Level+1 Reading Challenge 📚📈

Thank you for the warning! I originally added this book to my wish list based on a review on natively, actually. I re read it and I’m still curious about the book so I do want to attempt reading it eventually, but will keep it in the back of my mind to be a bit wary of sus content.

If I may ask, which book did you read that was so horrible? I don’t like gore for its own sake either, so I’ll be sure to steer clear.

2 Likes

冗談に殺す | L35 is the short story in question. I got maybe halfway through before I noped out hard. I left a review and Brandon added a disclaimer to that story as I’d noted it during submission

Edit: 『冗談に殺す (Kindle)』|感想・レビュー - 読書メーター
BookMeter reviews

2 Likes

I read about 100 pages of that a couple years ago. I honestly think 52 is way too high, it feels more like 雪国, but it was a while ago so I may be misremembering.

I only remember the basic premise (minor spoiler; I think that’s made clear in the first 10 pages or so)(main character wakes up in a mental hospital not remembering anything; turns out he was not sane for a while and did something very bad™ to get here but the treatment seems to work; he tries to piece together what happened ‘cause people are really elusive) but it’s possible that it will involve something I would not like to read later on.

3 Likes

Yeah, I personally don’t want to risk it. I can handle a lot of things but animals gets me every time. From the way my friend described it 夢野 is kind of known for grotesque and disgusting writing which just isn’t my vibe at all. I love murder books, sure, but the fun is in the solving (and the drama of the relationships) rather than the act itself.

Also, seeing the content warning on that short story reminded me that we do sort of have that capability, so I put in a request on 遺書 for it to have one as well as to be moved from Short Stories to Other.

4 Likes
Level Book Type Finished
19 ふらいんぐうぃっち (series) | L19 Manga July 4 2022
20
21 ごんぎつね (おはなし名作絵本 1) | L21 Children’s book October 6 2022
22 カードキャプターさくら 1 | L22 Manga June 24 2022
23 夜カフェ 1 | L23 Children’s book September 28 2022
24
25 極主夫道 1 | L25 Manga June 24 2022
26
27
28 ヲタクに恋は難しい (series) | L28 Manga June 27 2022
29
30 魔道祖師 1 | L30?? Novel currently reading
31
32
33 三毛猫ホームズの推理 | L33 Novel October 4 2022

I will have to fill in the gaps first, because it would annoy me otherwise.
Also after 15 pages I’d say 魔道祖師 is higher than 30… It might be because it is my first fantasy book, although not the first one set in the ahistorical past. But I keep looking up words in the dictionary, way often than for 三毛猫ホームズの推理, which is level 33. Although it’s a different genre (modern murder mystery/detective), which could be the reason. Then again, MDZS is also murder mystery after a fashion xD

(woops seems like sth went wrong with my formatting, will take a look at it after work)

7 Likes

Looks like you just need an extra date column at the end of your header, since some of your rows have five columns.

Hope you enjoy 魔道祖師, by the way! I’ve been reading it in English so far, but I’ve got all the JP books sitting on my shelf, waiting on me to open them. :sweat_smile: I’m curious how difficult they end up being to read.

2 Likes

It could be that you used — instead of -. :slight_smile:

1 Like

you were absolutely right! thank you

1 Like

i totally love it! it’s why i’ve read the english version last year, watched the drama, watched the donghua/anime, and i am somewhat following the manhua. There is also audio drama for it that i am sloooowly going through. i have trouble with purely audio mediums (though there are english subtitles to read of course).
honestly, knowing the story helps with comprehension especially since there are many xianxia/wuxia-specific words that would make comprehension more difficult otherwise. and if something doesn’t make sense to me, i can compare the english translation with the japanese one. though of course it is often not a 1-1 translation from the original either…

4 Likes
Off topic

TGCF also has a Japanese translation, if you haven’t seen that yet:
天官賜福 1 | L30??

Yet another one on my bookshelf… (Sorry for jumping off topic!)

1 Like
off topic

hilariously, i haven’t read tgcf in english yet! mostly because it’s such a behemoth. i have english volumes 1-4 though, and i will be getting the rest as well. i will possibly start reading after the official translation is done. not sure if i will attempt the japanese translation for it, i guess it will depend on how taxing japanese mdzs will be.

i do NOT have bookshelf space. most of my books are ebooks for that reason… and also because shipping price often sucks

1 Like

I wasn’t planning to do this challenge, but I just scrolled through my library for fun and found that I’ve covered everything from 18 through 40 except 19 and 38. I have other reading plans lined up for the next month or so, but… I’d be open to suggestions for these two spots if anyone has some!

