I want your Japanese book recommendations

Please help me create a reading list. I want to get comfortable reading various types of literature in Japanese. So far I’ve read some manga but for pure reading practice I prefer stuff that doesn’t have supporting visuals.

I’m around N2 grammar-wise and my wk level is representative of my kanji knowledge but my vocabulary is shaky (I hope reading will help with it).

Nowadays when reading for fun I usually read nonfiction, such as interesting life stories, stories about discoveries, inventions and so on. But I like my fiction too, just don’t read much of it.

However, if it’s in Japanese I feel like I’d read almost anything, as long as it’s interesting and not too difficult.

So far I have a few titles on my list:

  • Hyouka
  • I Want to Eat Your Pancreas
  • Monogatari series
  • Boogiepop series

But I don’t know many options. I’d greatly appreciate your recommendations. If you can please give your opinion of the reading difficulty too.

And if you can share how you’re looking for things to read I’d love to hear that!

Anything from before WWII, before they did a lot of language standardization, is going to be rough to read.

You could try to find some contemporary authors, and read wikipedia for general synopses of their books, to see if they appeal.

I’m starting a Murakami Haruki 1Q84 book club in August, maybe you could join that one.


(Difficulty grading – completely subjective-- from * easy to ***** hard)

From the WK bookclubs:

  • コンビニ人間 **
  • 秋の牢獄 ** or 夜市 **(same author, same style, if you read one and wants more of it, you can read the other)
  • 獣の奏者 ***
  • Re:ゼロ **** series I guess? Although I didn’t like all volumes so far equally

Other things I have read and would recommend:

  • 虹 (世界の旅〈4〉) **
  • アリス殺し ***
  • 1Q84 **
  • 朧月市役所妖怪課 *** (or **** if you try to read the flavor text in fake old Japanese) series
  • 図書館の魔女 series ***** (felt pretty hard at the time, when I was barely N1)
  • 紅霞後宮物語 *** series
  • ビブリア古書堂の事件手帖 ** (probably my favorite!)
  • 鹿の王 ***
  • 乙女ゲームの破滅フラグしかない悪役令嬢に転生してしまった… * series (more of a guilty pleasure honestly… I wouldn’t say it’s great literature, but it’s a very easy read!)

There’s a “tutorial” of sort after the big table in the 多読 thread.


I was hoping for your answer @Naphthalene :blush:

I remember your first post about this book. It was like “trash but I can’t stop reading it”. So you enjoyed it quite a bit after all :wink:

Didn’t find it interesting at the time of the book club but I’ll probably give it a try now, thanks for reminding!

I’m going to trust you on this one if you’re saying it’s your favourite and it’s also not that difficult.

It seemed like a kind of fantasy I don’t like (my impression was it has a similar vibe to the Narnia series).

Will look through the rest of you recommendations in the evening, thanks!

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This is pretty useful!

I found another title to read. Might be kind of random but I was curious about KonMari, so why not read her original book 人生がときめく片づけの魔法 :wink:
Doesn’t seem too difficult from the preview on Amazon.

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I stand by that.

I have the perfect gif for that.

Ah, yes, I did not know what you would like, so I chose the spread shot.

You’re making me nervous here; after all, there are some evidences in this very thread that some of my tastes may or may not be trash :sweat_smile:

Anyway, let me know how those goes. I can give you additional recommendations as well if you need them :slight_smile:


Ah, that’s fine, you shouldn’t be :slight_smile:
I appreciate your recommendations but I’m the only one responsible for actually getting and reading the books :wink: Besides, I haven’t read enough books in any language to have a good taste. But now I am motivated to read because I enjoy being able to understand more and more Japanese and because I want to know more about the Japanese culture, art and literature.

I think I’m going to read コンビニ人間 first. It sounds super interesting now.

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I can only speak about their English translations, so I don’t really know their difficulties, but as for VNs I can hole heartedly recommend:

  • When They Cry series [multiple genres, varies by VN]
  • Fate/Stay Night (Realta Nua version) [battle focused fantasy]
  • Zero Escape series [mystery/horror, with escape room mechanics],
  • Shibuya Scramble [mystery]
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Also, I thought it was meh overall, but it you want a challenging VN, then Dies Irae has a reputation for being a particularly difficult read. It has 13818 unique words, and IIRC over 2000 kanji.

Have not read in Japanese, but it’s awesome (there’s also a live action drama adaptation)


Haha, nope, not at the level yet :slight_smile:

Thanks for the VN recommendations but I actually want to read something on paper to let my eyes rest from staring at at screen all day.

I watched a playthrough of the last one. It was pretty good!

If you don’t like this fantasy then you can scratch 鹿の王 as well (same author, same medieval-world setting).