This story contains themes of an adult and/or sensitive nature, including cults, sex, murder, and sexual abuse of children, both mentioned, and graphic (though not until Book 2, in the latter case).
Our character's journey so far.
For now nothing yet to show here! Will start to summarize from chapter 3 onwards.
How did the first chapter go for you all? I found myself being a bit lax with reading everyday, and as such am still seven pages short of finishing. I think it’s mostly a combination of vacation laziness, and reading a bunch of English novels instead. The last month I’ve read more books than in the last two years combined, I think! I’ll devote this afternoon to finishing the first chapter. (Don’t forget to update the poll in the previous thread!)
Title translation: A slightly different idea.
Now, poll time:
I’m reading along
I’m still reading this book, but I haven’t reached this part yet
So this thread has been empty, partly because I haven’t been reading at all .
My challenge for today is to read through 40 pages until I reach chapter 3. I’ll start a new thread after that, or at CET20:00, in case I don’t make it. I’ll be marking tough passages, and I suspect I will be posting some questions this evening or tomorrow!
How are you all doing? All caught up on the chapter?
I am still reading, but I was quite busy recently and so I only made it to page 49 so far. But I’m not giving up! Overall I think this is a very pleasant read and not too hard to understand (well, there is a lenghty conversation towards the start of this chapter, and conversations are still harder to grasp for me , but other than that, I get along really well). The only thing that kills me is the kanji lookup as I’m only level 31 , and Murakami is really challenging me with 聴く and 肯く and you name it… where I know the words but not these kanji…
Oh, while we’re at it, I recently noticed that this book club is still missing in the Master List of Book Clubs. I guess that’s because we got stuck in the discussion of whether it would be Intermediate or Advanced level, iirc? I must say, compared to a book like Kemono or Night Market, we have about the same amount of pages (or even less, if compared to Kemono) per week, and I can’t say the grammar is more complicated or anything. The vocab and kanji lookups are probably also roughly the same for me in either book (it’s just that it’s muuuuuch easier to look up an unknown kanji in an ebook!). So my vote would be for Intermediate level. What do the others think by now?
I haven’t read the other books, but if you think it’s on par with those, then I can only agree. I have been told that Murakami is considered a difficult read, even by native speakers, so maybe it could be considered Advanced for language learners. But if advanced is more along the lines of pre-WW2 novels, with their pre-language reform kanji and kana usage, then Intermediate is more fitting? Seeing as it’s definitely modern Japanese. Has there been an Advanced book club?
I can imagine that this judgment not only comes from language difficulties but also from the convolutedness of the contents
Of his works, so far I’ve only read three of the short stories in 神の子どもたちはみな踊る, and the first one was very straightforward to read for me although I was only halfway through N3 grammar at the time (even the vocab was mostly N3 level), the second one was a bit more difficult but still mostly ok, and the third one was batshit crazy and although I got some help from a N1 person we couldn’t really make sense of some of the stuff… So yeah, that third story clearly was a difficult read, but (also based on comments from others) I don’t feel that’s the norm for his writing.
Yes, we recently founded one! The proposed books so far have been a mix of “old and hard to read therefore let’s go slow (i.e. 10-15 pages per week)” and “not old and not very difficult but a thick book therefore let’s read it fast (i.e. 30-40 pages per week)”. We also have some Murakami proposals of course
Luckily most of those are available in a reformed edition Sometimes they even have the old and the new version in one book, which I think is very neat.
Initially I was not very sure how difficult 1Q84 is, but now that I see that it doesn’t really fit the “very hard” range, it is indeed much closer to the Intermediate book club than to the Advanced one in my opinion.
So if I understand correctly, the difficulty of the book depends mostly on its length? So if we upped the pacing of this one to one chapter a week, would you consider it Advanced, or is the proposed thick book twice as long as this one?
Ah, sorry, I cut short on some of the reasoning behind this. In the Intermediate club, we cap proposals at ~300 pages (there’s always a bit of discussion about whether it should be 350 or even less than 300, but anyways) as the reading speed at 15 pages/week would make us take forever to get through a thick book, which would make the book club a bit boring (because those who are not interested in that pick (or drop out) are forced to wait a long time). So for the Advanced club we kinda turned this around and we installed something like a lower boundary for a book (because if it is short and modern and not too difficult it can go to the Intermediate Club as well - we don’t want the two clubs to cannibalize each other). That’s why I said “thick book”.
But in reality the Advanced-ness is a mixture of difficulty and reading speed, i.e. it’s either hard or fast
First of all it’s your club, so you should pick a pace that suits you! I must confess I was a bit surprised that you suggested a relatively slow pace, but now that I am pretty (over-)loaded with book clubs and also work and stuff, and as I underestimated the kanji lookup time in a physical book, I’m really happy to read this book at a slower pace at the moment
I was wondering about that as well, as a weekly schedule enforces more regularity So, the question might be, would you prefer a pace of one chapter per week? … (And what do the others think?) I think if we plan to continue after book 1, we should definitely up the pace or otherwise it would take us years… But not sure whether we should already change the pace mid-way? (But as I said, ultimately it’s your decision and I’m fine with whatever. I can’t promise to keep up atm but I’m happy to trail behind and catch up whenever I can.)
