Currently Reading: 『ビブリア古書堂の事件手帖』by En MIKAMI

I know that I should not be starting a new book right now, but this is what happened:

The Drama

I started watching the drama 『ビブリア古書堂の事件手帖』and I liked it very much. Then I learnt that the drama was an adaptation of a light novel by author En MIKAMI (三上延). Some days later, I found this very novel in a bookshop, piled up on a table. The reason why the bookshop made a pile with a novel published 7 years ago (2011) is because there is now a film adaptation of this story. It was released in Japan on November, 1st.

The film

If you like solving mysteries in second-hand bookstores, you have the choice between reading the light novel, watching the drama or watching the film. It would be interesting to make a comparison of the three, but I am not sure if I want to watch the movie. I think that I will read the book first and certainly watch the drama afterwards. Having read the book before, I should be able to understand the drama better. My listening level is much much lower than my reading level!

The book

The book

En MIKAMI’s series has its own website and is published by メディアワークス文庫 which belongs, if I am not mistaken, to Kadokawa and specialises in light novels.

There are currently 7 tomes in the 『ビブリア』series. There is a new tome published in September this year, but the book is not presented as the tome 8… It might be a special volume? There are also spin-offs, so I guess that the series is very popular.

The tsubasa collection has a green cover

If you want to read this book with full furigana, the first three tomes have been published in the Tsubasa collection of Kadokawa! This version also has some illustrations inside. You can read the first pages here.

The first tome (the one I am reading) has 4 stories. I can already tell that the two first stories correspond to the first and second episodes of the drama. While each story seems to have a plot of its own and looks like a detached short story, I think that the book must be read like a novel, without skipping or changing the order of the stories in it. 

The story

Daisuke GORA is 23 years-old. He has graduated from university but is still unemployed. One day, after his grand-mother’s death, he goes to the ビブリア古書堂 to have an expertise concerning the name “Natsume Soseki” found handwritten in one of his grand-mother’s books. This triggers his first step in the world of old and used books and the stories around them. The owner of the ビブリア古書堂, Shioriko SHINOKAWA, is a young girl who knows everything about books and could talk about them for hours but is highly unfit for any other social intercourse. 

And together, they will solve mysteries related to old books. As Shioriko says: “人の手を渡った古い本には、中身だけではなく本そのものにも物語がある.” En MIKAMI invites us to discover the mysterious tales surrounding these second-hand books and their former owners.

Drama vs light novel

If we compare the first episode and the first story of the novel, the plot is very similar. With some changes of setting, the drama stays close to the story. What is very different however, is the depiction of the two main characters. In the novel, Daisuke is a young boy who immediately feels attracted to the mysterious Shioriko. In the drama, Daisuke is older and while he is impressed by Shioriko’s knowledge of books and capacities of deduction, he does not seem to form any fascination to her.

I personally prefer the characters shown in the drama as those depicted in the book. The actors Ayame GORIKI and AKIRA fit their role very well.
 I also liked that the drama contains a lot of humour and does not take itself too seriously. Last but not least, I found that actually seeing the books that the characters are talking about is a plus. This is especially true for the first episode where the mystery lies in the signatures found in the book. 

All in all, I may have a preference for the drama but I still prefer to read a book than watching a drama, so… to me the book wins in the end!

Anyway, this adds a title to the pile of books I want to finish before the 31st! 

If you are interested in the film, here is the trailer:

6 thoughts on “Currently Reading: 『ビブリア古書堂の事件手帖』by En MIKAMI

  1. I remember seeing this drama around when it first aired, but I never got the chance to watch it. I didn’t know there was a novel behind it, so that makes it even more fascinating! I’d love to read a comparison of the three if you ever get around to watching that movie 🙂

    (You may already know this but ビブリア is the Greek word for ‘books’ [vivlia, βιβλία].)

    1. I have studied some ancient Greek at school, but I was not very good at it! 😅
      I will maybe watch the film after all. All I can say for now is that I really enjoy the novel! 🙂

  2. I feel like I’ve seen that novel cover around forever, and afterwards other series have been using the same style!(寺町三条のホームズ、etc.)We’re opposites in some ways – my listening is better than my reading, so I do better with drama followed by book, hehe. The books have all those pesky adjectives and adverbs that aren’t used in conversation and they trip me up. 😉

    1. All the covers of light novels tend to look the same to me 😅 But they are easier to read than other novels, it’s a shame it took me so long to discover it! I will certainly read more books of メディアワークス文庫 from now on!

  3. I’m so glad you’re enjoying 『ビブリア古書堂の事件手帖』! I should read the light novels as well, so far I only recommended the series to you based on watching the drama many, many times. It’s really nice immersion audio. There’s just something about this drama that I find intriguing. I started writing a blog post analyzing the drama but I never got around to finishing it. Hopefully, I’ll get to it this upcoming year again.

    1. I am looking forward to reading your post! Yes the drama is great for listening practice. I wanted to read the novel first but now that I have finished it I will return to the drama, thank you so much for having recommended it to me! 😊

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