The Cat Who Saved Books
by Sosuke Natsukawa
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 16 Sep 2021 | Archive Date 16 Sep 2021
Pan Macmillan, Picador
Grandpa used to say it all the time: books have tremendous power. But what is that power really?
Natsuki Books was a tiny second-hand bookshop on the edge of town. Inside, towering shelves reached the ceiling, every one crammed full of wonderful books. Rintaro Natsuki loved this space that his grandfather had created. He spent many happy hours there, reading whatever he liked. It was the perfect refuge for a boy who tended to be something of a recluse.
After the death of his grandfather, Rintaro is devastated and alone. It seems he will have to close the shop. Then, a talking tabby cat called Tiger appears and asks Rintaro for help. The cat needs a book lover to join him on a mission. This odd couple will go on three magical adventures to save books from people who have imprisoned, mistreated and betrayed them. Finally, there is one last rescue that Rintaro must attempt alone . . .
The Cat Who Saved Books is a heart-warming story about finding courage, caring for others – and the tremendous power of books. Sosuke Natsukawa's international bestseller, translated from Japanese by Louise Heal Kawai, is a story for those for whom books are so much more than words on paper.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 111 members
Combining two of my favourite things, cats and books, “The Cat Who Saved Books” by Sosuke Natsukawa was a pleasant, quirky surprise. Following the death of his grandfather, the proprietor of a secondhand bookshop, Rintaro Natsuki prepares to close the shop for good and move away when a tabby cat called Tiger saunters into the store and whisks Rintaro away on a bizarre quest to rescue “imprisoned” books from a succession of labyrinths. Tiger is, of course, a talking cat and is sassy with it. The intrepid and unlikely duo meet many colourful characters along the way, including a man who reads thousands of books but never rereads any as there are too many to get through, another who cuts up books to enable speed reading, and one who wishes only to sell books as disposable products. All are deemed by Tiger to have imprisoned, harmed or treated books badly and so must be put to rights by this odd couple and their books freed. Author Sosuke Natsukawa, a Japanese doctor, has already enjoyed success with his previous book, the title of which translates as “God’s Medical Records”, which was made into a film in Japan. It wouldn’t surprise me if his latest book received the same treatment; it has the feel of a Studio Ghibli-type film. Translated skilfully and sympathetically by Louise Heal Kawai, the book is written in what appears to be a fairly simple way; this is not a bad thing because it makes the true depth of the story more profound. Rintaro is a lost soul at the beginning, often repeating “Grandpa, this is messed up” to himself as he tries to come to terms with his grandfather’s passing, but by the end of the story he gains strength and purpose. Tiger is a catalyst for Rintaro’s growth as a person. I cannot fault this book, other than to bemoan the fact that it isn’t longer! Overall, “The Cat Who Saved Books” is a quirky, fun and touching joy for those who love books…and cats!
I really enjoyed this book, it was a quick, easy and fun read that I could not put down. It was well written, with good flow and pacing and well-developed characters. I will definitely be looking for more from this author. the translator also did an amazing job!
This is a very interesting lovely way to introduce someone to the sci-fi genre. In a way I'm disappointed this hadn't been made into manga as the artwork would've been fantastic (think along the lines of umbrella academy) given how normal yet unusual it all is. It's a fairly quick read (only about an hour and a half) but it has a nice message and is interesting. I'd say it's great especially for teenagers
This is a gorgeous and deceptively simple read with many layers. An 18year old high school student has been living with his grandfather after the death of his parents and helping him run his second hand bookshop. When his grandfather suddenly dies he inherits the shop and his Aunt tells him he is too young to look after it and must clean it out and close it. Feeling rudderless and directionless, Natsuki is visited by a talking cat who asks for his help with 3 tasks to save damaged and unloved books. This is a modern day parable about empathy, friendship and love of all things but especially the love readers have for books. While this Japanese translation is officially listed as adult it would easily cross to the YA market of 13 plus. An absolute delight for book lovers of all ages. Who knows? The story may even encourage those reluctant young readers to appreciate books more as well!
A lovely, lovely book for anyone who loves books, bookshops, cats and tea. Reminded me of a Studio Ghibli movie - heartwarming and sincere, reading it makes you feel like you're having a cosy hug. Made me sigh at the end - a rare thing these days!
An enjoyable, quick read and well translated into English. I would recommend this for book lovers as it debates the importance of books and the types of books we read. It also celebrates books and would make a lovely gift.
