Informal Nisio Isin Bookclub 👩‍💻👩‍🎨👩‍🎓🧙‍♀️👩‍🍳 (Reading クビキリサイクル)

Update: For anybody who’s interested in this book (and you should be if you know of Nisio Isin!), please feel free to read at your own pace and comment whenever you want in this thread! At this point the schedule and polls are really just for my own accountability.

Kubikiri Cycle

The first book in the Zaregoto series, and Nisio Isin’s 2002 novel debut that earned the 23rd Mephisto prize. The setup is a classic whodunnit locked-room scenario on an island full of young female geniuses. I’ve avoided all spoilers so I don’t know much beyond the fact that it’s a dark story full of twists and turns and interesting characters.

kubikiri

Schedule

Week Start Read Up To Pages
1 18 Jun サヴァンの群青 2 16
2 25 Jun サヴァンの群青 3 22
3-4 2 Jul サヴァンの群青 5 43*
5 16 Jul 集合亡算数 0 15
6 23 Jul 集合亡算数 2 24
7 30 Jul 集合亡算数 3 23
8 6 Aug 首斬リーコ 2 22
9 13 Aug 首斬リーコ 3 29
10-11 20 Aug 0.14の悲劇 4 66*
12 3 Sep 首斬リニコ 0 27
13 10 Sep 首斬リニコ 4 29
14 17 Sep 嘘 0 22
15-16 24 Sep 鴉の濡れ羽 0 67*
17 8 Oct 鴉の濡れ羽 2 33
18 15 Oct 分岐 0 33
19 22 Oct まつかなおうぎばなし 19
20 29 Oct End 44

*Divide by 2 to get pages per week

Nisio Isin

For those who don’t know who Nisio Isin is, he is probably best known as the author of the Monogatari series. However, he’s one of the most prolific authors I’ve ever heard of. In addition to Monogatari (which itself is 26 novels long!), he’s written at least 8 other series along with multiple spin-off series’, one-offs, and manga. (I have no idea how this guy writes so fast–according to Wikipedia he wrote the second entry in the Zaregoto series, a nearly 400 page book, in only three days!)

Nisio’s writing is characterized by fast-paced, often humorous dialogues littered with clever wordplay and references to popular fiction. Having watched some of the Monogatari series with English subtitles I feel like I missed out on so much from the original Japanese, but even with the losses of translation it was some of the most entertaining dialogue I’ve encountered.

What’s an informal bookclub?

It’s not much more than an invitation for others to join in reading a book I was planning to read personally! The book clubs have been great for discussion, support and accountability so I figured I’d write a schedule and put the word out in case anyone else is interested. It will operate like a normal bookclub except with lower participation and thus only a single thread and a potentially more fluid schedule.

Will you be reading with us?

  • Yes
  • No

0 voters

Please comment if you’re interested in joining!

5 Likes

I am interested in reading the Monogatari series and I already have the first three volumes on my bookshelf.

As for the Kubikiri Cycle, I saw the anime adaptation and can’t say it was great. All of it just felt too far-fetched.

I don’t know how much of the anime was Shaft’s vision vs the original novel but I’m not really interested in reading the books.

I wouldn’t mind joining in! I have クビキリサイクル and 掟上今日子の備忘録. The only caveat I have is that I’m still trying to catch up with the 殺人出産 club (though I’m nearly there). I’d rather start in two weeks, as opposed to one, just so I have more of a buffer if I need it for being on par with the rest of the 殺人 club.

2 Likes

Great! I could probably use a break as well after Your Name so that works for me. Coincidentally I have 掟上今日子の備忘録 as well. I went to Kinokuniya with the intention of picking up クビキリサイクル and spent nearly an hour trying to find my way around the store. They were about to close and I couldn’t find what I was looking for (I’m pretty sure they didn’t have it), so not wanting to waste my two hour trip I grabbed the first interesting-looking Nisio Isin book I could find and bought it. Then I bought クビキリサイクル on Amazon.

I’m leaning toward reading クビキリサイクル because it seems to be Nisio’s most popular series after Monogatari, but 掟上今日子の備忘録 also looks good and it’s a more manageable length, so if you have a particular preference I’d be willing to read either. Also if it’s just us we could definitely schedule a bit around 殺人出産 and ramp up a bit once it’s over.

I’m pretty sure you’ve caught up with me for 殺人出産–I haven’t done this week’s reading yet because this last week of Your Name was 20 pages.

1 Like

I don’t mind going with クビキリ over 掟上今日子. It looks like it might just be the two of us. Should we start hashing out a reading schedule?

Yes! I figured we could aim to finish at about the same time as the intermediate club finished コーヒーが冷めないうちに. That should also be around the time the next Murata club pick finishes up as well, which I’m guessing will be about 20 weeks. That would leave us at a pace of about 27 pages per week in my version (which sounds a bit aggressive, but I guess I was probably averaging more than that by doing Murata+Your Name at the same time).

By the way, what version do you have? I have the softcover that starts on page 6 and ends on 553. If we don’t have the same version I’ll try to just write a schedule based on chapters. And would you be ready to start this weekend? I was thinking we could start by reading the preface as well as chapters 0 and 1 (16 pages total) to get used to the style, and keep the reading around or under 20 pages/week until 殺人出産 ends.

2 Likes

27 pages, eh? That’ll definitely be more than I’m used to, but I’m willing to give it a try. The version I have is the e-book, which looks like it might have the cover for the hardback? I’m not 100% on that.

It’s a push for me as well, but 頑張りましょう! If it seems impractical we can dial it back a bit. I’ll do the schedule by chapters and add ending sentences if/when we have to split chapters. It looks like chapters range from ~1-30 pages but there may be some longer outliers.

