IBC Primer Book Club 🍙 Reading コンビニ人間

IBC Primer Book Club :rice_ball: Reading コンビニ人間 :rice_ball: Starting June 17th

IBC = Intermediate Book Club

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This club will read コンビニ人間 (Natively link) as a primer to join the IBC. This means it will be read slower than the two times it has been read before on this forum (as part of the IBC, and the repeat club).

Original intro to the IBC Primer Book Club

BBC = Beginner Book Club

Are you in that awkward place of finding the BBC pretty easy or at least not a challenge anymore, but IBC is above your level? The obstacles are many:

  • You’ve mainly read manga before, so while you’ve got some casual language and slang down, narrative sentences are not in your wheelhouse.* Even worse if they get long and/or complex, since all the manga dialog in the world probably won’t get you ready for that. (Unless you read very advanced manga, but then you probably don’t need this club! =) )
  • Maybe you’ve read a few books, like 夜カフェ and/or the にゃんにゃん/わんわん books, but normal, adult fiction prose feels miles above that and IBC’s pace is too quick as a starter.
  • And while you could read a book by yourself at your own pace, you somehow never find yourself picking up a book. Book clubs helps keep you motivated and you enjoy reading together with other people.

*However you do have some experience with reading narrative text/non-dialog text. I would strongly suggest reading one of the previous BBC books if you’ve only read manga if you plan to join this club. Because this is about getting experience with the more complex sentences that show up more in adult fiction.

If some/all of those fit you, then this club is probably for you. This club will be a one-off (maybe a two-off) to read a previous IBC pick but with slower pacing than IBC. The reason I’m suggesting to read a previous IBC pick is because then we know the book is at an IBC level, even if it is the easier side of that scale.

The main thing to realize is that this club will read the book slower than any of the IBC/BBC/etc. would ever read a book. So 3 months won’t be the max. Instead the max would probably be double that in case the whole book will stay at a slower pace; however, the goal will be to increase speed as the participants feel ready.

Where to buy

Amazon JP | CDJapan | eBookJapan | BookWalker | Rakuten/Kobo

Schedule

When the end phrase is bolded, it means a week ends in the middle of a section/chapter. So the stopping point might be a bit rough and you need to keep more of an eye out for it.

Week Start Date End Page (PB)* End Point Kindle End % Ebook End Phrase Page Count
#1 Jun 17 11 60 4% おにぎりを並べ始めた。 5
#2 Jun 24 16 112 6% 大人はほっとしたようだった。 6
#3 Jul 1 21 172 10% どこか作り物めいて感じられた。 6
#4 Jul 8 27 233 13% 私を正常な人間にしているのだった。 7
#5 Jul 15 32 292 17% 喋ると不思議とちょうどいい。 6
#6 Jul 22 39 352 20% ユカリは私に笑いかけ続ける。 8
#7 Jul 29 44 406 23% 膝の上で静かに撫でた。 6
#8 Aug 5 49 463 26% 菅原さんが姿を現した。 6
#9 Aug 12 56 526 30% 私は急いで自分の仕事に戻った。 8
#10 Aug 19 62 583 34% ケーキのクリームがついた唇を拭った。 7
#11 Aug 26 70 664 39% 白羽さんの顔を見てしまった。 9
#12 Sep 2 77 744 43% 同じ朝を微笑んでいる。 8
#13 Sep 9 86 831 49% 私は菅原さんの喋り方で微笑みかけた。 10
#14 Sep 16 96 935 55% 深刻な風情で覗きこんでいるだけだった。 11
#15 Sep 23 108 1052 62% チョコレートメロンサイダーを取り出し、白羽さんに渡した。 13
#16 Sep 30 121 1180 70% 私のかけがえのない同士だった。 14
#17 Oct 7 134 1309 77% 食べかけのプリンを手にしたまま二人を見つめていた。 14
#18 Oct 14 146 1432 84% 私はいつまでも藍色の空をぼんやり見上げていた。 13
#19 Oct 21 161 1587 94% <THE END> 16

*The ISBN of the paperback edition that has provided the page numbers, courtesy of eaburns: 978-4-16-791130-0

Thank you so much, eaburns! (I’m not tagging so you don’t potentially get notified every time I update this post, I’m a little unsure how that stuff works, I guess!)