Edit: I’m planning to read 風立ちぬ | L42 and 夜は短し歩けよ乙女 | L44 quite soon, which would leave gaps at 41 and 43, so feel free to suggest those too

5 Likes

IMO 魔道祖師 is not even close to level 30. I think it’s easily in the 35 to 40 range. If somebody tried to read it without prior knowledge of the story, I wouldn’t be surprised if they graded it higher because of the plot, time jumps, and character list.

I looked at a preview of the JP version after seeing you mention it a few weeks ago. (And ended up deciding to read it in English instead, and fell down the rabbit hole) Just skimming the first chapter/s I’d say it’s harder than fantasy books like 鹿の王 and 十二国記, both of which are currently at level 35 with several readers. I think it’s harder than 彩雲国物語, a light novel series which I think is harder than both of them, and is even set in a fantasy world inspired by ancient China. If you look at previews of any of these books you’ll instantly see that they’re all easier.

Fantasy books which were originally written in Japanese, even if they’re in a Chinese-style setting, are still very Japanese. The flow of the sentences, the pacing of the story. Characters might have names with obscure kanji, but if a Japanese author wrote it then we’ll probably be able to read them with reasonable comfort because those obscure kanji have really obvious onyomi that we can guess/remember from the radicals even if we’ve never seen it before. (薬屋のひとりごと is an exception) They’re likely to be consistent with everything we’ve learned about Japanese so far, even if the words and kanji are uncommon or invented.

The Chinese names in 魔道祖師 with the katakana Mandarin on the side is a whole other headache. It’s not inherently hard to remember that a kanji has yet another reading (because we have to learn so many in Japanese anyway), but trying to mentally read something with Mandarin pronunciation when it’s in the middle of a Japanese sentence is IMO super confusing. If the reader needs to learn to recognize a bunch of new kanji and readings, whether it’s for names or vocabulary, it’s still work.

On top of that, it’s just a hard story. It’s constantly jumping backwards and forwards in time. There’s a huge cast of characters, and they all have multiple names and titles. Even reading it in English, I can’t honestly say I was able to follow the plot well. The 3 other fantasy books I mentioned all have simpler plots which are easier to follow. Anyway, all of that was just to say that it’s definitely well above level 30, so give yourself some credit for tackling it.

5 Likes

ah, this makes me feel better. thank you! i only just started reading in japanese this year, so my repertoire is small, and i don’t have yet the sense to correctly judge a book’s level, much less feel confident in it.

if i hadn’t known the story beforehand, with all its different names for people and the setting’s conventions, i would have given up on the first page. even now i sometimes have to stop and think “who the hell is it?” for the less appearing characters, and have to check the glossary on the first page for what they are referencing to with some of the “cultivation world”-related stuff.

ah… this makes me happy :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

5 Likes

Yes, I read the English translation of the first volume recently (it was amazing!) and it’s on the “in the far-off future” section of my Mandarin TBR :sweat_smile: Respect to anyone reading it in Japanese!

3 Likes

I’m planning to start 三体 | L30?? soon and I just read through the character list (+descriptions) at the start and oof do I see what you mean. Keeping track of character names is going to be an extra layer of complication here. I hadn’t even really thought of that tbh, just figured a book translated to Japanese from Chinese when I wanted to read it in English anyhow would be fun :sweat_smile:

As a note it also will more than likely not be a 30 level book once graded, but I’ve no idea yet how tricky or not it may be

5 Likes

Three body problem is amazing. I read the English version and I’m listening to the JP audiobook.

1 Like

I got so excited when you said there was a JP audiobook but the US audible only has 三体X and none of the other books :sob: Looks like it’s an Audible exclusive too, so can’t get it from other platforms. I hope they release it to the US market soon.
Luckily (?) my partner (who I’m supposed to read along with) has not been good about starting the book so I haven’t gotten far into it.

1 Like

This is such a great idea, and definitely something I would benefit from, given how little I budge from my comfort zone.
I’ve read from L19 to L37 (missing L21, L23 and L36) and I’ve just finished reading 店長がバカすぎて | L30 so I think I’m going to start from there. :smiley_cat:

Level Book Type Finished
30 店長がバカすぎて | L30 Novel November 25 2022
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
5 Likes