy to see everything at once). It probably choked on the formatting somewhere and I didn’t notice when pasting it back :sweat_smile:

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Early heads-up for y’all: We will run our next poll in about a month, so if you stumble across something that might be interesting for this club, please keep it in mind! I will call for an official round of nominations a bit later on, but of course you can nominate books at any point in time. :blush:

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