This combines two of my likes, cats and books, so I thought I would wish to read it, and having done so, I am impressed. It was a quick read, and an enjoyable one. Thank you so much to netgalley and the publishers for letting me read an advance copy of this book.
Rintaro Natsuki loved his grandfather and his second-hand bookshop. When Rintaro lost his parents and moved in with his grandfather, the bookshop became his place of refuge. For something of a recluse, it was perfect his nirvana, books from floor to ceiling, all for him to read to his heart's content. But then his grandfather dies, and Rintaro alone and broken. His aunt will take him in, but it appears he must sell the shop. The out of seemingly nowhere, a talking cat called Tiger manifests itself. Tiger needs a book lover to go on missions with him to help save books that have been imprisoned, mistreated and betrayed. And an assignment that Rintaro must accomplish alone. The Cat Who Saved Books is a brilliant and unexpectedly good read. This is one of those books that anyone who only ever reads from an electronic device should read. As I often tell family and friends, one day, there may not be power to charge your devices. There may not be enough materials available to produce the batteries for your devices. Then where will we be? We need, and will always need hard copies. Thankfully I have two daughters who are librarians and have extensive libraries at home. They have been fortunate enough to stop books from being binned and taken to the tip. Even charity shops are not overly keen on stocking books these days. The reason I mention these things is because of the three initial quests Rintaro sets out on. They are so thought-provoking and inspirational. I have to admit, it actually kept me awake thinking about it. I imagined myself in Rintaro's position and how I would handle each undertaking. And how each solution would benefit me now. This book was so beautifully written and translated into a fluent yet so simplistic English version. Though classed as an adult book, I would say it is closer to the teen/young adult rating. But it could easily have been adapted for children, teens and young adults. (and should be if using the three initial quests). It would probably make an excellent Manga comic and film. And it would then get viewed by a great many more people young and dare I say not so young. The characters, though few, are a delight to behold and have their own quirks and idiosyncrasies. Rintaro and Sayo show emotion and courage not altogether expected in ones so naive and inexperienced. Even the antagonists in the initial quests are not dis-likeable because you understand where they are coming from, even if they are misguided by their motives. Each quest has been painted with a vivid vibrancy, with settings that give you the out-of-this-world feeling. Not too dissimilar to walking into the wardrobe of another familiar book. The Cat Who Saved Books is a superb read. Intelligent, inventive and immensely enjoyable. Thank you NetGalley and Pan Macmillan books for the ADC of the book.
Winning formula for lovers of books, bookshops, cats and Japanese literature. Very cute - will appeal to anyone who enjoyed The Travelling Cat Chronicles, Before the Coffee Gets Cold and Sweet Bean Paste.
This was a cosy and fast read as it is not a long one. It is marketed as a book for adults but it would be a nice one for young adults too, The writing style is of my liking and the translation is really well done! It is a book about books, empathy and friendship. The main message from this book is the importance of the type of books that we read, how we take care of those books and different types of readers. I really enjoyed this one, I definitely recommend it if you are into Japanese literature.
This is an utterly charming little tale about a high school student called Rintaro Natsuki. He lives with his grandfather who owns a second hand book shop and when his grandfather dies he inherits the shop. This is where Tiger the tabby cat enters the tale (who calls him Mr Proprietor which I think is so sweet) and takes him through a series of labyrinths to help him save books who are in peril. Along the way you can see Rintaro's character evolve as he starts to understand the tremendous power books can have not only on himself but others as well. There are also some fabulous quotes in the book such as 'reading a book is a lot like climbing a mountain. Sometimes you progress at a painstakingly slow pace and the result of all this hard work is finding a great view at the end of a long climbing trail.' Which is a fabulous way to approach reading in my opinion.
This book could be sold as a Young Adult book. It is about the philosophy of books. I have thought about the following more than once since finishing the book: "It's not true that the more you read, the more you see of the world. No matter how much knowledge you cram into your head, unless you think with your own mind, walk with your own feet, the knowledge you acquire will never be anything more than empty and borrowed." It is an adventure story with fantasy that reminds me of Antoine Laurain's writing. It is a gentle, thought provoking read.
