Book Review, Fiction, N4

[N4] Japanese Short Stories for Beginners

Short stories in Japanese seem to be very popular with language students, given the number of short story collections published for this target group. This collection features 20 original stories written for language students and all they could ask for to study them.

Publisher: Lingo Mastery
Length: 211 pages, 20 short stories

With this short story collection you will also receive translations into English for every sentence, a bilingual summary, vocabulary lists and comprehension quizzes after every story. Thus, while each story is only about 1-2 pages long, you will also get about 8 pages of additional practice material per chapter.

This approach allows readers to use differrent strategies for their studies, e.g. memorizing vocabulary before reading or comparing their own translations to those provided.

I read this book in print and unfortunately had an edition where the furigana above the kanji clipped into the kanji. It wasn’t as bad in the main text, but it made all the chapter titles unreadable. Furthermore, the fond choice didn’t work well with their decision to bold new words as it also made some kanji with high stroke count very hard to read.

Whether or not the stories in this book truly are ‘captivating’, as they advertise on the cover, is honestly debatable. Some had interesting ideas, some felt just like a set up without an actual story. But with all the possibilities to interact with what’s written, I can still say that if you are looking for supplementary texts to read in addition to your textbook studies, this short story collection is a great fit.

Lingo Mastery has since published two more books, one more for beginners and one for intermediate learners and they are both a bit more interesting and cleanly printed from what I’ve seen. You can get them e.g. through Amazon Japan (affiliate link).

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