We’re hardly midway . I think the pace was settled on after a brief discussion in the original hashing out the details thread. I wonder how the others are doing, as well. @zyoeru, @Belerith, @kyayna, how are you feeling about the pace? @Hijiki, I see you’ve finished this part, but I don’t remember whether you already read it before, or are reading at the two week pace? How would you feel about a speed up?
So I’m not gonna lie, I’ve kinda been neglecting this book a bit. I’m keeping up with reading, but I pretty much only glance over this thread.
I personally don’t mind the pace. In fact, I usually read the whole chapter in one sitting in week one and then get a week off after. It’s worked out quite well for me that way. That being said, it does feel like a lot to read (as in, if you sit through the whole chapter) and those pages are dense.
Also, I agree with @NicoleRauch I’m currently quite overloaded with book clubs, plus have gone back to work now too, so much less time than before, so for now I’d probably vote for sticking with the schedule we have now. If we do go on to read the other books, we can talk about pace again I suppose.
Just on the note of how long each chapter is, while the language is not the most difficult I’ve seen, it’s just incredibly dense, and as mentioned before and quite Murakami-esque, very convoluted, so for me it takes a lot more effort to get through than other books might.
I haven’t read the book before. I just happened to finish the first chapter in the first week and read the second one right away because I was curious to see how different the stories of the two characters would be (and the first few paragraphs of this chapter were too intriguing to just wait another week😅). Plus, I knew I would be busy in the first half of September and I didn’t want to remain behind either with this or some other things I’m reading at the moment, so I figured reading a bit ahead while I still have the time and motivation wouldn’t be a bad idea.
As for the pace, I suppose it’s okay to continue this way at least before we get a better idea about the plot, we get some recurring concepts and even grammar or vocabulary so the reading process becomes smoother.
Personally, I have to read a few pages before I get used to the author’s sentence patterns and blend in with the atmosphere, so I might end up finishing a chapter in three or four reading sessions, but only if I spread them out over at least 10 days, so the current pace is perfect. And I suppose it also allows everyone to keep up with other book clubs. I’m new to this book club thing so I have yet to set up a suitable reading schedule in order not to fall behind or get too far ahead, but as long as there is a set pace and at least some people manage to keep up with it I’ll eventually find a way to do that as well.
To be honest, I’ve been staring at this book ever since it first appeared in stores, hesitating between buying the English version or the one translated in my native language, because I didn’t want to add them to the mountain of books I’ve been so excited about upon buying but never read because I simply couldn’t find the time. I began reading Murakami’s books about 6 years ago, mainly in my native language, but after I managed to read one of Murakami’s novels in Japanese I decided to read the rest of his writings in Japanese as well, so 1Q84 eventually fell into that category. However, it seemed like a goal for the distant future and I think I would have never thought I’m prepared to start reading it if it weren’t for this book club. I’m enjoying it so far and I’m really excited to see how it will work out from now on, so as long as we keep reading the book I don’t mind changing the pace or whatever changes might come up.
It was 色彩を持たない多崎つくると、彼の巡礼の年. I loved the fact that it kind of had a theme song that the protagonist kept remembering or listening to at certain points in the story, it helped to keep things together while the going back and forth between his past and the present (I have a feeling that the song mentioned in this book’s first chapter will play a similar role).
The story seems ambiguous at first because the character himself doesn’t understand why he ends up in certain situations but, other than some strange erotic dreams at some point, there are not that many unusual or unrealistic situations.
Looking back on it now, it was moderately challenging as far as grammar was concerned, but the same patterns kept coming back from time to time and after looking them up once to see what they really meant I basically learned and understood them better every time I encountered them in context. I was sort of ‘learning grammar the Murakami way’, not really studying from other sources as far as my grammar level allowed me to understand what I was reading.
Thanks for the review! I’ve heard good things about the book but have not yet read it. But it’s on my (looong) want-to-read list now
For the “studying through reading”, that’s what I’ve basically done since February because I realized that my grammar skills were the most developed of all my Japanese skills (reading, writing, listening, speaking, vocab, and grammar) and so it did not make much sense to me to progress further with dedicated grammar studies and I thought it would be better to focus more on the other skills. Not that I’m super-advanced; I passed N3 and that’s all my grammar knowledge. But I’m really surprised how much I can read and understand even at that level. And I like it so much to learn vocab from a book! I tag my vocab with the book(s) it came from, and sometimes I still remember the scene where I picked up the word. That feels like a fond memory of sorts.
This chapter started interesting - and much more introspective somehow even than 青豆’s introduction.
After reading about three pages I had a meta moment of ‘what, do you mean the readers or is there someone else in the story’ when it talked of how the memory came to him while he was talking to someone (like this time). And then, even more pages later, all became clear.
Indeed, I found this a very interesting storytelling tool, when first everything was inside his head, in the form of memories, and we would gradually get more and more of the picture of where he currently was and that this attack was happening to him right now
That’s what amazes me the most about his writing style. I’ve only read half of the stories of 神の子どもたちはみな踊る so far, but each time, after reading the first 3 sentences or so, I feel like being totally immersed in the scene and the story. That’s a quality of writing that I’m looking for.
No, I stopped halfway through. The descriptions of Komatsu and his job were just too much for me. I think it took me an hour to read a page at times, and that’s just not worth it I know that not all parts will be that hard (chapter 1 was pretty ok actually) but I also know that it will still be there for me in a year or two