Firstly, a huge thank you to NetGalley and Pan MacMillan for the opportunity to read this e-arc in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. I would say I'm definitely more of a dog than a cat person, but that's a whole other story that I won't bore you with, but I have always admired the independence and self-reliance of a cats, and their whole 'humans are here to serve them' approach to life. When I saw this book, I'll be honest the cat thing felt like a bit of a gimmick, but the idea of saving books drew me in. However, this beautifully written, concise book is highly deceiving. On the surface, it's the story of a boy and a cat, and the adventures they go on, but there is so much more to this. Yes, the cat can talk. Natsuki, the protagonist has just suddenly lost his grandfather and is an introvert on the verge of living an hermitic life, skipping school and avoiding all human contact. Now he's been forced into a position where he has to make a decision, does he keep going down this road? Without his grandfather's guidance and support, Natsuki feels very alone in this world and can only see a future where he will be forced to live with an aunt he hardly knows. It is at his lowest point that Natsuki is visited by a talking cat who tells him that he needs Natsuki's help to save books...and where this story reveals it's onion like properties! This book has layers, and as Natsuki travels with the cat to save books, it reveals what is actually a modern day parable of self-love, empathy, faith, belief and of course love, not just romantic love, but love for books and more. There are so many beautiful quotes and lessons in this book, that it is definitely one to recommend...if only for the talking cat. Truly, this book delivers a story that will touch your soul and will definitely make you reflect on yourself and your life choices. I absolutely loved this book and think it is one that I would recommend to anyone 12+ for both the story and the lessons that it provides.
I loved it. Absolutely, completely loved it. The Cat Who Saved Books is a story full of wisdom. If you're looking for fantastic quotes that you can use everywhere, you'll find many here. Incredible number of truths that we don't think about on daily basis, but which are extremely important. The story itself is truly enjoyable. It starts very sadly where Rintaro's grandpa passes away. This is an extremely sensitive topic to me, because my grandpa passed away a decade ago, but there isn't a single day when I don't miss him. It was difficult to read the first chapter... Rintaro is lost, he doesn't have much will to do anything, he stopped going to school and spends his days in his grandpa's bookshop. One day a talking cat appears in the store and asks him for help. People are destroying books and Rintaro is the only one who can save them. They go to the labyrinth together and defeat the evil. Until the next time... A school representative Sayo brings Rintaro's homework, she really cares about the boy, and she has special character traits which allows her to see and hear the talking cat! They make a perfect team that will deal with any books destroyers. I feel that this story is simply *perfect* for everyone who loves books. For everyone who sees power of books. For everyone who would do anything to save the stories. I loved it. It definitely goes on my list of top 2021 (and I've read over 100 books already!), I'll be buying a hardback for myself and for other people.
What a lovely book. If you suspend belief that one of the main characters is a talking cat then you are sorted, as the cat tells Rintaro early on in the book! Anyway, this book might suit fans of Studio Ghibli or Anime (it has that aura about it and would make a fab film). It's also for those who love books. The cat accompanies Rintaro on 4 quests to save books and himself. Will keep it as simple as that.
'Empathy – that’s the power of books' - the key message of this heartwarming book where a love of books and a wise ginger tabby help a boy through grief. What is not to love about this combination? In typical Japanese fashion, the prose is clear and sentimental and yet no less heart wrenching for this. In arguing for the power of reading books, we are told that there is no substitute - I would disagree. In the world of audiobooks velvet voices like Juliet Stevenson I believe have brought a whole new dimension to the book reading experience. A small quibble with what is a book lovers book, reminding us as if we need it, the power of books. Thank you Net Galley and Pan Macmillan for the ARC
'The Cat Who Saved Books' is a young adult novel focusing on Rintaro Natsuki - a very introverted young man whose grandfather has just died. Rintaro is in the process of moving in with his distant aunt, but before he does that he wants to spend as much time in his Grandfather's beloved used book store as possible. One day, a talking cat appears and asks for Rintaro's help in rescuing books. And so Rintaro - aided by the cat and a love interest - adventures off to save the books he loves while also learning to process his grief and learn more about himself in the process. Although younger in tone the questions that Rintaro faces in the labyrinths he encounters got me thinking. Reading is always seen as "a good thing" but what is the point of it? Do people who read know more? Is it better to read quickly or slowly? Why re-read books? This is a book that would have really spoken to me when I was younger. I would definitely have aspired to the levels of thought and profundity Rintaro is able to show when confronting those harming his beloved books. This is an easy gift to get that 14 year old relative who loves reading. I haven't specifically seen this labelled as a 'Young Adult' novel but considering the age of the main character and the 'coming-of'age' feel I would definitely label it as such. Because of this I was able to forgive some of the clumsy pacing. However, I know it's necessary to the story but why is Rintaro just allowed to live alone? After his only family has died? And nobody has any problem with him running a bookshop on his own? I really had difficultly with this aspect of the novel and felt as though the author could have come up with a better excuse for this. I think that considering the age demographic and the amount of times this book called me out as a reader this is five stars from me, but I can understand why some people wouldn't enjoy it.
