Week 1: 狼と香辛料 - Spice and Wolf 🐺

Some of the illustration choices are… not ideal. And I could do with fewer references to how beautiful the teenager 600 year old is :roll_eyes:. But maybe light novels are just like that. Hopefully we get to the business-y stuff soon.

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I think that initial colour and first in-text illustration are pretty much the only ones like that (i.e. naked Horo) in the entire 20+ volume series. It’s a terrible first impression :frowning:


I don’t think I know any (supposedly) advanced books that I’d want to read. And with intermediate book club, I prefer to read by myself at this point since the 15 pages per week is too slow for me.

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I don’t have an exact count, but I highlighted a little over 100 words in the entire first chapter (not just the first week’s part). I highlight only a portion of the words I look up though, so I don’t know how many words I looked up in total. Certainly nowhere close to 300 in 10 pages though. :sweat_smile:


I used this book as my test jpdb.io book, which has been interesting. Normally I would just read through a book in this series without worrying too much about dictionary lookups, but jpdb has been presenting me with a fairly large set of words I don’t in fact know and would have been blithely skimming past…


Oh that’s interesting! Did you look at the jpdb.io words in order of appearance while reading the book? I tried that way, way back with the very first book I read, while using FloFlo, but that page did not work too well for this purpose. So I learned to use dictionaries and never looked back :woman_shrugging: But maybe I should give this method a try once more as it’s probably a bit faster than looking up the words…


I did a little bit of that but then switched to by-frequency-in-book. Since I uploaded my core10k anki deck it already knew a lot of my ‘known words’, so I’ve been able to work through all the “appears more than once” words in the book. I made liberal use of the ‘I will never forget this’ button, but I’ve still added 500 or so words into SRS one way or another.

If I had another book I was currently reading that jpdb had a deck for I’d probably start on that rather than ploughing through all the appears-only-once words; but its non-light-novel coverage is sadly quite minimal.


jpdb has been working awesome for me. After I marked a lot of words that I already know, and then started studying the ones I don’t for Spice and Wolf, I read pretty quickly because I recognized all the words that I’d been studying.

Even if they are used once I want to know them all since I plan on reading the whole S&W series. Some of them were wrong like I was studying 個展 and in the book it was actually an onomatopoeia and then I was like “okay I’m deleting this from my deck.”

I’ve also created a separate deck of words that I didn’t see included in the Spice and Wolf v1 deck. But while there are some hiccups here and there, it’s an amazing website and I’m sooo grateful for it!!!

If I do fall behind on studying, I can always show “new” and “learning” and “known” and sort chronologically. It works almost like an excel document that some book clubs use. Looking up every word in an electronic dictionary or my Japanese app on my phone is exhausting mentally and physically, so this is wonderful. And my known vocab will apply to future books!

And it’s also super satisfying on jpdb to see I know 75% of the book so far. I still have 4,000 vocabulary to look over, though!


Also like I’m botching the pitch accent for a lot of words I already know so I’m tempted to study them but then that’s pulling away from my vocabulary mission and I forgot 雨 was 頭高/pitch goes down, and not 平板/pitch goes up and stays up so I’m just :scream:

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The author is painting a vivid picture of fall - has me longing for the weather to turn where I’m at.

I’m having an easier time with Holo’s dialect than I was expecting so far. (famous last words)

I’m pretty guilty of abusing the kindle dictionary for vocab I don’t know, this book being no exception. You all are inspiring me to seek a more enlightened path.


I love the fall vibes too! It’s my favorite season.


Realized that the week’s almost over and read this week’s section.

I was surprised by how many words I had to look up!

I’ve been reading nothing but 本好き下剋上 for about a year and this was a good reminder that I need to read other books. Different authors and different stories use different words… but 本好き is so good ;_;

I also remember watching the anime back when I was in college and loving it. But that was long ago and I’ve forgotten a lot. I’m looking forward to reexperiencing the story. :smiley:


Ooh I so wondered about that too. I first interpreted it as referring to Holo, and I thought I got it wrong when I saw the translation. But re reading it, it seems really unspecified.

For context the sentence is
ただ、だからもう昔の約束を律儀に守る必要はないのかもしれないとも思った。」translated as “Perhaps it would be worse for them to go centuries without changing. “Maybe that is why there is no need for them to honor the ancient agreement, she thought."

I took a look at the French translation out of curiosity (since a friend has the physical book in French), and it didn’t say what language it was translated from. But you only need to compare a couple of sentences to tell it’s translated from English. AND botches it up too (literally the second line of chapter 1, it wrongly translates “on the nose” as “approximately”).


I’ve had similar problems, partly with vocab, partly with sentence structure, and partly with interest. I do try reading other books besides 本好き, but for some of them I take 3x longer than I would take to read a volume of 本好き because I don’t find it as interesting or something about how it’s written makes it more frustrating to read. I felt that with 薬屋のひとりごと and I’m feeling it now reading Red Data Girl. Thankfully I didn’t feel that when reading the first chapter of 狼と香辛料. Like I said above, I did look up more words than I “normally” would (aka in a volume of 本好き), but I generally felt like it was smooth to read. Similar to B3lisarius, I found Holo’s dialect to be a non-issue so far, so I could see myself reading more of this series if the rest of this volume stays similar in difficulty and remains enjoyable.


When I read the first few pages of 「狼と香辛料」I kept putting it down to read more 「本好き」because a particularly dramatic part had just ended and I wanted to know the aftermath. The very beginning of a new book just can’t live up to that. XD

I actually notified before I took the N1 during the summer JLPT that my reading was off even though I read a lot. I’d fallen into the cozy trap of being too familiar with one author’s writing style. :sob:

Now I can read one book do that series in 2 week, 1 if I really focus on reading, so it’s definitely time to branch out my reading on the side. :grimacing:


Or maybe it’s time to finish off that series and then branch out? :eyes:

Not that I’d do that, I can’t manage to stick to even one book at a time. I do believe it’s a valid strategy though. How many volumes of 本好き have you read btw?

At least so far it seems 狼と香辛料 might be a pretty good alternative at least difficulty wise. It also has a couple volumes less as a series. :stuck_out_tongue:

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I’m on volume 14 right now. Started it a few two days ago and I’m already 20% down with it.

I may have an addiction problem. orz

I’m also going to read a nonfiction book on Dyson because my husband has it and I need to read more nonfiction for the N1


Unfortunately 本好き isn’t finished publication (though it’s finished on narou, so might finish publication next year).

Now I understand why you couldn’t put it down! Volumes 13-15 are all quite good! (Volume 16, the most recent I’ve read, wasn’t that exciting. So if you do want to take a break, stopping after 15 (or even after 14) for a while might work well.)

If I ever take the N2 or N1, I will just have to hope for the best on the reading section. Biographies and much non-fiction in general puts me to sleep, and I have no intention of reading stuff like that just for test practice.


The poop certainly hit the fan in 13. I’m pleased with how everything’s working out, though. 29 books are out so far and I’m not at the point where I want to take a break yet.

I like reading in general. I’m usually reading 1 novel in Japanese, 1-2 in English, plus manga. Now I’m reading more Japanese novels and fewer English ones. XD

BUT I will admit that I usually read nonfiction before bed simply because it’s less likely to have a DRAMATIC plot twist or something that keeps me up all night. e_e


Equally interestingly, over the course of the last month some of the words jpdb has been having me learn have then been showing up in entirely different books I have been reading. So it definitely feels like a bit more active SRSing of vocabulary from novels has been worthwhile.