What are you reading today?

Can’t say I’m surprised there

Ahh that’s disappointing…

I just finished vol 7 of the manga, and enjoyed it. While it’s mostly not the focus, there are some parts that show where Rae has had a hard time bc of her sexuality - and it’s interesting to see how that plays into her character and actions in the present. It’s one of my favorite things about the series.

I’ve got one more chapter to go b4 I can start reading this year’s magazine chapters, and be current with another YH series :slight_smile: It’s making me increasingly interested to check out the LNs tho… Cuz I’m curious about to what extent certain parts are embellished, as well as how certain things are portrayed or handled in the novels.

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I kept going and started reading volume 2, and it has been in here too, through the interactions with マナリア. I may be projecting here, but it doesn’t feel like that book was written with a straight audience in mind, and I do appreciate that. At the same time, the end of the chapter I just read (when レイ “wins back” クレア and マナリア leaves) feels like wish fulfillment just as much as typical cis-het LNs, just a different type of wish :sweat_smile: I do like it, though.

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Oh yeah, that got really heavy… I actually wasn’t so crazy about that arc in the anime (not bc of the heavy part per se). There’s a scene involving マナリア’s background that I’m curious about that the anime apparently misportrayed… But I’m not sure when the LN gives the full info about it… So I won’t ask for now.

I also get that impression from the anime/manga, and considering the author is also a lesbian (whose wife looks just like Rae apparently), and seemingly has a complex relationship with gender it seems entirely possible.

And yeah, that part was very wish fulfilly… Which I had mixed feelings about (tho I don’t mind wish fulfillment stuff per se). Again I wonder if it’s better in the LNs

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Well, except if that character comes back, I don’t think we’ll get more (it was a lot, too).

マナリア mentioned falling in love with a maid and (somewhat inadvertently) abusing her power to sleep with her. The maid eventually ran away. Then マナリア started going wild with the brothel instead, since there’s no power dynamics there besides money (which, to me, is a pretty strong power dynamic in its own right, but anyway), got found out and lost claim on the throne due to being one of “the gayz”.

I don’t trust random comments on reddit as sources, but the author mentions in the あとがき at the end of the first volume that that story wouldn’t have been possible without their partner. The writing implies it’s a same sex relationship (well, at least from a legal point of view, the author could be transmasc for all I know) but no gender mention here. I’m kinda curious about the あとがき of this volume (especially since we reach the end of the original story).

Anyway, since I kept thinking about this series over the past few days, I ended up buying all the remaining volumes.

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It makes me so unreasonably happy that you seem to have gotten so into it so quickly. It’s making me want to pick up the second volume even though I know it’s gonna take me waaay too long to finish

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Mm, that sorta answers, but I think I’d have to read it to be sure. I’ll leave it at that for now. Thx for the summary!

Yeah, that’s very fair. I did some more digging, and found the following: https://web.archive.org/web/20200514205403/https://twitter.com/inori_narou/status/1260677589858836480

(And the general topic that tweet is addressing is something I think about often as well).


There’s also some (so far) really good portrayal of gender dysphoria, with a side character or two… Which really caught me by surprise! Although thinking back, this may be part of how this book ended up on my list on the first place

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I am joining a book club and there’s a book I need to finish because I’m late to return it to the library. Brain, what should we do? Brain: let’s start a new series!

The tone was quite different from the first volume, but it’s nice so far.

Wow, that page shows the author posting in Japanese (of course), English, and Korean?? That’s quite impressive.

Getting side-tracked

That was also interesting to read. Sadly, I’m unfamiliar with both twitter and the webarchive, so I can’t check what triggered that conversation. So, speaking purely in the absolute, not necessarily related to that conversation, I feel like people need experience about something to write it well. It doesn’t need to be first hand experience though, but knowing the person has that experience can be reassuring before starting to read a book. You will of course find out while reading the book if it’s good or not, but that’s a time (and money) investment.
What confuses me more is that the discussion seemed to be in response to people who are already familiar with the work. If you’ve read something and you liked it, then, that’s it. Nothing the author can do or say (or be, in this case) matters. Death of the author.

That’s good to know! I kept expecting マナリア to come out as transmasc, but that was not the case. I even had to catch myself a couple of times using “he” instead of “she” when writing so far :sweat_smile:

I have a much less glamorous reason. 2 and a half year ago, @seanblue told me something to the effect of “you’ve read 5 trillion 悪役令嬢 series but not this one, how comes?”
(The reason is that it’s a kindle exclusive)

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Well, all this talk of 私の推しは悪役令嬢。 | L33 has done me in, and I started reading it… I’m just doing a page or two at a time tho. It feels a lot easier than I expected… even on pgs where I have around 20 lookups, it never really feels hard or overwhelming

I’m also reading:

LNs

Manga

Hopefully I won’t impulsively decide to start anything else new soon :sweat_smile:

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I got to around page 200 in 小さいおうち | L40 and ended up racing to the last page, and…welp :face_holding_back_tears: that was an amazing book. I’ve been reading a lot of bangers lately but this will surely end up in my top 5 for 2024. It was kind of a slow burn in the first half but I’m glad I stuck it out and finished it. I really recommend it to anyone who likes historical fiction or wants to read a very well done human drama.