A beautiful little book, translated from Japanese. It you love books this is for you. If you love cats there is a bonus. The story is magical, with some philosophy added. Loved the references to literature, Austen and Steinbeck amongst others. A few Japanese words left for you to look up. Definitely a book for the 21st century.
The only thing wrong with this book is the cover: its not a ginger cat, Tiger’s a tabby with white chest and tummy. It says so right when we first meet him! And for me, that was the only thing wrong with the Cat Who Saved Books. It is perfect in every other way. Intriguing, enthralling, intelligent, mystifying, visual, heartwarming, mildly scary… Everything you could want in a book, all wrapped up with some lovely characters, even they are a perfect examples of extremes! Sometimes when Tiger the Tabby led us down mysterious stacks of books into a white lit strange world, I was reminded of Wrinkle in Time. Maybe it is a mashup between Wrinkle in Time, Alice in Wonderland and the Ninja Librarian. But it is a wonderful mashup with its own voice, its own heroes in Rintaro, and the class rep turned good friend, Sayo. The reasoning that goes on in order for Rintaro to solve the puzzles was my favourite bit. It’s hard to defy false logic and see through to the heart of a problem. There is a lot here for a thoughtful middle grade reader. There’s a lot here for an older reader too, who will see the problems only too clearly, since they are at the heart of our society and our calamities at present. And the final problem shows that it is indeed not so easy to solve these problems as Rintaro first thought. But they can be solved… if we try hard enough and hold firm. I love this book. I will probably buy a copy to read again, and then hand on to someone younger than me!
If this novel was intended only for teenagers, then they probably don’t know when they are being spoiled. A thrice-bereaved High School boy, Rintaro, comes to terms with the death of his grandfather who has looked after him since the death of his parents, by going on alarming adventures with a strange talking cat. The cat is, by Japanese standards, really quite rude and blunt, but that’s just what Rintaro needs. Each adventure is a fable giving a different perspective on the meaning and nature of books. The adventures take place in “labyrinths”, created either by the personality or the will of the character whom Rintaro is going to confront, but all are sustained by the power of truth. The way, the only way, for Rintaro to resolve issues is to find a way in which the character in that labyrinth is lying (perhaps to themselves) or under a misapprehension. If he can get his “adversary” to recognise and correct the lie, then the process immediately becomes non adversarial: things resolve themselves and books are freed. The last labyrinth, though, is created by someone far older and far more powerful than the others. And there is much more at stake than Rintaro’s own existence or happiness. He has to show how books give hope even if their power is waning in the modern world. And he needs all the insight and understanding he has gained from his adventures to answer that one. Truth is the key, not just for the successful execution of Rintaro’s missions but also for his love-life, because Sayo, whom he doesn’t even see as his friend to begin with, sees through everything and is completely unimpressed by the High School’s star pupil and sportsman, whom even Rintaro loves a bit. This novel was translated by Louise Heal Kawai.
