Review: The Strange Library

The Strange Library

The Strange Library
By Haruki Murakami, Translater, Ted Goossen
(Knopf, Hardcover, 9780385354301, 96pp.)

The Short of It:

An experience, more than anything else.

The Rest of It:

In 2014, Murakami fans were graced with not one new book, but two! The Strange Library is really a novella, but quite different from anything he’s done before as far as format. The story itself is strange, which is a word I use a lot when describing Murakami’s stories, but it’s strange and mysterious in a good way.

The story is about a boy, imprisoned in a library. Not a normal library. A (wait for it) STRANGE library. This one has winding corridors, hidden rooms and a really strange guy dressed up like a sheep. While reading this part, I could not help but be reminded of another book by Murakami, A Wild Sheep Chase. Ah, such memories.

The book comes shrink-wrapped and once opened, you must fold out flaps to get to its contents. It’s a strange design but kind of neat at the same time. The book is short (96 pages) and contains a lot of graphics to support the story visually. The pages are thick, very substantial. While reading, you feel as if you are holding something really special. I’m not sure you’d have the same feeling while reading an ebook version or listening to it on audio. Chip Kidd designed the book. He’s done some work for Murakami before. I really like what he does. If you are at all interested in book design, check out his Ted Talk. He’s quite a character!

The Strange Library Sample Page

Back to the book.

As a Murakami, there are a lot of familiar elements. If you handed this story to me on plain paper and left the author’s name off of it, I’d still be able to tell who wrote it but it’s just a small taste of what he can do. I liked the story a lot but I wanted to spend more time with it. I ripped that puppy open and before I knew it, the story was over.

It. Was. Too. Brief.

That is my one criticism.

But, it looks lovely on my shelf. Just lovely. Have you read it or tried Murakami yet? Because I am going to keep asking until you do. You know that, right?

Source: Purchased
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Sunday Matters: What’s In a Word?

Sunday Matters

I am still pondering my one word of focus for 2015. I am really stumped. I have a few in mind but none seem to fit. I know a few of you had a difficult time selecting a word as well. Hopefully I’ll have it before say… 2016. Simplicity was a good one for last year

Right Now:

Due to a certain football game, my church activities have been pushed to this evening. We’ve attended the evening service once before and it’s kind of a boring crowd (to be honest). I hope they are a little more lively tonight. The good thing is that I don’t have to rush to get ready so I am sitting here doing what I do best, sip coffee and keep the couch warm.

My return to work was okay. One day dragged on and on and I can be all fine about it now because it’s over but at the time I was in major bitch mode and wanted nothing to do with anyone or anything. Many of you stopped by to cheer me up or caught me on Facebook and it was great. Really. I wish I could put all of you in my pocket and just carry you around.

This Week:

Nothing major this week. Rehearsals, a driving lesson for The Teen, one doc appointment. Totally doable. I may have to toss the Otter Pup into some suds as she is smelling a little corn-chippy. Cat lovers are going “ewwwww” but yes, dogs tend to smell like corn chips after awhile. Maybe because of the corn in their food? I don’t know but her name is not Fritos so she must have a bath. Lucky for me, she loves her baths.


I am reading some good stuff. One book is for a tour later this week. Very interesting read. You’ll read all about it later this week. I started the new Stewart O’Nan, as well.


I’ve got to get caught up on American Horror Story. I’ve missed the last three episodes. I have them all recorded. I just need to carve out some time to catch up. That is one show that The Hub and Teen watch with me so it would be good if we could all watch at the same time. A dream, really.

The Golden Globes are on tonight. Not sure if I’ll watch though. I am more of an Oscar gal.


I am in the mood for chili. I don’t think anyone else is though.

Grateful for:

Good medical insurance. I’ve needed to use it a few times this past week and although I had a premium increase this year, I don’t care.

Happy Thought For the Week:

I should have plenty of time to read this week which is always a good thing.

What’s On Your Mind?

I’ll tell you what’s on mine, the WEEKEND! I only worked three days this week but man, it sure feels like twelve.

I am still trying to come up with my “one word” for this year. Last year I chose Simplicity and for the most part, I did manage to pull some of it off. I can continue with that but my mind just isn’t focused enough to come up with a decent word for this year. Don’t say ‘focus’. Hahaha. I’d be a big failure if I went with that word.

After my forced reading break I have read four books so far this year. Once I was able to, I really dove in. Feels good to finally be reading again. I need that time to balance me out and trust me, if you asked my kids or Hub, they’d agree that I was a bit off for over a month. I am going to try to do whatever errands I need to do tomorrow so I can relax come Sunday.

The Hundred-Foot Journey

Tonight? I am really craving a lettuce-wrapped burger and fries and then hopefully I will get to watch The Hundred-Foot Journey. Sometimes, I cannot convince my family to see these types of  movies but when I am successful, they usually agree that they are very good. The Girl is a challenge, she always wants a Rom-Com and The Teen will either want slapstick comedy or an action flick. I have a hard crowd to please.

