Intermediate Japanese Book Club (Currently reading: コーヒーが冷めないうちに)

Retracted
Not sure if I’m nominating in the right place, but, I nominate

獣の奏者

Summary

Japanese

王国の矛盾を背負い、兵器として育成される凶暴な蛇――闘蛇。 各界で話題騒然!傑作ファンタジー巨編、ついに文庫化。 リョザ神王国。闘蛇村に暮らす少女エリンの幸せな日々は、闘蛇を死なせた罪に問われた母との別れを境に一転する。母の不思議な指笛によって死地を逃れ、蜂飼いのジョウンに救われて九死に一生を得たエリンは、母と同じ獣ノ医術師を目指すが――。苦難に立ち向かう少女の物語が、いまここに幕を開ける!.

English

epic YA fantasy about a girl with a special power to communicate with magical beasts and the warring kingdom only she can save.

Elin’s family has an important responsibility: caring for the fearsome water serpents that form the core of their kingdom’s army. So when some of the beasts mysteriously die, Elin’s mother is sentenced to death as punishment. With her last breath she manages to send her daughter to safety.

Alone, far from home, Elin soon discovers that she can talk to both the terrifying water serpents and the majestic flying beasts that guard her queen. This skill gives her great powers, but it also involves her in deadly plots that could cost her life. Can she save herself and prevent her beloved beasts from being used as tools of war? Or is there no way of escaping the terrible battles to come? .

Availability

Amazon

BookWalker

Booklive

Personal Opinion

I listened to the English version as an audiobook and thought it was imaginative & exciting, with interesting characters, and a generally positive vibe. It’s a YA fantasy novel, which I wanted to see more of in the nominations list.

Pros and Cons for the Book Club

Pros

  • A novel targeted at young readers, so probably a good reading level?
  • Strong female protagonist.

Cons

  • At 317 pages (ebook estimate), it’s a bit long, but that
    Seems to include Q&A with the author.

Pictures

Sample Pages



Additional Pages



Difficulty Poll

How much effort would you need to read this book?

  • No effort at all
  • Minimal effort
  • Moderate effort
  • Significant effort
  • So much effort my head might explode
  • I don’t know

0 voters

2 Likes

We already read the first two books (which form a complete story) in a book club, which you can find in the master list. We read it separate from the intermediate book club because of the length (particularly book two). You’re welcome to nominate it here I guess, but I’m not sure what level of interest you’d get since it hasn’t been that long since we read it.

Regardless of whether you keep the nomination or not, I definitely recommend reading it. The first two books are very good and pretty accessible at the intermediate level.

6 Likes

You are! :blush:

We usually look at the number of pages in the printed book as given by Amazon, and that says 360 pages, so it would be over our limit of (300-)350 pages…
Also if you look at the schedule in the original book club, it took us 20 weeks with many weeks being over the standard 15 page mark (because we read one chapter per week), so it would probably be even longer with a schedule that is closer to what we usually have here…

3 Likes

Ah, then I will probably just add it to my “on my own” list. At least there’s a thread to join :slight_smile:
How should I officially retract a nomination?

1 Like

For me it’s fine like it is - I will just not add your nomination to the list in the OP, and that list is all that matters to me in the end when compiling the poll.

(You could as well delete your post but that will make the subsequent conversation a bit awkward… If you feel the need to make it very visible, you could maybe just add the word „Retracted“ to the nomination heading or something.)

