Review – Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Two chairs at a coffee table with cat. Before the Coffee Gets Cold
By: Toshikazu Kawaguchi
Illustrator: Sunmark Publishing Inc (Cover illustration)
Translator: Geoffrey Trousselot
Release Date: September 19, 2019
Publisher: Hanover Square Press
Series: Before the Coffee Gets Cold (#1)

Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s novel Before the Coffee Gets Cold is a slight first volume in an ongoing series expertly translated from the Japanese by Geoffrey Trousselot. The entire story takes place within a certain coffee shop, the type of tiny, cozy place only known to locals. This shop is one filled with secrets, though. A ghost occupies a certain chair, drinking her coffee just as diligently in death as she did in life. People claim that on the rare occasion she leaves her seat, the new chair’s new occupant is able to go back in time and have one more conversation with a loved one.

If Cats Disappeared from the World by Genki Kawabura

Man and a cat sitting on a bench with their backs turned to the viewer. If Cats Disappeared from the World
By: Genki Kawamura
Illustrator: Leeann Falciani (Jacket Design); Henry Sene Yee (Jacket Illustration)
Translator: Eric Selland
Release Date: March 12, 2019
Publisher: Flatiron Books

Genki Kawamura’s first novel, If Cats Disappeared from the World, has sold over two million copies worldwide, and it isn’t difficult to see why. A storyteller in all forms, Kawamura isn’t simply a novelist. He has also produced movies such as the famed Your Name as well as done work as a screenwriter and showrunner. All of these myriad of storytelling techniques leak into the novel, if not in method it was crafted, then in our nameless main character, his hobbies, and his loves.

Review – Light Boxes by Shane Jones

Light Boxes by Shane Jones Light Boxes
By: Shane Jones
Illustrator: Kein Garduno (illustrations); Paul Buckley (Design/Lettering)
Release Date: 2009
Publisher: Penguin

Shane Jones’ debut novel Light Boxes is a short, vivid thing with all the trappings of a fable. Prior works of Jones’ include poetry and short stories in publications such as New York Tyrant, Unsaid, Typo, and Pindeldyboz.

Review – The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami

Front cover of The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami The Strange Library
By: Haruki Murakami
Illustrator: Chip Kidd
Translator: Ted Goossen
Release Date: December 2, 2014
Publisher: Knopf

A small novella, The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami sits neatly in the space between fairy tales, the surreal, and magical realism. It is a short thing, barely 96 pages, with a great deal of artwork. But within that space lies the unknown, the unforgiving, and both the harshness and beauty of the world and people.

#MangaMonday Review – Go with the Clouds, North by Northwest, Vol. 1 by Aki Irie.

Book cover of Go with the Clouds, North by Northwest by Aki Irie. Go with the Clouds, North by Northwest, Vol. 1
By: Aki Irie
Illustrator: Aki Irie
Translator: David Musto
Release Date: April 16, 2019
Publisher: Vertical Comics
Series: Go with the Clouds, North by Northwest #1

Combining mystery with magical realism, Go with the Clouds, North by Northwest, Vol. 1 is the latest manga by Aki Irie whose other works include manga series Ran and the Gray World and Ultramarine Schooldays. This series follows a seventeen-year-old main character Kei Miyama, a half-Japanese boy living with his French grandfather in Iceland.

Review – Submerged by Vita Ayala and Lisa Sterle

By: Vita Ayala
Illustrator: Lisa Sterle (artist); Stelladia (colorist); Rachel Deering (letterer)
Release Date: February 12, 2019
Publisher: Vault Comics
Received From: Publisher
(All reviews are our own, honest opinions.)

A graphic novel of true beauty, both artistically and literarily, Submerged Volume 1 by Vita Ayala and Lisa Sterle is a brand new release not to be missed. This is a story of many things. It is a story of family, a story of coming to terms and letting go, it’s about relationships. It is a story many can relate to, on one level or another, and one that is so very worth reading.

Review – The Book of Hidden Things by Francesco Dimitri

The Book of Hidden Things
By: Francesco Dimitri
Release Date: June 19, 2018
Publisher: Titan Books
Received From: Publisher
(All reviews are our own, honest opinions.)

Ladies and gentlemen, let us talk about The Book of Hidden Things by Francesco Dimitri. I’ve sat on this review for a while. I wasn’t sure how I felt right after finishing this novel. The characters were unlikeable, I was angry with some of their actions and decisions, and there was at once not enough and too much magic. Yet I found the story still in my head, leaving me thinking about it days and then weeks later. It is this, I think, that hallmarks a good story, and maybe more importantly than that, a story that makes you think and question even if you’re not positive what it is you should really be questioning.

Review – In Calabria by Peter S. Beagle

In Calabria
By: Peter S. Beagle
Release Date: February 14, 2017
Publisher: Tachyon Publications

Books steeped in myth and folktale are ones that I am always drawn to, so it is with no surprise that I found myself with a copy of In Calabria by Peter S. Beagle.

Claudio Bianchi needs no one, opting to remain on his farm with his animals and his poetry to the exclusion of everything and everyone else. But one day a unicorn that, if he isn’t mistaken, is about to give birth wanders onto his farm and calls it home. Suddenly entrusted with this magical appearance, he finds himself beset upon by those who want the unicorn for their own ends, some of whom refuse to take no as an answer.

Review – Exit West by Moshin Hamid

Exit West
By: Moshin Hamid
Release Date: March 7, 2017
Publisher: Riverhead
Award: Man Booker Prize Nominee for Longlist (2017)

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid is a short book involving a new love, brewing war, and magical doors. Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize this year, this is a book that begs to be read.

The story is about two people, Nadia and Saeed, as they meet and fall in love in the days just before civil war breaks out in an unnamed country. Nadia and Saeed are thrown together, not just for love but for survival in an ever changing, increasingly dangerous world. Then the rumors of the doors start – doors that open to other places. Sometimes it’s a bedroom, a bathroom, an office building, but the important part was that it was not Here, somewhere not torn apart by war. Their goal? To go through one of these doors.