Advanced Japanese Book Club // Now reading: 薬屋のひとりごと - Next: 海辺のカフカ

You’re right, I shouldn’t judge. It’s probably written 球磨菜野.

3 Likes

I have that book and it’s somehow also one of the two I considered nominating if I felt like nominating any books… so I’m pretty surprised to suddenly see it nominated anyway. Less work for me :slight_smile:

6 Likes

It means that there’s an L too much there. :slight_smile:

3 Likes

The other book I was thinking of is 352 pages and you almost had me considering nominating it for intermediate instead since it’s another fast and easy, and just within the stated limit of 350. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

4 Likes

I made a recommendation in the Intermediate club as well, so いいの!

3 Likes

Moving away from the heavy stuff for a bit :slight_smile:

すべてがFになる - THE PERFECT INSIDER

Author: 森 博嗣 (もりひろし)

Summary

Japanese

孤島のハイテク研究所で、少女時代から完全に隔離された生活を送る天才工学博士・真賀田四季。彼女の部屋からウエディング・ドレスをまとい両手両足を切断された死体が現れた。偶然、島を訪れていたN大助教授・犀川創平と女子学生・西之園萌絵が、この不可思議な密室殺人に挑む。新しい形の本格ミステリィ登場。

English

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.

Length: 524 pages
Category: easy&fast

Availability

Amazon
Bookwalker

Personal Opinion

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

Pros

  • Popular book
  • Popular author
  • Mystery novel

Cons

  • Not sure how much people will enjoy it if they don’t like computers and science.

Pictures

Note: the pages here contain slightly more text than the original pages as I took them from the ebook.

First Three Pages of Chapter One


Additional Pages


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

8 Likes

I voted for the language I could see in the example pages, but my lack of science knowledge might very well make this a much more difficult read. :thinking:

Come to think of it, the same is true for a lot of these. Oh well. :upside_down_face:

4 Likes

I’d expect us to have nice discussions around the science bits if things turn out to be that hard to understand :upside_down_face:

5 Likes

Enough of the hard stuff? Here is a book candidate for you!

狼と香辛料 (Spice and Wolf)

Author: 支倉 凍砂 (はせくらいすな)

Summary

Japanese

行商人のロレンスは、馬車の荷台で麦の束に埋もれて眠る少女を見つける。 少女は狼の耳と尾を持つ美しい娘で、自らを豊作を司る神・ホロと名乗った。 「わっちは神と呼ばれたがよ。わっちゃあ、ホロ以外の何者でもない」 まるで経験を積んだ大人のような話し方で、ロレンスを巧みに翻弄する少女。 「お前は、本当に神なのか?」 最初は半信半疑だったロレンスも、やがてホロが旅に同行することを承諾する。 そんなふたりの旅に、思いがけない儲け話が舞い込んでくる。 近い将来、ある銀貨が値上がりするという噂。 疑いながらも、ロレンスはその儲け話に乗るのだが……。

English from Wikipedia

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.[6] 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 :wink: )

Length: 329 pages
Category: fast&easy

Availability

Amazon
BookWalker

Personal Opinion

It’s a very popular light novel series among forum members, so I would like to read it as well.

Pros and Cons for the Book Club

Pros

  • Light novel, so it should be an easy read contents-wise
  • Contains a lot of economics vocab, I was told
  • Long series (vol. 17 is called “Epilogue” but then there are 5 more volumes after that, the most recent of which was released in Dec. 2019)

Cons

  • Long series, still ongoing

Pictures

(The pages are taken from the ebook but they seem to match the real pages rather well, judging from the number of pages in the ebook.)

First Three Pages of Chapter One

序幕:


第一幕:

Additional Pages


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

10 Likes

I just started reading this last week, and it can be quite challenging at times. I always get the gist of what’s going on, but sometimes the sentences can be roundabout and confusing.

4 Likes

Checks current nominations

Category 1: easier reading, faster pace
86―エイティシックス―
本好きの下剋上
くま クマ 熊 ベアー
マスカレード・ホテル
容疑者Xの献身
風の谷のナウシカ
海辺のカフカ(上)
騎士団長殺し 第1部
すべてがFになる
Category 2: harder reading, slower pace
雪国
午後の曳航

:thinking:

This should be the “we could read hard stuff but let’s face it we just want to have a good time” club.