Vocabulary sheet

We’re fortunate to already have a well populated vocabulary sheet from previous clubs. Please read the editing guidelines before adding an entry. And also please ignore the schedule tab, since it is the IBC schedule, not the one we’ll be following.

Proper Noun Readings

Name Reading Notes Proof
古倉 ふるくら Main character’s last name Furigana
恵子 けいこ Main character’s first name English version description
菅原 すがわら Part time employee at コンビニ Common reading
泉 いずみ Supervisor at コンビニ Common reading
ダット ダット Vietnamese, new employee —
岩木 いわき Tall university student, employed on day shift, looking for a new job English version description
雪下 ゆきした Day shift employee soon to be leaving for a proper job English version description
ミホ ミホ Keiko’s friend from class reunion, week 6 —
ユカリ ユカリ Miho’s friend, recently moved back to the area, has a child, week 6 —
サツキ サツキ Miho’s friend, no children, week 6 —
白羽 しらは New, tall, skinny store employee, week 8 Furigana
麻美 まみ Keiko’s sister, week 10 Audiobook
悠太郎 ゆうたろう Mami’s baby, week 10 Audiobook

Membership

Will you be reading コンビニ人間 with us?
  • Yes
  • Yes, but I might start late
  • Maybe
  • No
0 voters
Which version will you be reading?
  • eBook
  • Paperback
  • Hardcover
0 voters

Don’t forget to set this thread to Watching in order to follow the discussion (and be notified when weekly threads get posted)!

26 Likes

There are a few things that would need to be decided.

  • Which previous pick should we read (コンビニ人間 was recommended by @seanblue and it is an often picked/recommended first adult book)?
  • What pace should we read at (and potentially how it should increase but that could also be voted on after we’ve started)?
  • Whether we should use our own threads (I’d lean towards that since our page counts won’t overlap, but a link to the original club threads could happen as we finish one of their parts) or not?
  • When should we start?

As to which book (LearnNatively links), コンビニ人間 is definitely a strong candidate. Two other picks that I’ve marked on bookmeter that I want to read are キッチン and 夜市. Not sure how good either of those would be.

But before I make a poll, which other ones from the IBC back catalog should we consider? You can see them all in the master book club list. I’d really appreciate more suggestions from those who’ve already read several of the IBC books, whether you want to recommend one that has already been mentioned or another from the list (although I’m not sure how many such people will see this post, so we can’t depend on getting any more!). And anyone who wants to join the club is free to share the ones they are interested in!

I think it is better if we keep the length to 200 pages but up to 250 would probably be workable. Anything longer than that and the length of the club might go from looooong to ridiculous. xD

For pace, I was thinking of starting with about half the typical IBC pace, so 5ish pages per week. Depending on the schedule of the book we pick, the easiest thing might be to just cut that reading in half for as long as we need it and then try to do full IBC weeks when we feel ready for it (hopefully there are some nice short ones mid-to-late in the schedule that we can use as our starting point for the longer weeks).

And I’ve already mentioned what I think about the threads.

As for starting, I was thinking maybe in about two months, so anyone who wants to buy physical can get that, and also we have a chance to clear currently reading piles and such (or settle into new clubs like Ouran *wink wink, nudge nudge*). So maybe around the beginning of July?

I’m not making any polls yet, because I’m interested in hearing what my fellow want-to-bridge-the-gap members think. A less chartitable way to put it is to say I’m not entirely sure which options to add to the polls. xD

15 Likes

This is a good one difficulty-wise. I read it on my own not long after 夜カフェ, and it wasn’t too bad. The writing style took some adapting to, but it always does.