Genre: Fiction | Literary Fiction | New Adult Fiction Release Date: Expected 16th September 2021 Publisher: Picador | Pan Macmillan Translated from Japanese "First things first, Grandpa's gone. The tale that follows is pretty outrageous, but he knows that one fact is absolutely real." Rinato Natsuki was perfectly average. He didn't speak very much or have many friends. He didn't do particularly well or bad at school. He was as normal as could be. But after the death of his beloved Grandfather, Rinato is left devastated and faced with a bleak future - closing Natsuki books, the perfect sanctuary he'd spent years in with his Grandfather and moving far away to live with his aunt who he's only recently met. But then a curious thing happens - a tabby cat called Tiger appears in the store and asks for his help. He needs someone who truly understands books to help him rescue trapped books from people who have misunderstood and mistreated them. And so the pair enter the mysterious labyrinth to begin their journey ... but Rinato will have to finish this rescue mission alone. "So, this cat turns up out of nowhere, asking for help, then says it's going to bitterly disappointed if I don't agree..." The Cat Who Saved Books was a beautiful dreamscape of a story. I always love a book about books - and this one truly captured the soul of a book lover, asking us important questions. Should we always push to read more in the pursuit of knowledge? Is it essential to keep reading classics so they don't fade away? Is it better to know about lots of a books rather than really reading just a few? The story was simple yet surreal, and we watched Rinato grow and learn not only about himself but the world around him. Quick and so easy to read all at once, I was not only drawn into a heartwarming story about a young boy trying to find his way through a great loss, but a magical adventure that matched the epic stories they were trying to protect along the way. Both stories blended expertly together and neither faded in the background. The characters were masterfully crafted and while some the friends we meet along the way may seem slightly prickly, they were so easy to fall in love with instantly. I could see Rinato growing in front of my eyes into a young man who is realising he has more of his Grandfather still with him than he ever thought possible. This was a spellbinding tale about loss, love, friendship ... and of course, the magic of a good story. "Unless it is open, a book possessing great power or an epic story is a mere scrap of paper. But a book that has been cherished and loved, filled with human thoughts, has been endowed with a soul." RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Thank you to Sosuke Natsukawa, Picador and Netgalley for this ARC in return for an honest review.
A wonderful escapist novel set in a bookshop in Japan. The story is based on an orphaned schoolboy being set book-related, philosophical challenges to determine his future. The atmosphere, characters and detail result in a warm, endearing tale that will appeal to readers who appreciate books.
I have just finished #thecatwhosavedbooks by #sosukenatsukawa, thanks to @netgalley #netgalley for the #arc This book is just beautiful, so philosophical and thought provoking. There are lots of balanced ideas and thinking it really got me. If you enjoyed #beforethecoffeegetscold and #kafkaontheshore then I think you will love this. I would recommend that everyone reads it, it's beautiful and a book I need to own when it comes out 16th September 2021. Enjoy! #books2021 #japanesefiction #translatedfiction #translatedjapaneseliterature #booksfromjapan #booklover #translatedgems #japaneseauthor #japaneseauthors
I was initially drawn to The Cat Who Saved Books for three reasons; 1) I’m always keen to read more translated fiction, 2) the title - I love cats and I love books so there’s a lot to love here and 3) the gorgeously bookish cover. (The covers for other markets are equally stunning!) This is a heart-warming magical story that deals with themes of grief (and loss of identity in the wake of grief), friendship and the magic of books. In it, we follow Rintaro following the loss of his bookseller grandfather who was his guardian. Having recently lost my own grandfather, I could relate to Rintaro’s grief but felt that the discussion of grief and loss was dealt with in a very warm and sensitive way. You can see that Rintaro has lost much more than just a loved one and yet the nature of the book forces him to focus on the present and the future, to find hope, purpose and friendship at the darkest of times. I even found myself healing in the process. As you’d expect, the central focus of this book is on books in general. The Cat Who Saved Books will challenge your ideas of what being a booklover looks like by looking at various reading habits and how they can be harmful. I’m guilty of hiding in books to escape reality so the grandfather’s message of “It’s all very well to read a book, but when you’ve finished, it’s time to set foot in the world” had a big impact on me. One of the reasons that I enjoyed this book so much is that it reminded me a lot of some of my favourite books. The idea of saving books took me back to Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s Cemetery of Forgotten Books. And while I can’t figure out why, The Cat Who Saved Books also reminded me of A Wrinkle in Time. Possibly because of how both books made me feel throughout. I do, however, feel that the cat doesn’t have a large enough role to truly warrant being the centre of the title. But I guess The Teenager Who Saved Books doesn’t have carry the same weight or selling factor. Overall, this was a delight to read. I’d recommend it to anyone looking for something hopeful without being too heavy or anyone who enjoys reading books about books, books featuring cats (who don’t die!) or books with quest-based storylines.
This is a short book but a great one. I was at first attracted to the cover as it is so outstanding. The description however does not do this book justice. There are a number of challenges that have to be completed in the book and each one has a real moral tale. This is a book lovers book and book lovers will understand the challenges well. I must admit it took me longer to read this than I first imagined as there are lots of references to other books throughout the book and I ended up looking up and buying many of them to add to my to be read pile (that continues to grow!). Overall I loved this book like many of the Japanese books I have read they have a message that the reader can take from it. Overall an excellent book that is highly recommended.
