Beginner Japanese Book Club // Now Reading: Ogawa Mimei: Collection of Children's Stories

I’d love to read more books in a club environment, but I also know I’m not exactly the target membership of a beginner’s book club so I think I should temper my input.

That aside though, I think an important thing to point out is that because books take a lot more mental energy, motivation is a lot more important. 時をかける少女 is something of a rare example because it has super broad appeal - a lot of people already owned it before the club started! Finding more like that might be difficult. On a personal level, I know I could probably read one volume of whatever manga even if I don’t care, but read an entire SAO light novel? Uhhhhh nnnoooooo?
(Not hating on the many people here who ARE reading SAO)


@SleepyOne Admittedly I haven’t done much research either. Here are some books I’ve considered reading and their page lengths.

Book # of Pages
キノの旅 238
ペンギン・ハイウェイ 368/387 (depending on version)
ココロコネクト 313
魔法少女育成計画 284
霧のむこうのふしぎな町 216
獣の奏者 326/360 (depending on version)

I think 200-400 pages will be pretty standard for a Japanese book. Funny thing is, I’m used to reading books that are 500-1000 pages in English. :joy:


I wonder if there’s anything in the public domain that’s not some old hard-to-read folk tale. :thinking:

I’ve seen キッチン recommended as a beginner book and amazon says it has 200 pages

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I voted for that to be added to FloFlo but alas it did not win :pensive:

Maybe next month! Or if the intermediate book club reads it or something :stuck_out_tongue:


Uh-oh… checks calendar

Totally agree with you, I also prefer written text to manga.

For me it is just the other way around :wink: Manga texts are oral speech only, and as such they are the way people speak: slurred, slang, incomplete sentences and so on (especially Yotsuba :wink: ). I find that much harder to understand.

So, having said that… I would like to nominate:

おおかみこどもの雨と雪 Light Novel, slice of life ebookwalker
It’s about a young student who falls in love with a werewolf (he’s really nice though) - they have two children (called 雨 and 雪) together and the story is basically about the children growing up. Which is slightly more exciting than raising “normal” human children…
The book is 2nd place in the FloFlo wishlist, so maybe the vocab list will be available there at some point… :wink:

And, @QuackingShoe, what about nominating the book we recently discussed in the FloFlo thread? I would be interested to read that one.

Finally, to embrace all the manga lovers out there, I might make up my mind to nominate the キノの旅 manga… ebookwalker
There seem to be only 3 manga in the series, so there’s hope we won’t get stuck on that one for eternity…


I think “old hard-to-read folk tale” is literally the reason why it’s in the public domain :wink:

At least in Germany it takes 70 years for the author’s rights to be removed, and so books won’t be able to enter the public domain before that period. (Don’t know about the rest of the world, though.)

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Please make your nomination using the format in the first post.

Also, since we have already nominated the キノの旅 light novel, I think we should avoid the manga. I think it would get too confusing.

Ooh, I like the wolf children nomination. Nice idea.

And, noooo waaayyy on 沙弥香. I was wrong. I’ve actually been looking for some opportunity to say so without derailing somewhere. I said in the flo flo thread that it seemed pretty easy, judging by the first few pages. It was a trap.
Usually I consider the first few pages to be some of the hardest in a book (because of all the narrative setup they tend to do), but not this time. I’m still reading it and enjoying it, but I wouldn’t recommend it for here at all.

Side note: every author has their favorite words, like ぼんやり in 時をかける少女. For that reason, I will now never forget 一瞥. 一瞥 everywhere. There is no ちらっと, only 一瞥.


Ugh, おおかみこどもの雨と雪 is long too. 244 pages.


Light novel, slice-of-life


It’s about a young student who falls in love with a werewolf (he’s really nice though) - they have two children (called 雨 and 雪) together and the story is basically about the children growing up. Which is slightly more exciting than raising “normal” human children…

Availability - this is the version with furigana but there are others as well

Personal Opinion

Pros and Cons for the Book Club


  • I’ve watched the anime some time ago, and while I did not really understand much back then, I recognized quite a number of the words. To find out more about the difficulty level, I just read the first two pages, and I’d say they were definitely simpler (grammar-wise) than 時をかける少女. Of course that might be different later on (e.g. I know from the anime that there is some decent keigo communication going on at some point), but in general I expect the book to be quite accessible to many.
  • The book is 2nd place in the FloFlo wishlist, so maybe the vocab list will be available there at some point… :wink:


  • I don’t know if the topic is appealing to everybody; it is basically a story about how two children grow up and find their place in the world. There are some interesting twists and difficulties in general and due to the fact that they are wolf children, of course, but it’s not like the action-packed superhero manga or something.
  • states that it has 270 pages…


These are screenshots from the ebook (the edition with full furigana). I guess the pages of the physical book are much smaller.

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
  • Just right
  • Challenging
  • Impossible, even with everyone’s help
  • I don’t know (please click this if you’re not voting seriously)

0 voters


You have my attention

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Hmmm, I half agree. I definitely found Yotsuba hard for that exact reason, and my least favourite manga have been the ones featuring lots of ‘corrupted’ and casual speech. But there are some simple manga with nice clear sentences, and the pictures help enormously. The sheer density of a book’s text compared to a manga just makes it so much more of a challenge for a beginner, with the unique challenge of long and convoluted sentences.

Raionus tends to add the book club picks anyway because he’s lovely.

But yeah, if it’s 244 pages that will be too much for the book club :pensive:

@seanblue I reckon I could probably trim down the proposal guidelines a bit without losing the key points; do you want me to have a bash at them or do you want to just leave them be?


I’m also definitely up for reading the short stories. I’ve got the Kadokawa version, not sure what version everyone that’s reading them has.

Yeah that’s me exactly. I never thought I could make it through an actual book front to back (and, to be fair, I haven’t yet since we haven’t finished), but reading 時をかける少女 is a real winning moment for me. I’m an avid reader anyway and half learnt English that way, so getting to the point where I can use it as a study tool was really important to me.
I really want to hone in on that ability, which is why I totally agree, would love to stick to light novels/books for now too.

I also haven’t looked into possible books to read, but I probably will soon, regardless of what happens in the next vote.

If it means reading another book, I’ll read any book with you and suffer through the consequences (namely, probably not understanding a word without looking it up) xD

Mine too. I never quite got the hang of keigo and seeing it used written in a context I enjoy (aka a book) might actually be super helpful :thinking:


20 pages a week lets go

Probably because of my anime and manga background, I actually find casual, rough speech almost easier. Also on the rare occassion I think things in Japanese, it’s invariably that kind of Japanese.



Is there something you wanted to change in particular? You’re welcome to propose a new template if you want. Just post it here and get feedback before editing it in the main post.

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I think I would die…


I’ll back this, as I already have a copy!


Just the guidelines, not the template - I just thought people might be able to catch the main points better if we cut the text down a little. I’ll have a bash at it this weekend and post it here to see what people think.

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Oh, sure. I don’t care much what you change with that.