Week 1 - この本を盗む者は 📚 🪄 (Advanced Book Club)

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Welcome to week 1 of この本を盗む者は :books: :magic_wand:


Discussion Threads and Reading Schedule

We will start reading on February 4th, 2023. Page counts are estimates from a digital edition. Please reference the stopping points as there are few chapters.

Week Start Date Chapter Start Page Page Count
Week 1 Feb 04 Up until starred section - last sentence ending with ぺーじを繰った 8 26

Discussion Rules

  • Please use spoiler tags for major events in the current chapter(s) and any content in future chapters.
  • When asking for help, please mention the chapter and page number. Also mention what version of the book you are reading.
  • Don’t be afraid of asking questions, even if they seem embarrassing at first. All of us are here to learn.
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Are you planning to read week 1 of この本を盗む者は :books: :magic_wand: with the book club?

  • Yes
  • Not sure
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Special Readings

This book has been noted as having irregular kanji and made up names. There is a wiki of these in the bottom of the first post in the home thread.


Week 1 completed!

I know the question of difficulty came up and my personal, subjective opinion is that this probably falls somewhere around a Natively 33 based on what I’ve read so far. A decent scattering of unusual words, but they seem to always get furigana the first time they’re shown and the writing style is straightforward narration. Additionally, so far most of the unusual words are either specific to books (makes sense for the topic!), kanji for commonly kana words like 茄子, or are colors. Maybe it will advance in difficulty, maybe or won’t, but I have full faith the ABC readers can handle it.

Plot wise I’m itching to read on. I feel like we stopped just as things are about to get really interesting! Is Mashiro a book incarnate? Does she live in the books? Why is she wearing the same uniform as Mifuyu? Does she just look like whoever sees her? So many questions! Also is a supernatural being stealing the books? And why?


I haven’t really started yet, but on the first page I caught ひしがた and was like “I know that!”. All that time I spent learning math terms in Japanese is paying off! :laughing:


I can’t get over the fact that someone is named ひるね. I don’t know if it’s actually a common name or what, but a 昼寝 is always welcome in my books!

There seems to be some kind of variant of the kanji 文 in the sentence
…向かいに座っていた同じ学校の女子と目が合った。メガネをかけ、手には文庫本。(p. 8 hardcover)
[Edit: it seems to recur in every usage of 文.]


The website moji.tekkai.com lists it under 包摂字形 (whatever that means) Anyone know why it is being used here? Is it even a conscious decision by the author, or just a font thing?


From this explanation, 包摂字形 basically refers to when multiple characters get subsumed into the same unicode character.

For this case though, I believe that means it’s a font issue. Since that character was subsumed into 文 for unicode purposes, it should show up “normally” if the font uses the standard style. I just converted the book to HTML, and it renders normally on my browser, so I think that’s proof.


That makes sense. Instead of an extra stroke, I guess it’s more like a serif. I noticed the 丈 and 父 have it too.

Since there is so much ground to cover, I am glossing over many tiny things that I would normally look up or—failing that—ask about. But there is one part I feel way too lost on:

(p. 11 hcover)


  • There has been 3 incidents of complaints, but she only describes 2 incidents? I thought she was listing them with 最初は and 昨日は, but then she’s done. Or is the 市役所からも電話あったし the 3rd occasion?
  • Does this むき出し mean naked? Is ひるね naked or are the bento without wrappers? In the former case, is she just doing the thing where you throw out the trash in your loungewear except she wears nothing when home alone? If it’s the latter, why would throwing away bento without wrappers be a problem?
  • The alarm goes off every 30 mins, but continues for 3 hours?
  • We don’t know (yet) why the alarms are going off, right?

Those first couple pages are brutal. I think I got everything, but I had to read a few parts multiple times. But come own, don’t blandly narrate to the readers to start the book!


FWIW in Bookwalker the character also looks normal, so even more proof for the font theory.

p11 hardcover answers
  • Yeah, this isn’t an exhaustive list of all the complaints.
  • I take this to mean “dumping the bentou boxes in the garbage collection area without putting them in a trash bag first”. (Not putting your rubbish out for collection in the right way at the right time is a serious social sin in Japan :-))
  • Yes, it’s “every 30 minutes for 3 hours”. Presumably like one of those car alarms that isn’t allowed to sound continuously for a long time, so it goes off periodically instead.
  • No, we don’t. Given the characters are being pretty unworried about it, they must be assuming that Hirune did something dumb like opening a window or a door without turning off the alarm system first and then didn’t fix it for ages.

It’s an interesting stylistic choice – maybe the author is going for a bit more of a fairytale atmosphere with the slow background-history start?