Sigh, I almost feel like I’m going to get a book hangover now. :face_exhaling: I will preemptively try to treat my hangover by staying hydrated and reading 阿修羅ガール | L30??, which I expect will give me whiplash since it seems crazy based on the summaries, reviews, and 立ち読み preview. :laughing:

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I’ve been slowly reading through 日本語で読むということ | L40?? . Slowly partly because I have a couple of book club books I’m also reading and so this is the end of the week book that I only read when I’m done with the book club reading, but also because Mizumura writes at a difficulty level that means it’s a slowish read for me. This book is a collection of her non fiction writing that was originally published in various magazines or newspapers in the 1990s and 2000s. It’s been arranged thematically (writing about books she’s read, autobiographical/memoir type stuff, writing about her own books, and about work in general) but there’s no particular throughline or argument, so it’s a good book to pick up, read an essay or two and then not touch for another week. The pieces vary in length from as short as a single page up to about ten pages at the long end. The one I read last night was a series of character sketches of people the author met when she was living in Paris, originally published in the Asahi Shimbun.

When I bought this I was hoping for non fiction writing that was making an argument, like her book 増補 日本語が亡びるとき: 英語の世紀の中で | L40 , but it has (so far) not been that kind of essay. There is a second volume of the author’s non-fiction 日本語で書くということ | L40?? which judging from the Amazon reviews seems to have her more heavyweight writing. I’ll probably pick that up at some point.

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I just finished reading my first Japanese book, また、同じ夢を見ていた. I really enjoyed it and noticed the difference in my reading ability from beginning to end.

For my second book I have just started reading コンビニ人間. I also have the audiobook for it, so i both listen to it when i’m busy, and read it actively when I am not. I’m only at the start but I am enjoying it.

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Ok this has been bothering me since I saw the わたおし anime… Rae sometimes uses クレア様で遊ぶ, to which Claire quips about the fact that she should be using と instead of で - ex: だって、学院辞めたらクレア様で遊べないじゃないですか」 「だからその格助詞の使い方やめて下さらない!!」

What exactly is the difference here? In the first place, why is she using で, and what would it mean/imply?

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で indicates the mean, と togetherness.
She is playing with her the same way one would play with a toy.

(It thus means that クレア is being played with, rather than being a play partner)

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Since @Naphthalene was faster, have at least some example sentences I found here:

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@Naphthalene @Legato - thank you both. That’s wonderful :slight_smile:

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Updates from me.

I finished あひる | L26 , and enjoyed the other two stories (although あひる was the best imo).

I’m halfway through カツラ美容室別室 | L30?? by 山崎 ナオコーラ. It’s an everyday drama about a pair teetering on the boundary of friendship and romance, and I think is written very nicely.

The narrative is on the shoulder of the male character, 淳之介, and while mostly being a nice guy, something I’ve found a bit offputting is the way he introduces people.
E.g.

奥二重、大きな口、美人ではない。
Or
桃井さんは、茶色いショートカットで、眼鏡をかけていた。百五十五センチくらいで、ちょっとふくよかな感じの女の子だった。

I feel like I have noticed this before in other books, so maybe I’m just reading the bluntness into it, and a native speaker might not.

Is such focusing on e.g. height, facial features, fairly normal? Or would others also read into it a bit of over-obession with looks from the protagonist?

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It’s hard to say for me without reading the book, but physical features aren’t always prominent, no. It could be that the protagonist cares about them a lot.

I haven’t read any books from 山﨑ナオコーラ、but I have read two other books where she wrote the 解説 and in both she mentioned her own physical appearance and the appearance of others, so I got the feeling it’s an important part of her writing. Maybe in that book there is some kind of bigger point or commentary to it somewhere too?

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If it’s just in the introduction of the characters I’d read it as trying to give us an idea of what they look like, from the MC’s perspective which will have the color of whether or not he finds them attractive. If it’s repeatedly brought up, it would read as looks-focused.

I’ve definitely read books where every character is introduced with details on their physical appearance and it usually feels more like the author is trying to give a fleshed out view of what the characters are like more than anything else. But I’ve also read a book or two where only female characters get details and men are just…presumably man shaped :joy: Those have a different vibe.

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Thank you both!

It does seem like it only happened in the introduction of characters, I haven’t noticed it later on. So maybe I should chalk it up to scene setting.

I do find it funny that in the first few pages, I learnt there’s a 155cm tall woman, and a just under 170cm tall woman, and a 180cm tall man :rofl:

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Related to that, I’ve always found the emphasis on “いい匂い” of the romantic interest(s), in Japanese fiction, a bit strange. That kind of remark comes up so much more frequently than it would in a similar work of fiction that would have been written by a Western author. Perhaps, part of my reaction is due to hearing in various places that deodorant and perfume are a lot less prevalent in Japan (not sure how true that hearsay is), so it feels surprising that a society with low perfume usage would “highly” value smelling good.

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