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...が、このごろはジョバンニはまるで毎日教室でもねむく、本を読むひまも読む本もないので、...
but these days Jobanni ?? was sleepy in the classroom everyday and had neither books to read nor the free time to read them, so ...

Grammar books tell me that まるで is used with a negative predicate or with structures expressing similarity ( e.g. ようだ). This seems to be neither of those.

I also thought it might be "in a circle" e.g. an endless cycle of going to sleep in the classroom. I really have no idea.

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  • It ends in ない(ので), so that is a negative predicate. The name is also likely "Giovanni".
    – istrasci
    Nov 17 '16 at 19:00
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The まるで here means 「すっかり」 「まったく」 "totally" "entirely".

It's definition #2 in デジタル大辞泉:

2 (下に否定的な意味の語を伴って)まさしくその状態であるさま。すっかり。まったく。「まるでだめだ」「兄弟だがまるで違う」

Used with a negative phrase, it means "(not) ~~ at all."

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  • Sorry but I can't understand what "totally" is referring to. Can まるで be used with a positive predicate? Does まるで pair with ねむく or with ない? "He is totally sleepy in the classroom every day" sounds strange. If it goes with ない then is it that he "doesn't have books to read at all " or "he doesn't have the free time to read books at all" or both? Nov 18 '16 at 16:17
  • まるでねむい sounds a bit strange in Japanese, too, but I think the まるで is like まったく and goes with 毎日ねむい, 本を読む暇がない, and 読む本がない.  毎日ねむい and 本を読む暇がない are caused by 「このごろぼくが、朝にも午后にも仕事がつらく...」(Giovanni has been working hard both in the morning and afternoon) so the line is talking about how Giovanni has been busy and tired.
    – Chocolate
    Nov 18 '16 at 17:46
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まるで - as if, seems like

Lately, it's as if Giovanni is always sleepy even in the classroom and has no time to read nor books to read...

Seems like whoever is saying this sentence is worried about Giovanni.

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まるで can also mean "absolutely", "completely".
http://dictionary.goo.ne.jp/edc/3000237601/meaning/m1u/%E3%81%BE%E3%82%8B%E3%81%A7/

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