I have to say that as a protection against theft this curse seems rather poorly targeted – so far it seems to have put Hirune to sleep and is dragging Mifuyu into who-knows-what and hasn’t apparently much deterred or inconvenienced the actual thief…


Riiiight that makes a lot of sense. Thanks! ^-^* Good to know ひるね is not quite at the level of eccentricity to walk around naked outside without care. :stuck_out_tongue:

I remember when I was in Tokyo some of the garbage piles would have some of the bags ripped open by pests (birds, I think?). I imagine throwing away bento boxes without a trashbag might exacerbate the issue.


Made it to the end of week 1 as well!

p11 answers

Some more input for @Gyoshi:

Also, buying a trash bag is the way to pay for garbage collection (at least in the places that I know). So no trash bag → no fees paid…

I imagined that theft system to be affixed to the books themselves, i.e. when somebody lifts a book, the alarm would go off? So I figured that Hirune would walk around taking books from the shelves, which would trigger the alarm.
But thinking about it, this would render the books pretty much unusable, so maybe not :upside_down_face:

Yes, it totally felt like a fairytale… :dizzy_face:

Do you have any particular examples? I was very much on my toes while reading (basically because of the Natively rating), and I was waiting for language complications, but I thought it was surprisingly simple and straightforward. Now I wonder whether I missed something :sweat_smile:

I must say when I was about 10 pages in, I was like, ok I know where this is going:
There is this teenager who hates books (as she said often enough), she will face some adventures and in the end she will love books. :woozy_face:
But now that I finished the first section, I think it’s indeed a bit more interesting, with the sleeping beauty auntie and the white haired schoolgirl/ghost.


Nothing in particular. As I said, I think I got everything, and at this point I don’t remember what sentences I had to reread. It’s possible I’m a little slower than usual because the start of the book club happened to coincide with a very busy period at work, so I’m more tired in the evening than I usually would be.

(Case in point: I’m responding from my work computer at 6pm, and usually I finish work by 4:30pm)

By the way, don’t let your guard down until we get to some of the crazier parts of the book. Someone mentioned an Amazon review of the book talking about some reasons it was difficult, and we certainly haven’t gotten to that (much) yet.


So maybe here’s an example. Because it’s definitely the general narration as it relates to the setup and setting that I’ve been struggling with. I’d love to get feedback as to whether this is actually somewhat confusing or if I’m just really terrible at this reading thing really worn out from work.

Example at 6%


Now that I figured it out, in retrospect it doesn’t seem that complicated. But I read the bolded part like five times before I realized what it was saying.

Also more generally, I’ve been doing a ton of lookups so far. To the point that if I was reading this with a physical copy I absolutely would have dropped it already. (To be fair, I’ve completely other books with similarly many lookups, it’s just more time consuming and annoying.)

I’m just hoping I can keep up because of my work load right now. Normally (if the book keeps my interest) this pace wouldn’t be a problem, but I already probably won’t finish this week’s short assignment until close to the end of the week. Next week’s assignment being nearly twice as long might be rough since I don’t expect my work to settle down for at least another 2-4 weeks.

Question around 6%


I’m assuming インテリア用にと装幀が美しい本 means “beautiful books (cover, etc.) for the purpose for interior decorating”, but what’s with the にと?

6% reply

I think you’ve slightly misparsed that – the part of the sentence that modifies 本 is only 装幀が美しい – the customers come to buy beautiful books to use them for interior decor, rather than the books being made to be used that way. Anyway, にと: the と here is the quotative particle, and it’s quoting a phrase that ends with に, to show the reasons why the customers have come to buy these books. I think you can think of this as if there was an omitted 言って or 思って or similar after the と.

This stack-exchange question/answer is a good description, working from a textbook example sentence はやはながさくようにと、 毎日水まいにちみずをやっている.

6% reply

That makes sense. When I read it I saw the と and scanned ahead, but only saw 買いに来る, so I was like “that’s not quoting anything!”. Thanks for clearing that up.

1 Like
Example at 6% reply

I think what makes this sentence a bit harder to parse than usual is that it’s a bit of a non sequitur—at least to my reading of it: “People come from all over, but barely anyone read the reference books and knows since when the 神 of 書物 has been enshrined here.”

Like…ok? Why would people need to know this? Why the need to mention reference books? I feel like maybe it’s a ham-fisted attempt at introducing us to the reference books in the library which might be important later in the story, hinting also that they contain info about the 神.

about that 6%, page 21 stuff

I think the point here is that (as Mifuyu knows and we’ve been told) this whole “book town” and “book shrine” thing is pretty recent, but none of these hordes of visitors coming to put up wishes and prayers know that, even though it’s not a secret, it’s all in the local history bit of the library if you look it up. Mifuyu doesn’t like the festival, and she doesn’t like all these tourists either. This is all more or less her PoV and this bit of text is portraying the people who come and write “please make me a successful author!” prayers as fools who’ve been taken in by the canny marketing of the shrine, town and shops.


I haven’t finished this section yet (only halfway through), but I have to say I’d love to move to 読長町. 50-ish book related shops nearby each other? Yes please!