Beginner Japanese Book Club // Now Reading: シャドーハウス

Sounds like a good idea. Although I wonder if it makes sense to use a range? Like 22-24, 25-27, something like that? It’d deal with the fluctuations and with the fact that the difference between 22 and 23 is pretty arbitrary and negligible.


It’s very useful as a rough guide, certainly. The more data there is about a book the better.
Difficulty ratings are always going to be a little arbitrary and subjective I feel, but that’s okay. For example, having read both Death Note and Ogawa Mimei, I’m a little surprised that the former is rated as more difficult than the latter. With two novels from the Intermediate Book Club under my belt, I still feel that parts of Ogawa Mimei were among the hardest things I’ve read so far.



On top of that I think comparisons between novels and manga are going to be particularly iffy.

I personally find text quantity to be a huge factor, so texts with nominally low grammar difficulty but high text quantity can still be hard for me, even though I can likely work through any individual part in isolation.

For example your recent ABBC nomination I embarrassingly still haven’t been able to read enough to rate it, whenever I try my brain just slides off it >.>


You don’t need to be embarrassed at all, it’s totally relatable. I’m gradually realizing that it really wasn’t a good fit for the ABBC. To be honest, when I first glanced at the sample myself, my impression was that it would be quite hard to read. Text (and kanji) density can do that to you. Then when I actually started reading it, I was so surprised that it flowed more or less naturally that I may have ended up rating it as more simple than it is, exactly because of that difference between expectations and reality. I will also admit that I find reading any kind of sample difficult, because I don’t fully commit to it. I only tend to give the text proper attention when I start reading with the intention of actually reading and not just rating, if that makes sense (it probably doesn’t). :sweat_smile:


The rankings might turn out to be more useful in retrospect for books we’ve read rather than upcoming proposals. It looks like several of the proposals don’t have enough data to give a level yet.

I like the idea that by showing the scores it promotes the website, which will lead to more reviews and more useful data in the future.


The book club for 夜カフェ has started! If you are interested head over to the main thread or directly to the thread for this weeks chapter!

Can one of the regulars change the title to
Beginner Japanese Book Club // Now Reading: 夜カフェ


Done :slight_smile:

Happy reading everybody :+1:


Regarding book choice, I feel like I want something more than a manga, but not a light novel. Perhaps a picture book with some texts that are not in callouts / clouds?

Of course, mangas can be challenging too, but usually not too much. Also, mangas are too easy to be skimmed.

Maybe, books in this category exist, but there aren’t too many, when taking interesting ones into account. Also, what do you call this category? [Book]?


Do you mean something like this but with maybe more text?


Yes. Also, I have seen ones for kindergarteners (who are native).

I think fun factors are what matter most.


Then what you’re looking for are picture books. :slightly_smiling_face: The one I showed above is 絵本佐賀のがばいばあちゃん which is the picture book version of the upcoming book we’re reading in the Intermediate Book Club.

It’s only about 27 pages, and I thought about nominating it in this club (for those who aren’t quite ready to tackle the novel but would like a little peek at it, and we could easily make short work of it), but the problem is these kind of books are only available as oversized hardbacks, and I doubt you could get an ebook version, which might be off-putting to some members.

As for your personal interest, I just searched 絵本おすすめ and found this page of picture book recommendations. You can even sort by age too, so I assume the older the target audience is for, the more kanji will be used. No idea if furigana would be available for the books with older target audience though. The がばいおばあちゃん one was specifically written with the intent of making it accessible to all children, so furigana was included for the little ones.


You could also check out the Doggy Detectives and Kitty Detectives book clubs! They have a bit more text than picture books, but still quite a bit less than 夜カフェ. And loads of pictures.


Hi Guys!

You guys have read a lot of books. I’m looking for another book like 時をかける少女. Or maybe one’s who’s grammar is even a little easier. What I liked about 時をかける少女 is that the words were a little bit of a stretch but I have furigana to fall back on. The grammar was actually a little intense so I wouldn’t mind a little bit easier in that regards. I was looking at Kiki’s or 君の名は. I also have Harry Potter 1 and the audio recordings…

I usually read them with my tutor.

Any help would be lovely!


Of the ones I have read I can highly recommend Kiki and Mysterious Town Beyond the Mist. I think they are both slightly easier than 時をかける少女.

君の名は could also work especially if you have watched the movie since you already have a basis, though it could also be a pitfal of relying to much in previous knowledge. As for Harry Potter I can’t say much since I have only read have of the first book in Japanese.


Have you looked at the current book club pick 夜カフェ? It just started yesterday, and this way you can get input from your tutor as well as from the other club members :smiley:


@Shadowlauch Maybe I’ll just buy them all and put them in order of easiest to hardest and read them in order.

@NicoleRauch I look into how quickly I could get it.


Talking of picture books, while it is not necessarily easier to read, it is harder to lose track than text-only.

I wonder a little if anyone is interested in non-fiction? For example, this one - 講談社 学習まんが 日本の歴史(全20巻) 無料試し読み版 - 実用 講談社:電子書籍試し読み無料 - BOOK☆WALKER -


Edit: This nomination was moved up to the intermediate book club: Link


Spy x Family



In order to maintain the state of peace between the rival nations of Westalis and Ostania, a Westalis agent codenamed “Twilight” is tasked with spying on Donovan Desmond, the leader of an extremist political party within Ostania. However, due to Desmond being notoriously reclusive, the only way Twilight can get close to him is to enroll a child in the same private school as Desmond’s son and pose as their father. To accomplish this, he creates the alias of Loid Forger, adopts a young orphan girl named Anya, and marries a woman named Yor Briar, to create the image of a happy family. However, Yor is in fact a professional assassin, with neither her nor Loid being aware of each other’s true identities. Both of them are also unaware that Anya can read minds, and knows their true professions. Despite these unknown factors, Loid must learn to play the role of the perfect father and husband in order to carry out his mission. (wikipedia)


Physical: Amazon | CD Japan
Digital: Kindle | Bookwalker

Personal Opinion

This has been blowing up all over the internet because of the anime that is currently airing. It is honestly super hillarious, esepcially the daughter Anya has some of the best reaction faces in any manga I have read.

Pros and Cons


  • Popular so hopefully a lot of participants
  • Has an anime so one could read/watch both (to get that sweet listening practice)
  • Furigana
  • Funny & interesting story


  • Pretty hard according to learn natively it is level 30 so just below Death note
  • Also pretty dense


First Three Pages of Chapter One

Additional Pages

Bookwalker preview:


I am kind of the fence if this manga fits this club or if it should be moved up to the intermediate book club I would love to hear your guys’s opinion.


The first chapter especially is quite hard to read through, it is denser than death note here. The grammar itself is a bit easier, but you’re dealing with a cold war setting which reflects back in the vocabulary. Anya parts are considerably easier to read. Series finds a better balance later on, it’s mostly the set up that will be tough.

Based on the response of death note, I would consider it better fitted in intermediate club. That said with the popularity of the series and the anime, I reckon a larger audience is interested in reading it.