So, what’s on your mind? Any plans for the weekend? I have the new Stewart O’Nan book (West of Sunset) and I am dying to read it this weekend.

2014 in Review

I am horrible at keeping track of stuff but WordPress does it for me. Since I am back at work and catching up on email, my posting probably won’t return to normal until next week. Top commenters, thank you.

Here are some interesting tidbits:

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 57,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 21 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Sunday Matters: One Last Hurrah

Sunday Matters

Work. Meh. I have a few more days to ponder it but it’s never easy to return after a long break. I feel like I am all hungover. My sleep patterns are all over the place and my body is off, but in a good way.

I’ve eaten stuff I don’t normally eat, visited with family that I don’t normally see and have watched movies with abandon. It’s been wonderful. As I look at the calendar, I realize that I have less than a week to read my book club book, and a little more than that to read the tour book I signed up for.

That eye/headache mess. Phffft.

Right Now:

I am on my stomach, in bed, typing this out, waiting for the house to heat up before I venture downstairs for coffee. As soon as it gets warm enough, I’ll get ready for church. The Girl does not want to go which means it will be a perfectly pleasant morning dragging a sulking tween around.

This Week:

I return to work on Wednesday. I purposely took the extra days to not have to deal with MONDAY. But rehearsals start-up again this week so it will almost be like a regular week. I need all of your good thoughts for Wednesday because when you have this much time off, you really start to think that big changes are needed. You know?


I am reading It Was Me All Along, written by a blogger I follow. I didn’t have an elaborate way of picking my first books this year. It had to do with what I was behind on because of this headache and all the stuff that came with it. It’s very heartfelt. I am enjoying it. It’s about her obsession with food. Which is just perfect to read at the beginning of the year after all of the excesses enjoyed over the holidays.


I watched The Great Gatsby and it really was a visual masterpiece. I snuck August: Osage County in while purging my shelves. It was full of tension, that one. Which made it great to watch while chucking books into a box. Thwack! Thwack! I really liked American Hustle. Enough to want to see it again. I just got The Hundred-Foot Journey from Netflix so I hope to watch that today.


Nothing. Yet. I did make spaghetti and meatballs the other night, along with a really good pot-roast but the cupboards are bare again. I will hit the market on my way home from church. Fun! With The Girl in tow, and all. The Hub won’t be too thrilled either. We all hate grocery shopping.

Grateful for:

A few extra days with my kids.

Happy Thought For the Week:

Friday. I am already looking forward to it.

Best of 2014: My Favorites

My Faves for 2014

The new year is just around the corner so it’s time to wrap-up 2014. Here are my top ten books read this year.

I kind of had a hard time coming up with books because I liked many of them but there were a few that really made me think.

Here’s my list in no particular order:

The Last Days of California by Mary Miller
Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
Mr. Lynch’s Holiday by Catherine O’Flynn
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill
We Are Called To Rise by Laura McBride
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
The Painter by Peter Heller
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami

Happy New Year to you all. Here’s to another year of reading!

Books Reviewed in 2014

This is a list of the books I read in 2014. Links take you to the my review of the book. I met my reading goal for the year. Yay!

2014 GR Challenge Badge

1. The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories – Volume 3 by Joseph Gordon-Levitt
2. Innocence by Dean Koontz
3. Canada by Richard Ford
4. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
5. The Last Days of California by Mary Miller
6. Police by Jo Nesbo
7. The Troop by Nick Cutter
8. The Secret of Raven Point by Jennifer Vanderbes
9. Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
10. Among Animals by John Yunker
11. The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel
12. Mr. Lynch’s Holiday by Catherine O’Flynn
13. Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
14. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
15. The Realm of Last Chances by Steve Yarbrough
16. Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill
17. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
18. The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman
19. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
20. Casebook by Mona Simpson
21. The Here And Now by Ann Brashares
22. The Cold Song by Linn Ullmann
23. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
24. Let’s Just Say It Wasn’t Pretty by Diane Keaton
25. And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
26. Cutting Teeth by Julia Fierro
27. Under a Summer Sky by Nan Rossiter
28. Landline by Rainbow Rowell
29. The Vacationers by Emma Straub
30. The Circle by Dave Eggers
31. Magnificent Vibration by Rick Springfield
32. The Fever by Megan Abbott
33. All Day and a Night by Alafair Burke
34. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte
35. Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King
36. We Are Called To Rise by Laura McBride
37. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
38. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
39. The Regulators by Stephen King (Richard Bachman)
40. The Three by Sarah Lotz
41. The Martian by Andy Weir
42. The Home Place by Carrie La Seur
43. Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick
44. California by Edan Lepucki
45. A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami
46. The Painter by Peter Heller
47. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
48. Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami
49. The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
50. The Way Inn by Will Wiles
51. Euphoria by Lily King
52. I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
53. Big Driver by Stephen King
54. Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup
55. A Sudden Light by Garth Stein
56. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
57. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
58. Revival by Stephen King
59. Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink
60. A Gathering of Old Men by Ernest Gaines
61. The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion


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