I am still reading the novel 「彼女がその名を知らない鳥たち」but I allow myself some breaks with Miri MASUDA’s manga 「世界は終わらない」.
I already knew Miri MASUDA through her yonkoma manga series 「すーちゃん」, a total of 4 books that follow the daily life of a 30-year-old woman, working in a café and reflecting on her future while dealing with everyday’s ups and downs.
「世界は終わらない」is very similar to the 「すーちゃん」series but its protagonist is a man of 32, single, working in the bookshop just near すう’s café. He, too, goes through life with a mixture of positiveness and doubts, anxious about the future but willing to do things well no matter what. There are some hints at the 「すーちゃん」series, but nothing that one needs to know to understand the story.
I love this manga because it deals with life as it is, with the joys and disappointments it gives us. I always feel very close to Miri MASUDA’s characters, and I have no difficulty imagining myself in their situation.
Another thing that I enjoy is the setting in a bookshop. I love reading stories that take place in a book-related place. This is why I read, some time ago, the first book of the manga series 「図書館の主」(Master in Library) by 篠原ウミハル (Umiharu SHINOHARA). But even if I could appreciate many aspects of this manga, it was not for me.
I like the simple structure of Miri MASUDA’s yonkoma manga. The stories are all very short, which makes this book a perfect companion for short reading sessions, in the metro or while queuing up for instance. In my case, it allows me to take some breaks from the main (and difficult) novel I am reading, without letting myself be too engrossed in another story (as I would be if I started another novel now).
As for the Japanese level, I would say that it is very accessible. Some dialogues may be more difficult than others, but overall, it has the advantages of a manga (mainly dialogues, no description or long narrative passages, spoken language with vocabulary that is often used) without the disadvantages (all characters are very polite and have conversations that could actually take place, no slang). When I say advantages and disadvantages, I only talk from the Japanese-level point of view. I should also add that there is no furigana like you find in many mangas.
I already have been through half of the stories, and it makes me want to reread the whole 「すーちゃん」series.
I will end with a citation that reflects the author’s mind (if you read it, you will know why) and puts into words my own feelings concerning bookshops (and karaoke, too, as a matter of fact).