19 Likes

Are you saying you want more hard stuff?

checks bookshelf

6 Likes

Them’s fightin’ words. Put up your dukes nominations!
Checks own bookshelf

10 Likes

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?

1 Like

檸檬 (角川文庫)

Author : 梶井基次郎

Summary

Japanese

私は体調の悪いときに美しいものを見るという贅沢をしたくなる。香りや色に刺激され、丸善の書棚に檸檬一つを置き–。現実に傷つき病魔と闘いながら、繊細な感受性を表した代表作など14編を収録。

English

(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

Availability

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).

Personal Opinion

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 :joy:

Pros and Cons for the Book Club

Pros

  • Public domain!
  • Older writing, so may be challenging?

Cons

  • 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.

Pictures “Sample” (aka the whole thing)

Again, public domain

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

3 Likes

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. :thinking:

3 Likes

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

:woman_shrugging:

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…

4 Likes

*sees Naph put “significant effort” so voting “so much effort my head might explode”*

13 Likes

The first paragraph wasn’t that bad so I’d probably have put like moderate effort - but then I saw that! :joy:

I should probably read some more before voting.

4 Likes

クォンタムデビルサーガ アバタールチューナーⅠ

(Quantum Devil Saga - Avatar Tuner 1)
Author : 五代ゆう (Godai Yuu)

Summary

Japanese

荒廃の地ジャンクヤードでは、勝利者を楽園へ迎え入れると説く〈カルマ教会〉の支配の下、
6つのトライブがいつ果てるとも知れぬ戦いを続けていた。
しかし、そんなトライブのひとつ〈エンブリオン〉のサーフらが交戦中、
謎の蕾と黒髪の少女セラに遭遇した刹那、世界の掟は根本から覆される。
彼らは状況を探るべく抗戦相手の本拠地を訪れるが、そこで悪魔の力が発動し……

English

In the post-apocalyptic Junkyard, a mysterious religious order known only as the Church watches over the brutal competition between warring tribes as they vie to unify six territories and thereby gain access to Nirvana, the promised land. In the wake of one particularly unusual battle, Serph, the leader of the upstart Embryon tribe, rescues a strange girl and discovers that he and his fellow fighters have gained the ability to transform into terrifying demon warriors. But these new abilities, along with this enigmatic girl named Sera, threaten to upend the balance of power not only in the Junkyard, but within the Embryon itself. Avatar Tuner, Vol. I opens the Quantum Devil Saga, a series inspired by the Shin Megami Tensei video games, which are widely popular in their native Japan and have gained a considerable following in the West. Translated into English for the first time, experience the story of Serph and his tribe as they fight not only to win, but to understand the supernatural forces that govern the Junkyard.

Length : 372 pages
Category : probably fast&easy

Availability

amazon.co.jp
eBook available

Personal Opinion

So I’m a big Shin Megami Tensei fan, and I heard about this series way back. It’s written by Godai Yuu, one of the scriptwriters for the Digital Devil Saga series of games. She unfortunately had to leave the project before finishing, but her contract apparently allowed her to write her own DDS novels, so she did, writing the story how she wanted, unconstrained by the needs of being a video game. Godai is originally a novelist, so no worries there.

This is not a novelization of the DDS games; the story line starts to diverge quite a bit even in book one (of five), for those familiar with the original games.

I’ve read the first two books of this series in English (the rest not having been translated…); it, like the video games, is couched in Hindu and Buddhist terminology and concepts. The book’s not super philosophical or anything, but there will almost certainly be names and proper nouns thrown around.

Pros and Cons for the Book Club

Pros

  • If you’re a fan of the Digital Devil Saga games, this is written by one of the games’ initial scriptwriters
  • Modern Japanese
  • Sci-fi/fantasy
  • There’s an English version (though it appears to be out of print…)
  • There are four more books if you like this one
  • Probably going to be some religious, specifically Hindu and Buddhist, terminology to learn

Cons

  • Probably going to be some religious, specifically Hindu and Buddhist, terminology to learn
  • The books revolve around characters turning into demons and eating each other; I don’t remember the descriptions being too over the top or anything, but slight content warning there
  • Sci-fi/fantasy if you don’t like the genres
  • This being book one of five, expect cliffhangers and such

Pictures/Sample

Bookwalker sample

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

4 Likes