Amazon’s old shipping policy was 350 yen per book flat price, whereas now it’s weight based. For most items, that’s a huge savings (since it’s usually now only 100-150 yen per manga), but the set would now be 1400 yen because it weighs so much. Just thought that was interesting. This manga was so dense that it was even hard to read in English, so I don’t particularly want to suffer through it in Japanese.
Sōhei Saikawa, an associate professor of architectural engineering, and Moe Nishinosono, the daughter of his mentor, travel to a remote island. While there, the two work together to solve the murders of a prominent artificial intelligence researcher and the director of the lab located on the island.
This is the first book of the renowned writer MORI Hiroshi who was professor of engineering during the start of his writing career; later he decided to become a full-time writer. He has written dozens of books, and his genre is usually called “science mystery”. My hope is that a professor of engineering can get the science aspect across in a convincing way. Especially this book seems to deal with computer stuff quite a bit, so I’m looking forward to finding out how realistic it is and how dated it feels (the book was written in 1996).
The book (which was awarded a prize by the way) is the first of a 10-part series, but I expect that it can be read on its own.
Pros and Cons for the Book Club
Not sure how much people will enjoy it if they don’t like computers and science.
Note: the pages here contain slightly more text than the original pages as I took them from the ebook.
Spice and Wolf’s story revolves around Kraft Lawrence, a 25-year-old traveling merchant who peddles various goods from town to town to make a living in a stylized, fictional world, with a historical setting with European influences. His main goal in life is to gather enough money to start his own shop, and he already has been traveling for seven years while gaining experience in the trade. One night when stopped at the town of Pasloe, he finds in his wagon a wolf-deity named Holo who is over 600 years old. She takes the form of a 15-year-old girl, except for a wolf’s tail and ears. She introduces herself as the town’s goddess of harvest, who has kept it blessed with good harvests of wheat for many years. Holo has experienced increasing isolation and disillusionment at the townpeople’s move away from her protection towards their own methods of increasing the harvest. She is especially hurt at their forgetting of the promise made between her and a farmer when she arrived in the village and their criticism of her as a “fickle god” for needing to replenish the soil with smaller harvests. Because of these changes, she wants to… (skipped the rest to keep the tension )
狼と香辛料 isn’t even over the intermediate book club’s limit! (Though any time we read a book for 20+ weeks it can be frustrating).
So I don’t really bother reading samples or voting in the difficulty polls anymore, but I’m curious how people vote. So far 狼と香辛料 has probably been “moderate effort”, but that “moderate effort” has been to get an okay, but not great, understanding of what’s going on. In order to actually get a deeper understanding of the events I’d have to put in “significant effort”. In that situation, what would you consider the difficulty for me?
(My rough translation)
When my physical condition gets bad, I feel like indulging in the luxury of looking at beautiful things. To be stimulated by fragrances and colors, to put a single a single lemon on a shelf of Maruzen (note: shop name)… While being hurt by reality and fighting against a chronic illness, (the author) recorded 14 short stories including the eponymous masterpiece, displaying a delicate sensitivity.
Length : varies; if we go for the 14 short stories selected by Kadokawa, 276 pages Category : hard
Amazon: the book is here but all stories are available in the public domain Aozora bunko (eponymous story; all others can be found the same way).
I do not know anything about this book or author. I was checking the length of books from 夏目漱石 and 太宰治 on amazon and it just popped up as a recommendation. According to Wikipedia:
“Lemon” is one of Kajii’s few works to have been translated into English. Although he was a relatively unknown writer during his short lifetime who published in a few literary magazines, Kajii’s poetic short stories are recognized today as masterpieces in Japan. The eponymous story “Lemon” is known as his representative work.
I’m pointing specifically at the 角川文庫 collection, so that we all read the same set of short stories
Pros and Cons for the Book Club
Older writing, so may be challenging?
The “poetic” part and mentions of disease in the summary make it sound like it might be on the depressing side. May not be everyone’s cup of tea.
That makes me wonder if the difficulty varies a lot over time. I did not check the additional pages because they were past the 100 pages mark and, well, spoilers I guess, so I don’t know about the rest, but the very beginning didn’t feel bad at all.
To answer your question, I would say “moderate” in that situation, since you can rely on the discussion thread to go further.
TBH I don’t really know what the true limit of the Intermediate book club should be as I have posts in mind like this:
but I guess the current consensus is more like
Apart from that, I would probably not nominate Spice and Wolf in the Intermediate club because of its difficulty - I tried to read it about a year ago (I guess around the time when or shortly after we read Kino in the club) but I found it way too hard. So I still think it’s a better nomination for a fast read here than for a struggle there…