Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Book Review: The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami

This is my second Haruki Murakami book. First of his book i read was Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage (click link to see review).

I have no plans to buy this book because they're releasing a paperback format since it was announced. But i change my mind the time i learned Aklatan online bookshop is selling this for almost half-price than the local retail price of 695.00 php! I say "Why not?"

About Aklatan: It's one of the online bookshop I always eye for interesting books. Further note, they upload new book arrivals every Sunday at 8:00 PM.

The Strange Library Book Details:

Title: The Strange Library
( Japanese: ふしぎな図書館 | Fushigi na toshokan )
ISBN: 9780385354301
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Published Date:
Format: Paperback
Original Language: Japanese
Translated to: English
Translated by: Ted Goossen
Art Direction and Design: Chip Kidd
Form: Novella, Children's Novella
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Short Story


This is story of a boy who went to their local library to return the books he borrowed and his decision to borrow again made him regret the latter events. He fell to a trap of the old Librarian as they go to the Reading Room 107 and down through the staircase, then to the labyrinth of shelves. The old librarian says he can't leave the room without finishing the book. From there, he met the sheep man and the mysterious girl. The boy plan of escape with the help of the sheep man and the mysterious girl... and so on...

The story is nice and speak of the title, It's also strange. It's a good to be read with children. There are moral lesson to the story. I think, the story may help children about the meaning of  [FOR INTERNAL USE ONLY] , the danger of staying late at night outside, learning to keep their words, learn to be helpful to the sheep man (to anyone) and learn how to be sad (last paragraph of the book is an option).

Aside to the nice story is its genius book design. Never before I've seen a paperback published like this. You can open the book like an enclosed envelope (see below):

The Strange Library upper flap

The Strange Library both flaps open

The Strange Library spine, flaps locked at the back

The Strange Library back cover art

The Strange Library moon 01

The Strange Library moon 02

Note, the book is designed by Chip Kidd.

My low score remarks for this book is some of the illustrations are inaccurate like the following:

The Strange Library - old man, librarian

As the boy described the old man, there should tiny black spots on the old man's face but as you can see clearly, there's none about the boy's description. I understand, those illustration are for imaginative purposes but how can this be understood with a kid if they alone read it?

The Strange Library - Black Dog with boy's Starling

Another illustration is an eye of the black dog with Starling in the center (starling was the boy's parakeet). The story says starling is between the dog's teeth but as the illustration shows, It's inside the black dog's eye. I really don't mind the illustration, I'm an adult but i can't help noticing the inaccuracy here. And it makes difficult if i read it with a child. By the way, the book is meant for kid's reading, It's children's novella. They're too young to understand the inaccurate illustration by themselves correctly. I guess, parental guidance on reading this book is advice.

So because of the said illustrations, I'm giving this book a score of 3.5 / 5.0
An exact 4.0 if i rate the story without the inaccurate illustration.

Thanks and hope you like my review. If you'd also like to buy the book, you can buy it directly from, see shortcut below:

Happy holidays!




  1. I read IQ84 and I loved it. The Strange Library looks beautiful and interesting. I should check it out. :)

  2. Oh wow!! What a steal! I should visit that site. I collect Murakami but have never come across this title on the shelves. He is such a weird writer!! Exact reason why I love him. I just finished Norwegian Wood. I loved Dance Dance Dance.

  3. an online bookstore - i think that's worth checking out as i love reading books. :)

  4. About the picture of the old man, not sure why it is different to the description of the boy but I guess there is but only the author can explain :)

    Hope to read this book also. :)

  5. Your review makes me want to re-read this, and pay better attention to the illustrations!

  6. Looks interesting. But I agree that illustrations should be accurate if this book is supposed to be for the kiddies.

  7. The review looks interesting...i have'nt read any Murakami yet..I'm getting curious so maybe I should grab one

  8. Very unique and interesting but some of the illustrations are confusing. This is a great book review. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Interesting book, never heard about it before so will definitely check it out when I get the chance. Thanks!

  10. books right now have the same plots but this one is way different. such an interesting book!

  11. What a steal! Thanks for sharing about Aklatan. I'm browsing the site now. ;-)

  12. Never been a big fan of Murakami but now seems like a good time to start on this author.

  13. Dear author, this book is so obviously not for children, you have not, it would seem, understood this marvelous piece of writing in the least.

    1. It is suitable for children. It's also categorized as Children's book by most online store. And i obviously see it as Children's book upon reading it.

      You may ask Haruki Murakami himself when his site is already live ( see related article about it here: ).


  14. interesting and also like the overall apperance of the book..never heard of Aklatan...checking it now, thanks