2 Likes

TUGUMI

Author: 吉本ばなな (Yoshimoto Banana)

Summary

Japanese

病弱で生意気な美少女つぐみ。彼女と姉妹のように育った海辺の小さな町に帰省した私は、まだ淡い夜の始まりに、つぐみとともにふるさとの最後のひと夏を過ごす少年に出会った――。少女から大人へと移りゆく季節の、二度とかえらないきらめきを描く、切なく透明な物語。第二回山本周五郎賞受賞作。

English

Tsugumi is a sickly but feisty and somewhat unpleasant young girl living in a small Japanese seaside town at the family inn with her parents, sister Yoko, aunt Masako, and cousin Maria (the protagonist). Following the divorce of Maria’s father, Maria and Masako move to Tokyo to be with him, where Maria attends university. Shortly after the move, Maria receives a call from Tsugumi to say that the family are selling the inn. Maria returns to the town for one last summer to remember her childhood and reconcile her strained relationship with Tsugumi while she still can. But then they didn’t realize the true display of true will.
(taken from Wikipedia)

Availability

Amazon
Bookwalker

Personal Opinion

We read another book of this author, “Kitchen”, a while ago in this book club, and I thought it might be about time to try some more of her writing. I was a bit torn between this book, which contains one long story, and another one (called とかげ), which contains 6 short stories. In the end I thought that it might be nicer for the book club to have an ongoing story, so it might be easier to settle into the narrative and discuss the ongoing events etc. If we pick and like this one, I might end up nominating the other one at a later point in time :wink:

Pros and Cons for the Book Club

Pros

  • We already read a book by the same author (“Kitchen”), and it was quite well-received
  • Not too long at 245 pages.
  • Won the Yamamoto Shuugorou Prize (which is awarded annually to a new work of fiction considered to exemplify the art of storytelling) in 1989
  • Available in English as “Goodbye Tsugumi”

Cons

  • When reading Kitchen, I sometimes found the author’s way of writing to be a bit vague and thus slightly more difficult to understand than a straightforward narrative.

Pictures

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
  • Moderate effort
  • Significant effort
  • So much effort my head might explode
  • I don’t know

0 voters

4 Likes

All, if you can spare some time it would be great if you could take a look at the nominations (especially the most recent ones) and rate them for their difficulty!

You can find the links to all active nominations in the OP:

Each nomination contains some sample pages for you to look at, and a poll with which you can rate the perceived difficulty (for you, as of now). These ratings will be displayed in the poll to help inform everybody’s decisions.

Thank you!

2 Likes

Lots of good looking options!
here you go @NicoleRauch

6 Likes

Thank you @rodan !

It’s Show Poll Time!

Have a look at the List of Proposed Books section in the first post for details on each book. Every book has a difficulty associated with it (based on book club members voting, thus subjective) out of 5, where 1 means “no effort at all” and 5 means “impossible, even with everyone’s help”. The difficulty is annotated in square brackets after the book’s name.

Do not rely solely on difficulty when making a choice. Please have a look at nomination posts if you haven’t already.

Expected reading pace: We aim to read books at ~15 pages per week (that number might vary a bit throughout, depending on the book’s breaks and chapters). For manga, depending on difficulty and chapter length, we will probably read one to several chapters per week. The pick’s exact reading schedule will be negotiated before the book club kicks off.

Start of Book Club: We will start the next book on Oct 23rd (after a one-week break).

Poll duration: I will close the poll within a week (and most likely before that), whenever it looks like voting has dried up. You can choose up to 5 options .

  • ブギーポップは笑わない [2.94]
  • ポーション頼みで生き延びます! [3.54]
  • All You Need Is Kill [3.4]
  • ifの悲劇 (if no higeki) [2.5]
  • もやしもん - Tales of Agriculture [2.82]
  • ヨコハマ買い出し紀行 [1.82]
  • きらきらひかる [2.63]
  • 日本人の知らない日本語 [2.31]
  • 山と食欲と私 [2.5]
  • くま クマ 熊 ベアー [2.36]
  • 天気の子 [2.64]
  • ガイコツ書店員本田さん (Skull-face Bookseller Honda-san) [2.45]
  • リング [2.67]
  • 地球星人 [2.69]
  • City [2.56]
  • TUGUMI [2]

0 voters

6 Likes

For my vote I prioritized stuff I knew I wanted to read but wouldn’t get around to for a long time otherwise (since those are the books I’d most likely start participating for), and avoided things I’ve already read or from authors I already knew I definitely wanted to read but maybe wanted to start with a different book,
but that said, ヨコハマ買い出し紀行 and ガイコツ書店員本田さん are both really fun, so +1 recommendation for those whether for a book club or not!

