This is an incomplete list of all the Level 5 books available from Nikkei Bunko, a Japanese-language library operated by the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Washington; it’ll be updated as I keep reading them.
From Extensive Reading in Japanese, the definition of a Level 5 book:
Level 5: Beginning at this level, material is quantitatively and qualitatively different from the lower levels. Level 5 books usually have more than 100 pages and fewer illustrations. Some kanji have furigana, but not all of them. Stories are fully developed and more detailed. Japanese native readers would be ten to thirteen years old.
I’ve added Amazon links for the benefit of having title images and just in case anyone wants to subsidize my reading, but if you’re interested in ordering any of these, I’d also recommend you look them up on Kinokuniya’s website or YesAsia.com and compare prices and shipping costs. They may also be available at a library near you or be available through inter-library loan; you can look them up at WorldCat.org. Also, all title translations are my own unless otherwise indicated, names are family name first, then given name, and 作 and 絵 mean “author” and “illustrator,” respectively.
心を育てる偉人のお話 光をかかげた人たち ３
Luminaries: Stories of Great People to Nurture The Heart #3
作：西本 鶏介（にしもと けいすけ, Nishimoto Keisuke）
絵：狩野 富貴子（かりの ふきこ, Karino Fukiko）
Level 5 本, 199 pages, 16,300 words (est.)
I was proud to finish this book, as it’s the longest one I’ve read so far. It contains 29 stories from the lives of inventors, politicians, authors and so on (both Japanese people and people from other countries), along with some basic biographical information about each of them. Its weakness was that it was slightly on the preachy side; even though most of the stories were interesting in and of themselves there was something about the presentation that became tedious, and it took me longer to get through it than it should have because I wasn’t motivated to finish. As far as its good points went, there were 29 short stories in all, I thought that the writing style was clear and easy to follow (important for such a long book) and they did a good job defining words that the reader might not know.
- Extensive reading is known as 多読, or tadoku in Japanese. To try it, start with very easy books (ones with no more than two or three unknown words per page), and follow these principles:
1. Don’t look up words in the dictionary while reading.
2. Skip over parts you don’t understand.
3. If you aren’t enjoying one book, toss it aside and get another.
Find something to read!
Hundreds of free books and stories online
Local bookstores and libraries
Buying new and used books online
For more information, read "What Is Extensive Reading?" and "Classification System."
To learn more about Kunihide Sakai, who developed the three principles of tadoku and has worked to popularize it in Japan for years, read this interview with him.
Finally, for more than you ever wanted to know about why I believe extensive reading is worth your time, read my tadoku manifesto.
Superfluous StatsBooks read: 303
Word count (since starting the blog): 380,500
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