Book Review: What You Are Looking For Is In The Library by Michiko Aoyama

Title: What You Are Looking For Is In The Library

Author: Michiko Aoyama

Page Count: 223

Publish Date: September 5, 2023

Publisher: Hanover Square Press

Buy What You Are Looking For Is In The Library at Amazon.


What are you looking for? So asks Tokyo’s most enigmatic librarian. For Sayuri Komachi is able to sense exactly what each visitor to her library is searching for and provide just the book recommendation to help them find it.

A restless retail assistant looks to gain new skills, a mother tries to overcome demotion at work after maternity leave, a conscientious accountant yearns to open an antique store, and recently retired salaryman searches for newfound purpose.

In Komachi’s unique book recommendations, they will find just what they need to achieve their dreams. What You Are Looking For Is in the Library is about the magic of libraries and the discovery of connection. This inspirational tale shows how, by listening to our hearts, seizing opportunity, and reaching out, we too can fulfill our lifelong dreams. Which book will you recommend?

What You Are Looking For Is In The Library

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My Review:

This book is broken down into 5 different interconnected stories of people who feel lost and a trip to the library opens their eyes to the possibilities of life.

The first story follows Tomoka, a 21-year-old working in a department store.

While it’s clear she does enjoy her job, you can also tell she wants something else, but she’s not entirely sure what or how to make it happen. After a conversation with a friend, she decides to learn more about computers and sign up for a course about Microsoft Excel and Word.

A simple trip to the library is all she needs to get started. Yet this visit leads her to meet Komachi, the head librarian. A simple request for books on computers set Tomoka up for a life-changing experience after Komachi includes a much-beloved children’s book on the list. That along with a special gift from Komachi is about to change Tomoka’s life.

We can feel Tomoka’s curiosity and confusion over this book and yet she picks it up anyway and starts to discover herself feeling passionate about life again and finding something she wants to pursue.

I loved feeling her joy resonate through the book and it made me happy. It also made me wish I could meet Komachi and have her produce a list of books for me to look into.

The second story follows Ryo, a 30-year-old man.

The initial focus on a spoon from teenage Ryo’s past seems like an odd way to start things, and yet it immediately made me curious about its significance and how it would affect the remainder of his story.

While his story didn’t feel quite as interesting as the first one. I think it has to do with the narrator, as he often sounded bored throughout, although that could have been a reflection of Ryo’s character, it did make it hard to focus on the story.

I did enjoy seeing his journey in discovering that he could follow his dream and that all he needed was the right push to do so.

The third story follows Natsume, a mother and former editor.

Her story reflects the hurdles working mothers must deal with. How people think that because she has a child, that suddenly makes her incapable of doing her job and needs to be given an easier role.

You could feel Natusme’s frustration with her life and how she is treated at work because she is a mother. It also made me feel frustrated for her.

Not only that, but her husband adds insult to injury when he doesn’t seem to understand her struggles and if anything adds to them by not helping out. Watching her try to balance her work and home life really made this story and it was one of my favorites in the book.

I was glad to see things work out for her in the end, though I knew they would and that Komachi’s magic helps Natsume find a dream job that is happy she has a child.

The fourth story follows Hiroya, a 30-year-old NEET (not in employment, education, or training),

His love of manga and anime made me instantly like him.

However, this story doesn’t hold up to the other ones. It was easy to drift away from his story – likely due to the narrator.

I can’t even remember what happens to him in the end, though obviously, he gets a happy ending like the rest.

The final story follows a retired man named Masao.

This was the least interesting of all the stories and I honestly can’t remember a single detail about it.

All of these stories feel separate, but as you go through each one, there is a connection between them all that goes beyond Komachi. I almost which we could have seen more of her in the book.

Komachi is quite an interesting character and has this way of looking at a person and knowing exactly what books they need, even so, she asks what they are looking for and proceeds to produce a list of appropriate books.

However, there is always one extra book on the list, one that doesn’t connect to their interest, and yet it is that book that sets them down the path to discovering something of interest and that will change their lives.

One part I did find overdone was each character’s description of Komachi. She’s a larger woman with pale skin and each person has an over-the-top description of her. I felt the author pointed out this detail a little too much – though Hiroya comparing her to Geman Saotome in panda form from Ranma 1/2 was a bit amusing because it fit his character so well.

The story does get repetitive over time and I feel like a lot of the details, especially that about Komachi and each person’s journey to the library could have been trimmed or even left out. However, the overall point of each story is the book’s strong point, and that is finding your passion and making changes in your life, even if they are small.

The narrators of this audiobook were a good mix, though I found some were better than others. Overall, it was a decent book.

I do plan to add another book by this author to my TBR to see if I enjoy it as well.

I hope you enjoyed my review of What You Are Looking For Is In The Library. Have you read this book?

Buy What You Are Looking For Is In The Library at Amazon.

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