About: High school student Rintaro Natsuki is about to close the secondhand bookstore he inherited from his beloved grandfather. Then, a talking cat named Tiger appears with an unusual request. (publisher)
This is a book for bibliophiles, readers, reviewers, and those who collect books. It's also for those who don't read and are sceptical about the value of books.
Reclusive and shy student Rintaro is led by a mysterious talking tabby cat into labyrinths behind his father's old bookstore to confront and correct these five misusers of books.
1) The Imprisoner: a hoarder who collects and neglects his books, finding value only in reading as many new books as possible.
2) The Mutilator: who values extreme editing of books to summarize and cut them down to one sentence.
3) The Seller of Books: who sells and discards without caring about individual books.
4) The Final Labyrinth, in which Rintaro confronts a sceptic and gives the real reason books are valuable, new or old.
"Books are filled with human thoughts and feelings. People suffering, people who are sad or happy, laughing with joy....(W)e learn about the hearts and minds of other people besides ourselves."
" I think that the power of books is that - that they teach us to care about others. It's a power that gives people courage and also supports them in turn.... Empathy - that's the power of books."
Becoming more confident after his experiences in the labyrinth, Rintaro happily returns to school after being a shy truant.
The book, in translation, would be good for students and new readers. It also reinforces what long time readers already know.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I loved reading about all the problems that can go wrong in various job situations. A young woman moves into five different jobs before coming to terms with what she can and will accept.
The different jobs she takes within a year read like separate short stories - surveillance; writing bus advertising; writing random facts to be printed on the backs of cracker packets; putting up posters on storefronts, and working alone in an isolated hut in the middle of a forested park.
"..what I'd discovered by doing five jobs in such a short span of time was this: the same was true of everything. You never knew what was going to happen, whatever you did..."