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September wrap up: 4 books less on my TBR!

September has been a stressful month to me, and I wasn’t able to read as much as I would have liked. I did manage to complete my September challenge but that’s about it:

It feels so good to have reduced my TBR pile, even by four books. I feel entitled to a nice book haul now, hehehe 😈

『探偵さえいなければ』 by Tokuya Higashigawa (東川篤哉)

I bought this book earlier this year, I believe. I liked the art cover and the title, and I buy anything that has 殺人事件 or 探偵 in its title anyway.

The reason why I hadn’t started reading this book right away is because I usually read several books at the same time but each one occupies a different slot. For example, I will read a detective novel, a literary novel and a nonfiction book at the same time, but I would avoid reading three detective novels at the same time.

It looks like the slot for detective novel/relaxing read was always taken and I kept putting off the moment to read 『探偵さえいなければ』.

This book was also an impulse buy, and I did not read the summary on the back cover nor did I have a close look at the obi. If I had, I would have seen that it says 大人気「烏賊川市」シリーズ文庫最新刊!. This book is the eighth and most recent volume in the series “Ikagawa city”, and I hate starting series in the middle (or worse, by the last instalment!).

『探偵さえいなければ』 can be read separately, so it was not a catastrophe to start with it. However, the author does not introduce recurring characters anymore, so I did feel that I was missing something. There were also some allusions to former cases, and some hints that certainly have more flavour if you have read the previous books… so overall I think that it is always best to read a series in order.

The five short stories of the book were all extremely entertaining, very funny and good detective stories. I am definitely going to read the whole series, starting with the first one this time!

『蹴りたい背中』 by Risa Wataya (綿矢りさ)

Finally, finally I managed to read 『蹴りたい背中』!!! I am so glad! I have this book on my shelf for several years now! I bought it at a time when I was able to read some detective novels and wanted to try reading something else. I didn’t know what to buy at the time and chose this book because I knew it and wanted to read it in translation anyway. It is also very short, only 183 pages with big margins and a big interline too.

Back then, I managed to read 20 or 30 pages but gave up because it was too difficult. Worse than the books that I have on my TBR for a long time, are the ones I tried to read but gave up or just did not finished for various reasons. These are the books that I really don’t want to open again. When I thought that my level was good enough to read Risa Wataya, I preferred to buy another of her books instead of just reading the one I had at home…

This is why I am so glad to have read it, finally. I am also happy to see that the beginning of the book is really quite difficult! When I first tried to read it, this book really left me depressed. I was able to read a Keigo Higashino, but 『蹴りたい背中』 was such a struggle that I could not make it past the first 30 pages. I suddenly went from “I can read books in Japanese!” to “oh no, wait, I can’t”…

Now I see that 『蹴りたい背中』 has some challenging passages and that the beginning is especially difficult. No wonder that I struggled at the time. In the range of literary fiction, this one might be on the easier side, but I would not recommend it as an easy read overall.

『本を読む人だけが手にするもの』by Kazuhiro Fujihara (藤原和博)

Once more, I bought this book because of the title, but I did not read the summary or look closer at the book’s content. I thought it would be about what literature can bring you, but it turns out to be a self-help/business book, even though I am not even sure that we can classify this book that way.

When I bought it, I started it immediately, but it soon became clear that the author was not talking about how literature can change your life, but how important it is to build a habit of reading if you want to become a successful person. I was disappointed in the topic and gave up after reading around 50 pages.

I could have let this book on the DNF cemetery, but a part of me was thinking that maybe I could find some reading tips or motivation in this book. At the time, after 50 pages, I thought that this book would be a self-help book on productivity. A little like the Input-Output series by Shion Kabasawa.

Once again, I ended up disappointed. It is not really a self-help or self-improvement book. To be honest, I don’t even understand the point of this book, and I don’t see for whom it is written. I will talk more about the content and why I disliked it in my book review, but for now I will just say that reading it was just a waste of time. I don’t recommend it.

『麒麟の翼』 by Keigo Higashino (東野圭吾)

And last but not least, the 9th book of the Kaga series by Higashino. I must have bought 『麒麟の翼』 right after I finished the previous book which was 『新参者』. I took a look at my blog and it shows that I finished 『新参者』 in August 2019! This means that 『麒麟の翼』 has been sitting on my TBR pile for a whole year…

The reason why it took me so long to read this book is because I love the series so much that I don’t want to reach the end to soon. As much as I want to go on with the series, I also like the idea that I still have a couple of books to read.

I also know for sure that the next book of the Kaga series will be a great read, so I want to find the right time for it.

As expected, I feel both happy to have read this book and sad to think that there is only one book remaining (though I guess that 『希望の系』 can be seen as part of the series).

Conclusion

Overall, September has not been the best month to me, but I am still very happy with my readings as they not only reduced my TBR, but also brought me closer to completing my reading challenge for 2020. This month’s readings have allowed me to progress on three mini challenges:

Blog Holiday

As I said, September has been stressful for me, so I have decided to take a break in October. I won’t set myself a reading challenge, so I am not even sure whether I will read in Japanese or take a complete break. There are many books I want to read in English, so I might focus on that instead.

As for the blog, I think that I will continue to post book reviews as I am pretty late with those, but there will be no “news” post on the 25th, and I don’t think that I will be able to post on the 15th either. In any case, I will see you for the book reviews!

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