9 Likes

Theoretically, if a manga were to win the poll, how would we handle it? Would we do it like the BBC and read one volume before moving on to the second place choice? Or would we read a few volumes?

I was actually wondering about that as well today :wink:

The way the BBC does it, they will only read the second place winner if the first place winner is short enough (I think 6 weeks or less) because in that case the vote for the next poll would just be super close to the previous one, and that’s a bit useless.
Having said that, it all depends on the schedule we will pick for the first place. E.g. Yokohama consists of a prologue + 7 chapters, and those are fairly short (15 - 20 pages), so given this is the Intermediate Club, I was wondering whether we’d want to read two chapters per week, putting us at a total of 4 weeks for the whole manga. In that case we’d read the second winner straight away. But if we decide we only want to read one chapter per week (because maybe they are very hard? I don’t know the manga yet) then the schedule would span 8 weeks, and we’d have another vote for the next book after that.

Yokohama’s very airy and calm in a way where there aren’t many words. Difficulty would probably mostly be just casual/dialect stuff. A quicker schedule would likely be fine (although the pace of the story might promote reading it slowly and basking in the scenery and vibe)
I remember Hondasan as being more dense with words and references and stuff - it’s pretty frenetic.

7 Likes

Agreed! But since this is the IBC I think two chapters per week should be doable since the chapters are all on the shorter side with 15-20 pages. And the language itself isn’t too difficult from what I remember, there’s just a lot going on :sweat_smile:

2 Likes

I see, thanks for your insights! Even if we did two chapters per week, that would mean maybe 40 pages, i.e. ~6 pages per day, which I think should be fine for basking I guess… Also, people are always free to read it more slowly ofc, but I would not want to drag the book club out too much if there is no real need language-wise. (Also, I checked its nomination post, and it also suggests a 4-week schedule followed by reading the second place. So it seems like we all agree on that bit :blush:)

4 Likes

Yes, there’s a bit of dialect and some technical words, but there’s also a lot of pages with no dialogue and just vibe. It really reminds me of ARIA.
Nominating it here was purely for the selfish goal of reading it quicker than the BBC :stuck_out_tongue:

6 Likes

Not so “quick” if it takes over a year to win a poll (if it does end up winning). :stuck_out_tongue:

2 Likes

Yes, that’s why I went ahead and read it on my own anyway :joy: I’m still looking forward to read it again with others, though :slight_smile:

2 Likes

The Poll Has Spoken

and we have two very clear winners: ヨコハマ買い出し紀行 and 地球星人 :tada:

We will start reading ヨコハマ買い出し紀行 on Oct 23rd.
If we go with a 4-week schedule for it, plus a 1-week break as usual, then we will start reading 地球星人 on Nov 27th.

@Naphthalene and @Phryne, I’ll hand this over to you :bowing_woman:


Another interesting outcome of this poll is the enormous amount of nominations that fell below the 20% mark. Besides the two winners, only three other books could get more than 20%.

That means we need to say goodbye to the following nominations:

  • All You Need Is Kill
  • もやしもん - Tales of Agriculture
  • ブギーポップは笑わない
  • ポーション頼みで生き延びます!

If it turns out to be unpopular in the next poll as well, we will then also need to say goodbye to ifの悲劇.

A few other books are on their first stint of being not so popular, and the next two polls will decide their fate.

Having said that, I think that the members of this reading club have changed quite a bit over the past year or so, and so it seems only natural that older proposals get out of fashion and new ones pop up. I’m looking forward to a new round of fresh and interesting nominations :blush:

13 Likes

Here we go! We can figure out the schedule over there :slight_smile:

5 Likes