1 Like

Alright here’s my proposed schedule!

It starts off with a 16-page warmup, then keeps things capped in the low twenties for the next month or so while we finish 殺人出産. There really aren’t any natural breaks within the chapters, so rather than pick an arbitrary stopping point I combined weeks at a few points. The epilogue is a big jump in pace but it’s only a week and we can test our ability to handle the Advanced Book Club pace. One nice thing is that the book seems (expectedly) dialogue heavy, so the pages themselves aren’t too dense.

Let me know what you think!

Week Start Read Up To Pages
1 18 Jun サヴァンの群青 2 16
2 25 Jun サヴァンの群青 3 22
3-4 2 Jul サヴァンの群青 5 43*
5 16 Jul 集合亡算数 0 15
6 23 Jul 集合亡算数 2 24
7 30 Jul 集合亡算数 3 23
8 6 Aug 首斬リーコ 2 22
9 13 Aug 首斬リーコ 3 29
10-11 20 Aug 0.14の悲劇 4 48*
12 3 Sep 首斬リニコ 0 27
13 10 Sep 首斬リニコ 4 29
14 17 Sep 嘘 0 22
15-16 24 Sep 鴉の濡れ羽 0 67*
17 8 Oct 鴉の濡れ羽 2 33
18 15 Oct 分岐 0 33
19 22 Oct まつかなおうぎばなし 19
20 29 Oct End 44

*Divide by 2 to get pages per week

We could also consider modifying a bit when we see the full schedule for the current intermediate pick and the next Murata pick come out.

2 Likes

This looks like a pretty reasonable schedule to me. I’m willing to give it a go. :smiley:

1 Like

Big week! First week of クビキリサイクル and last week of 殺人出産. I can’t decide which to read first!

  • I’m Reading Along
  • I’m Catching Up

0 voters

1 Like

Started reading the book last night. Despite the vocabulary not being all that challenging, I had a bit of trouble piecing some of the sentences together. Hopefully it’s just a case of me not being used to his writing style, and my troubles will lessen as I make my way through the text.

On a slightly different note, the presence of a character list intimidated me. I have a feeling I’m going to be referring to it a lot just to check the furigana for names. :laughing:

2 Likes

Just finished up chapter 1 last night!

The preface was really difficult for me. I think book beginnings in general tend to be difficult for three reasons:

  • You have to get used to a new author’s style (or even just a new book’s style like in 殺人出産)
  • Intros seems to be written in a more dense, “literary” style. (This was definitely the case for Your Name as well)
  • You haven’t built up any mental context yet for anything that’s going on. (Like who the heck is talking in all those quote blocks in the preface, or what they’re even “philosophizing” in relation to, if that makes sense)

That being said Chapter 1 is way easier. The first 5 or so pages were still a bit slow due to points 1 and 3, but by the end of the week’s reading it felt like decently smooth sailing. I might go back and reread the preface again to try to understand it a bit better.

I love the inclusion of a character list! I think every Japanese book should have one by law. It would be embarrassing to say how far into 殺人出産 I got before I could stop flipping back to the early pages to search for character name furigana. Also, I’m pretty sure 玖渚友 (くなぎさとも)'s name was mentioned about 30 times in chapter 1 and it took about 20 times for it to stick (I don’t know why but I found the reading of this name to be particularly unintuitive).

I actually decided to SRS the character names! I did it once before for Yuru Camp since I knew I’d be with that series for a very long time. It might feel like a bit of a waste of SRS bandwidth since it’s so particular to this book alone, but considering that names might be among the most high-frequency and most difficult words in the book, I think it will pay off huge dividends in terms of smoothness overall.

I definitely enjoyed chapter 1. There’s not too much going on yet but I’m curious to learn more about 玖渚 and about why they’re on the island in the first place. I don’t know if you’ve seen 物語 but I was picturing the conversation happening in a similar animation style :laughing:. The one downside of reading in Japanese is that I can’t mentally match the snappy pace at which the back-and-forth is probably occurring.

2 Likes

Also I feel like the thread title is lacking a good emoji. Any ideas? (Sadly I could not find a guillotine emoji).

@Belerith I see you lurking :eyes:. Want to hop on this train?

Don’t tempt me :eyes:

How did you know :eyes:

1 Like

Week 2! Reading all of chapter 2 (of this part), stopping at chapter 3.

  • I’m Reading Along
  • I’m Catching Up

0 voters

Sorry I’ve been a little slow on クビキリ. This week’s been unusually busy, plus I’m in the middle of moving (hence why I still haven’t commented in 殺人出産).

Oh man I know how tough moving can be on Japanese learning! It took me months to claw my way back on top of my reading and SRS after I moved in March.

This week’s reading was kind of tough. I’m hoping I start getting more used to it soon! The biggest issues is that it’s just a vocabulary gauntlet. I think I’ve come across sentences where I don’t know a single word. I’ve managed to hang on so far though!

I had some notes with thoughts that I had throughout the reading but alas I don’t have them on me when I sit down to actually post. I like the characters so far- I’m a bit of a computer nerd so I actually found the dated conversation about operating systems and computer hardware enjoyable. I like Kunagisa as well (although I thought I was misreading something when ahe called herself “僕様ちゃん“. Is she serious or is she just teasing our protag?)

There was also a short story referenced in the conversation with 深夜 which was pretty cool. Again I don’t have my notes but I think it was called something like “There are Dead Bodies under the Cherry Trees”. If I weren’t so busy with this I would have tried reading it in Japanese! But in English it’s a quick read. Very surreal.

Next two weeks are combined for a total of 43 pages, which should provide for a bit more flexibility. I’ll try not to procrastinate!

  • I Just Moved so I’m a Bit Behind
  • I’m Reading Along

0 voters