Language diary #2

Welcome to the second entry in my language diary!

This post is about my new (physical) reading journal, the light novel I am currently reading and Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone which I have just finished!

Reading Journal

This year, I will write a reading journal for Japanese novels! This is something I want to do for a long time, but I have always been too lazy to do it. If only I had started with my first Japanese book my journal would contain all the books I have read in Japanese! It would have been so great to have such a collection! But, better late than never!

I have a dedicated (Rhodia) notebook for that and I will use 4 pages per book. On the first page, I will write information concerning the book (title, author, publisher, date and so on). Depending on the book, I will also write information on the author and/or why I chose this book. This last piece of information seems obvious for me now, but years later, when I re-read the entries in my journal, it will be great to recall in what kind of mood I was, how I was selecting the books I read and so on!

The second page is for the main characters and quotes.

The third page will be a summary of the story.

The fourth page will be my review. Of course, it will be a personal and informal review, and it might be a little different from the reviews I publish of my blog.

This is an example with the novel 『推理作家(僕)が探偵と暮らすわけ』by Shiki KUZUMI!

I don’t think that there will be quotes for this book.
I still have to write my feelings on the right page, I will do it when I finish the book. I have only summarized what I have read, around half of the book.

If anyone is interested in stationery, I use a Rhodia “heritage” notebook A5. It opens flat, has a table of contents, page numbers, orange lines that are not too intrusive, a beautiful cover, and of course, it is fountain pen friendly.

This notebook has 152 pages. If I use 4 pages per book,  I can use it for 38 entries. I secretly wish that I can fill this notebook completely in 2019, but it would mean reading 3 books per months, and I don’t think that I can do it every month…

Currently reading

I have finished 『ボクたちはみんな大人になれなかった』by Moegara (see my review here), but I am still reading 『誰か』by Miyuki MIYABI.

Light novel: 『推理作家(僕)が探偵と暮らすわけ』by Shiki KUZUMI (久住四季).

I want to read more light novels this year for three reasons:

  • First, light novels are easier to read, so they allow me to read more books in Japanese, try different authors and widen a little more the range of books that I read in Japanese.
  • More importantly, they are relaxing reads. When I am too tired to read challenging books in Japanese, I am tempted to turn to other non-Japanese activities. But if I am reading a light novel at the same time, I might turn to it instead, and stay immersed in Japanese.
  • It is very encouraging to have something I can read easily in Japanese. It makes me feel proud to see that I can read some books fast. This feeling is especially welcome when the other book I read is a little challenging and slow-paced (like 『誰か』!)

I chose 『推理作家(僕)が探偵と暮らすわけ』 because I love detective stories and the title was very appealing to me: an author of detective stories and a real detective sharing a flat. It looked very much like a Sherlock Holmes inspired story, which was a plus by me.

The book is easy to read, I sat down thinking I would read 20 pages, and I ended up reading 80! 

Finished reading: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

I have finished Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in Japanese. I bought it on impulse, so I thought I would maybe give up after a few pages. I am both surprised and pleased to see that I went through the whole book in Japanese.

I usually don’t like reading translations of works that I have already read in my native language or in English. It is common advice to language learners to start with a book they already know. While it helps to understand the story, it is not very motivating to read something one already knows, so it is not something that I would necessarily recommend.

With Harry Potter, however, it is a pleasure to rediscover the story. First, Harry Potter is definitely something that one can read several times. There are so many details in the first book that make sense afterwards, but that you don’t necessarily notice during your first read! I have never re-read the series, so this is a good opportunity to do it at last. And as the franchise continues, reading Harry Potter somehow feels refreshing. It is hard to believe that the Philosopher’s Stone was first published more than 20 years ago!

We’ll see if I can make my way through the 7 volumes in Japanese!