Themes-wise, it can be a pretty heavy read, just as a warning. That was what actually took me the longest to get through it. Sometimes I just needed a break from that. It’s really good, but it came at an awkward time in my life where I didn’t need the extra downer, so to speak

12 Likes

I wouldn’t like to try estimating its difficulty now, but it was one of the first two or three for-adults books I read back in the day, and I think at the time I found it not a huge struggle. It’s also short (less than 200 pages) and because it’s three short-to-medium-length stories (Kitchen, Kitchen 2, and the unrelated Moonlight Shadow) there are some sensible stopping-off points if you don’t want to read the whole thing.

12 Likes

コーヒーが冷めないうちに might be worth considering. I really enjoyed this book and found it quite approachable as the only IBC book I’ve read. It is 348 pages long, but there are four chapters each of which could be considered separate short stories with an overarching story arc.

The big plus is that there is already a really good vocab sheet from the WaniKani bookclub - week one alone has 348 words! I’d assumed IBC picks didn’t have vocab sheets, I don’t know how many more have.

There were mixed reviews in the WaniKani bookclub which surprised me a little as it’s quite popular and has been translated into multiple languages, as well as spawning several sequels and a movie.

I’m personally interested to try reading コンビニ人間 and picked up a (very tiny!) copy in my last Amazon order.

14 Likes

I haven’t checked any IBC book except コンビニ人間 but that one also seems to have quite an extensive vocabulary sheet. Since it was mentioned, I thought I should add it. ^^

6 Likes

I listened to the audiobook and loved it, but it seems reading it directly it falls kind of flat. The writing is really nothing special (I think it was adapted from a stage play rather than starting as a book?) but it is definitely on the easier side for grammar due to that.

I’d recommend people read it with the audiobook accompanying to get more the emotional “oomph” it’s trying to convey :sweat_smile:

12 Likes

コーヒーが冷めないうちに was my first ever novel in Japanese, straight after one ABC manga. I found it very approachable, in that there was very little grammar I had to look up, and only a few sentences that went on for what seemed forever. Of course I had to look up every other word, but that reflects my vocabulary level at the time rather than the vocabulary complexity of the book. It’s also the reason the vocab sheet is so well populated. :sweat_smile:

I didn’t love the book, but that’s natural, as it wasn’t my kind of book in the first place. It wasn’t bad though, and I didn’t struggle to keep motivation to finish it. The writing was rather uninspiring (which I guess is a good thing for a first novel as it presents fewer difficulties), and there were a lot of needless repetitions (which may also be a good thing for a first novel).

12 Likes

Thank you so much for creating the club! I agree with the above book recommendations (I’ve read コンビニ人間 in english and as for コーヒーが冷めないうちに , I have 3 of the books in english so I quite enjoyed it XD)

May I also recommend 世界から猫が消えたなら ? I haven’t seen it in the other bookclubs but maybe I somehow missed it. Natively says its level 27 and has good reviews in terms of difficulty so it could be a nice starter book perhaps?

My second recommendation is perhaps less known, but I also read the english verson and I really enjoyed it. It’s called あん in japanese. Here is a small summary as well:

Summary

誰にも生まれてきた意味がある。 どら焼き店の軒先から始まる、限りなく優しい魂の物語 線路沿いから一本路地を抜けたところにある小さなどら焼き店。 千太郎が日がな一日鉄板に向かう店先に、バイトの求人をみてやってきたのは70歳を過ぎた手の不自由な女性・吉井徳江だった。 徳江のつくる「あん」の旨さに舌をまく千太郎は、彼女を雇い、店は繁盛しはじめるのだが……。 偏見のなかに人生を閉じ込められた徳江、生きる気力を失いかけていた千太郎、ふたりはそれぞれに新しい人生に向かって歩き始める――。 生命の不思議な美しさに息をのむラストシーン、いつまでも胸を去らない魂の物語。

13 Likes

It’s also been made into a movie. Trailer here:

The book is on the expensive side though. あん - 文芸・小説 ドリアン助川:電子書籍試し読み無料 - BOOK☆WALKER - (bookwalker.jp)

There is an informal book club for it here: 世界から猫が消えたなら (If cats disappeared from the world) Book Discussion - Japanese Language / Book Clubs - WaniKani Community
Consensus seems to be that it’s on the easy side, so probably a very good fit for this club.

