Title: What You Are Looking for is in the Library

Author: Michiko Aoyama

Pages: 304 Pages

Publisher: Random House

The Blurb

Sayuri Komachi is no ordinary librarian. Sensing exactly what someone is searching for in life, she provides just the book recommendation to help them find it.

In this uplifting book, we meet five of Sayuri’s customers, each at a different crossroads:

– the restless retail assistant eager to pick up new skills

– the mother faced with a demotion at work after maternity leave

– the conscientious accountant who yearns to open an antique store

– the gifted young manga artist in search of motivation

– the recently retired salaryman on a quest for newfound purpose

Can she help them find what they are looking for? 

What You Are Looking For is in the Library is about the magic of community libraries and the discovery of connection. Already loved by thousands of readers all over the world, this inspirational tale shows how, by listening to our hearts, seizing opportunity and reaching out, we too can fulfil our long-held dreams.

Which book will you recommend?

The Review

What You Are Looking for is in the Library by Michiko Aoyama can best be described as a bowl of hot, homemade soup on a cold winter day. It was so comforting. It is a hot water bottle. A big fluffy blanket. It is a deep conversation with your best friend. It is, quite simply, stunning.

To put it really simply, What You Are Looking for is in the Library is similar to Love Actually. Interconnecting stories of people who live in a specific area whose lives generally don’t infringe on – but they sit on the periphery –  of each others worlds. All the while, the invisible line that does connect them is Sayuri Komachi – the local librarian.

What You Are Looking for is in the Library is a celebration of the power – nay, the magic – of a librarian. It is a love story to the library and the librarians and a reminder that they have powers way beyond our ken and we should protect them at all costs.

What You Are Looking for is in the Library is likely to be in my top 10 books of the year because it is just that gorgeous.

What You Are Looking for is in the Library by Michiko Aoyama is available now.

For more information regarding Random House (@penguinrandom) please visit www.penguinrandomhouse.com.

Title: The Details

Author: Ia Genberg

Pages: 176 Pages

Publisher: Headline

The Blurb

A famous broadcaster writes a forgotten love letter; a friend abruptly disappears; a lover leaves something unexpected behind; a traumatised woman is consumed by her own anxiety.

In the throes of a high fever, a woman lies bedridden. Suddenly, she is struck with an urge to revisit a particular novel from her past. Inside the book is an inscription: a message from an ex-girlfriend.

Pages from her past begin to flip, full of things she cannot forget and people who cannot be forgotten. Johanna, that same ex-girlfriend, now a famous TV host. Niki, the friend who disappeared all those years ago. Alejandro, who appears like a storm in precisely the right moment. And Birgitte, whose elusive qualities shield a painful secret.

Who is the real subject of a portrait, the person being painted or the one holding the brush? The Details is a novel built around four such portraits, unveiling the fragments of memory and experience that make up a life. In exhilarating, provocative prose, Ia Genberg reveals an intimate and powerful celebration of what it means to be human.

The Review

Whenever I read translated fiction I always marvel at just how different it is. Ia Grenberg’s The Details is a book full of poetic language and gorgeous reflective sentences but nothing actually happens. I’ve read books that do the same thing and found them extremely annoying but The Details was a one sitting read for me and I was intoxicated by this world that Grenberg had created in her interlinked stories.

I feel like this is one of those books that you can come back to at various points in your life and find something new that you had missed the first time round, where something that was maybe throw-away at one age suddenly becomes so important at another.

I think this book will get a reread in a few years time.

The Details by Ia Genberg is available now.

For more information regarding Headline (@headlinepg) please visit www.headline.co.uk.

Title: The Phone Box at the Edge of the World

Author: Laura Imai Messina

Pages: 416 Pages

Publisher: Bonnier Books

The Blurb

We all have something to tell those we have lost . . .

When Yui loses her mother and daughter in the tsunami, she wonders how she will ever carry on. Yet, in the face of this unthinkable loss, life must somehow continue. Then one day she hears about a man who has an old disused telephone box in his garden. There, those who have lost loved ones find the strength to speak to them and begin to come to terms with their grief. As news of the phone box spreads, people will travel there from miles around.

Soon Yui will make her own pilgrimage to the phone box, too. But once there she cannot bring herself to speak into the receiver. Then she finds Takeshi, a bereaved husband whose own daughter has stopped talking in the wake of their loss.

What happens next will warm your heart, even when it feels as though it is breaking.

The Review

Nearly every book that I have read that has been translated from another language I have found to be enjoyable. The Phone Box at the Edge of the World by Laura Imai Messina is no exception. It is the story of Yui. She is a survivor of a tsunami yet she is trapped by a tsunami of guilt over the death of her mother and daughter. When she hears of a telephone box that somehow helps victims of grief she is drawn on a pilgrimage to the spot. When she gets there Yui can’t bring herself to enter the phone box and we see her cling on to her guilt.

The Phone Box at the Edge of the World is a gorgeous story that is so hopeful about the future and discusses grief and promises that acceptance of loss does not mean that you are guilty but that life does move on. In allowing herself to move forward with her life she releases herself from survivors guilt.

Overall, The Phone Box at the Edge of the World is a story of loss and hope. The story is so beautifully told that you cannot help but feel uplifted by it.

The Phone Box at the Edge of the World by Laura Imai Messina is available now.

For more information regarding Laura Imai Messina (@LaImsiMessina) please visit www.lauraimaimessina.com.

For more information regarding Bonnier Books (@bonnierbooks_uk) please visit www.bonnierbooks.co.uk.

Title: In Paris with You

Author: Clementine Beauvais (Translated by Sam Taylor)

Pages: 272 Pages

Publisher: Faber & Faber

The Blurb

Eugene and Tatiana could have fallen in love. If things had gone differently. If they had tried to really know each other. If it had just been them, and not the others. But that was years ago and time has found them far apart, leading separate lives.

Until they meet once more in Paris.

What really happened back then? And now? Could they ever be together after everything?

 (AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

In Paris with You is one of the nominees for the Carnegie medal in 2019. I have been trying to make my way through the books and since I liked Piglettes by Clementine Beauvais I decided to give it a go.

In Paris with You is told completely in verse form – this is not unusual. At least three others on the long list are told in this format. What is unusual about this is that not only is it in verse form but it has been translated from French.

It is a quirky little love story that slips backwards and forwards from the modern day to the past and tells the story of Eugene and Tatiana. It shows how timing is everything and that we shouldn’t just expect love to happen when we want it to.

I really enjoyed In Paris with You but it is one of those books that due to the verse I wished I had heard read as slam poetry. You read with the beats but I think it would have been better if I had listened to it rather than reading it.

In Paris with You by Clementine Beauvais is available now.

For more information regarding Faber & Faber (@FaberBooks) please visit www.faber.co.uk.