It seems like it’s 12 interconnected stories, so hopefully at least the individual chunks are digestable!
And yeah, the summary’s tip-off that the start of the sample was talking about China and the terracotta army helped me contextualize the difficult vocab. It seems like maybe if you can track whatever specific topic he’s digging into it might not be too bad, but otherwise, who knows…
I noticed it’s even got a 引用 ・ 参考文献 section at the back…
English (technically of the manga adaptation but I'm not sure it matters)
Hitomi Hirosuke enters the Showa era as a poor novelist dreaming of leaving his mark on the world. His latest story is rejected by his editor but Hitomi finds a new way to make his dream a reality. A school friend, a wealthy, rural family head, dies suddenly. Hitomi, who has always bared a striking resemblance to his former friend, concocts a plan to “resurrect” Genzaburo Komoda and take his place. He plans to use the Komoda fortune to realize his dream; constructing an island paradise of excess and debauchery.
Length: My copy is 136 pages or so Category: Hard (it’s from the 1920s)
I wanted to nominate an Edogawa Ranpo book for the club, and this is a standalone novel of about the right length that’s the highest on my priorities list of stuff to read by him. I’m pretty sure hearing about the manga adaptation is how Ranpo came onto my radar in the first place, and the afterword in a Ranpo collection I read talked quite a bit about Panorama Island as well.
I haven’t read this particular book yet, but Ranpo in general seems like a great fit for the book club, since his writing can be complex but gripping.
Pros and Cons for the Book Club
Prominent standalone work from a major author of mysteries and horror
There’s a gorgeous-looking manga adaptation
a good length, pre-divided into short chunks
one site calls it a 幻想的でおどろおどろしい世界を描いた不思議な物語 which sounds cool
Ranpo’s writing can tend to be lurid, and reading a little deeper into the synopsis than what I posted, it sounds like it could be pretty messed up in places. It might not be for everyone in the book club, especially without someone having read it already to provide exact content warnings.
It’s possible there’s other Ranpo books out there that could be a better fit.
Hey hey! I can join if you folks point me toward an English translation, at this point I still require “training wheels” to read, I read in both languages side-by-side and sloooowwwwwllllyyyyy, and if you accept me I will have hundreds of questions for the next 2-3 books, but after that I think I’ll be able to mostly read like ABC regulars. I’m going for the trial-by-fire approach.
I have no nominations, and for voting, I’m open to bribery peer recommendations
Haaaa yes I remember that. I didn’t realize it was the same author. I’ve updated my vote to “significant effort” then >_<
Reading various reviews, it seems that the writing style itself is fairly straightforward (several people say it’s 読みやすい), but the content, the story or lack thereof, is difficult to understand. Probably not for everyone, but a lot of people seem to enjoy it regardless.
Some quotes from amazon/bookmeter reviews highlighting the difficulty
Yeah I think so, but there’s a template in the wiki post at the top of the thread that’s copy-and-pastable, which made it pretty easy!
Worth noting though, it looks like there’s already a work by Mishima that’s been nominated (here) and is active for a vote, 午後の曳航. I don’t know that that precludes nominating another, but it might inform your decision to nominate or not nominate.
That might be a bigger issue If it really classifies as “hard” (meaning ~15 pages per week), that would take us ~26 weeks which we should avoid at all cost. Maybe we could get used to the writing and increase the speed after a while, but I would not want to bet on it. Therefore I think it might be safer to read his shorter book 午後の曳航 first in order to get to know his writing style
I’ll be posting our next poll tonight (maybe in 12 hours roundabout) so if anybody wants to nominate anything, it’s last orders now!
And everybody: please don’t forget to rate the difficulties of the books, especially the new ones
Looks like it’s time to think about our next book club pick!
Please 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 difficult that 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 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 September 18th (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 .
I think the voting activity has pretty much died down by now, and so I would like to declare the winner of our poll: 乳と卵 !
This book is very short (133 pages), and as it is a modern book, I think that we can read it quite fast.
For participation information and schedule discussion, please see its home thread:
where I’ve already suggested a reading schedule.
If we follow this schedule, we will need to vote again before we even started reading that book, and so I would like to adopt the Beginner Book Club’s rule that when a short book wins, the book in second place is read right after it without another voting process.
Sounds good? The only drawback is that in our case we have a tie in second place
Therefore, please help me decide which of the two second-place books to pick as our second-place winner! Everybody gets only one vote (for hopefully obvious reasons ).
To be honest if I were to vote for one it would probably be Genocidal Organ out of not wanting something I nominated to supercede something that was already nominated for a long time (especially by my own vote), and also because it would be funny if this poll tied again, but I maintain staunch neutrality on this one!