10 Likes

This book club is a great idea! I want to also throw 夜カフェ into the ring for 1st pick. Mainly bc. I tried following the original book club but really couldn’t bc of the page count :sweat_smile:

夜カフェ is a good starter book but doesn’t work well as a primer for IBC. If you’ve never read narrative before (or very little of it), I do recommend reading it. But its complexity is on par with BBC.

In fact, I’m gonna go and adjust the OP a bit to note that it is probably good to have some experience with narrative writing because otherwise this club would be very rough.

2 Likes

Here are two other recommendations which were independent book clubs: かがみの孤城 (Kagami no Kojou) Book Club and Let's read Harry Potter from September 1st!

7 Likes

Another to consider might be はたらく魔王さま! Natively, IBC club

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かがみの孤城 is great, but it’s way too long for an IBC primer club. It’s 550 pages.

3 Likes

Ah, you are right - I didn’t check it was 2 books/volume long!

2 Likes

Oh, this book club would have been perfect for me one year ago! I might still join, depending on when reading for the chosen book starts and what that book is (would consider コンビニ人間 - been wanting to read that for a while now)

I was about to suggest 夜のピクニック, but it’s far too long at 455 pages. Shame.

2 Likes

@MaraVos At 312 pages according to Natively, this might be a little long.

@snowwater Harry Potter is too long at 400+ pages, unfortunately.


On Sunday, I’ll make a poll for the different options we have; aka everyone has time to put forth some more options. I think for any suggestion over 250 pages, we’d need a good motivation for why it would work in this slow club. For example, if it is a collection of short stories we could skip some. If on the other hand, the argument is that the language is easy enough that we can read faster, then the book is probably not the right fit for this particular club.

9 Likes

I don’t have anything to say about potential picks because I haven’t read any of the IBC books other than the current pick (and also the English version of コンビニ人間)

Do you think it would be a good idea to have an intermediate speed between beginning speed and full IBC speed? For example, we read a third of the book at 5ish pages/week, a third at 8ish pages/week, and the last third at the full 10ish pages? Or should we just jump from 5 pages to full speed?

Also, polling for speed while we’re reading might be a good idea to make sure we’re ready for a faster pace (or to see if we’re ready to speed up early!) Or we could just keep it simple and have the pace set in stone before the club starts.

Yes I think we should use our own threads

July 1 is actually a Saturday and since a lot of book clubs start on Saturdays that would be a nice date to start. Unless we need another week or two?

9 Likes

I agree that it would be better to speed up gradually, or in several small jumps, rather than doubling.

EDIT: Honestly, I only suggested the halved and then not halved (aka doubling) because it was an quick and dirty suggestion. xD Also, it would probably mean that more weeks would end in a decent end point if the original schedule had good end points. But I think we will need to resign ourselves that we will have many weeks stopping in the middle of conversations, not to mention in the middle of scenes.

My experience from leading a few clubs that included some polling for increasing speed is that it won’t happen in general. Kinda like the earliest pace that works becomes the pace. Inertia basically.

So it will be better to have a schedule that has an increase built in, and we can poll on top of that whether to increase early, whether to slow down a little more early on.

Well, there we go! We’re probably starting July 1st then.

But I should probably still put it to a poll with one to two weeks before and after that. That will go up Sunday too.

Pace can’t be decided until we have the book picked. So that will have to wait and probably happen the Sunday after, since I try to leave a week for voting when possible.

8 Likes