* This suggestion is part of our National Library Week 2015 series. To celebrate libraries everywhere, we are posting a library-related suggestion every day this week. *
I was told that if I couldn’t finish this book in thirty minutes I should be embarrassed. So because I refuse to be made a fool, I took it on my thirty minute lunch break. If you have ever read anything by Murakami, you know that his plots usually tend to be elaborately odd, but The Strange Library definitely takes the cake. The physical book opens with flaps in the front, making the first page technically part of cover—which is Murakami’s way of letting you know immediately that this story will be different.
The main character is a school-aged boy visiting his local library to read about tax collection in the Ottoman Empire. Upon arriving he notes that the librarian sitting behind the desk is unfamiliar and abrupt when telling him he must go to a room he did not know existed before. Without giving too much of this short novel away, the young boy becomes trapped in the library. His short but creepy adventure includes several bizarre characters and a labyrinth within the library from which he must escape.
I was able to finish the book on my thirty minute lunch, but just barely; the colorful artwork within and the occasional pause to exclaim to myself, “How strange!” slowed me down a bit. When my honor is not being challenged, I will definitely read this book again in order to more fully appreciate the oddities.