I will admit that I chose this title because it contained two of my favourite things, cats and books. I wasn’t sure what to expect but the mixture of fantasy and reality works very well. The book will appeal to anyone who likes books, reading and second hand book shops. The book is also about a lonely boy who grows into a wise man. The importance of friendship and relationships is an important theme.
A lovely little book that has a deeper meaning and makes you think……. Perfect short read if you love books, cats and adventure!
It's absolutely magical! Bookshop, cat and a lonely kid.. I love how this is a fairy tale with a talking cat, where the whole setup seems to be childish in a way... but in a good way. It's a cute little story, but it's full of wisdom and bright ideas. I couldn't put it down. I find it hard to pinpoint, but it just makes you feel calm and shows that everything is solvable, even when it seems not to be. It is full of little gems, but I don't want to get into the details so as not to spoil it.
This is a heart-warming story about finding courage, caring for others – and the tremendous power of books (even short ones). After the death of his grandfather, Rintaro is devastated and alone. It seems he will have to close Natsuki Books, the tiny second-hand bookshop his grandfather owned, a special place that has long been Rintaro's safe haven. Then, a talking tabby cat called Tiger appears and asks Rintaro for help. The cat needs a book lover to join him on a mission. This odd couple will go on three magical adventures to save books from people who have imprisoned, mistreated and betrayed them. Finally, there is one last rescue that Rintaro must attempt alone . . This novel is very short so very hard to review without giving spoilers but I find it a very enjoyable read. It's a story as much about Rintaro our central protagonist being saved as it is about the titular cat who saved books. It's about feeling out of place and how we can find ourselves through the power of books..
Rintaro lives with his grandfather who owns a second-hand bookshop but when his grandfather passes away Rintaro does not know what to do. The bookshop is a refuge for Rintaro who finds it very hard to connect with people his own age. A boy from the year above visits to buy books and is genuinely friendly, then Rintaro’s class president Sayo drops by ostensibly to drop off his school work, but she too is concerned about Rintaro’s well being. Into this walks a talking tabby cat called Tiger who cajoles Rintaro into helping him free imprisoned books. There are three labyrinths and Rintaro has to persuade and argue with three people, a collector, a mutilator of books and a publisher, who profess to loving books, but who have lost their way. The tone of the storytelling is gentle and emotive, this really is a warm hug of a book. Any book lover can understand Rintaro’s need to retreat into the bookshop, his safe space, but this is not really good for his well being. The descriptions of the labyrinths are immersive and the arguments of the “book lovers” are a little too persuasive, but it is Rintaro’s passionate pleas that win you over. This story is not so much how a cat saved books, but how a cat saved a boy and led him out of grief towards friendship and first love. “Read lots of books……. they’ll be like friends to you. They’ll inspire and support you.” My thanks to NetGalley and Pan Macmillan for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Very cute easy read Natsuki Books was a tiny second-hand bookshop on the edge of town. Inside, towering shelves reached the ceiling, every one crammed full of wonderful books. Rintaro Natsuki loved this space that his grandfather had created. He spent many happy hours there, reading whatever he liked. It was the perfect refuge for a boy who tended to be something of a recluse. After the death of his grandfather, Rintaro is devastated and alone. It seems he will have to close the shop. Then, a talking tabby cat called Tiger appears and asks Rintaro for help. The cat needs a book lover to join him on a mission. This odd couple will go on three magical adventures to save books from people have imprisoned, mistreated and betrayed them. Finally, there is one last rescue that Rintaro must attempt alone . . . Not my usual choice of book but the storyline combined with cats pulled me in. I found the translation really good and the book flowed so I read it quickly. I think it would suit all ages and would make an amazing animated film. A great heart warming read, definitely recommended! Thanks for NetGalley and the publisher for a chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review. #TheCatWhoSavedBooks #NetGalley
The Cat Who Saved Books By Sosuke Natsukawa Set in Japan, we meet Rintaro who's grandfather has just passed away. His grandfather ran a second hand bookshop and this is how Rintaro's love for books began. After his grandfather passed away he becomes the propertier of the bookshop. This is when we meet a talking cat who tells Rintaro that he must go through several labyrinths and save books that are being imprisoned or harmed. So they go through several missions to save books. Overall the message from the book is that books should be loved and we shouldn't mistreat them. I'd recommend to anyone who wants a quick read and loves bookshops and cats! Thank you netgalley for this copy for an honest review.
I really enjoyed this book. It was well written with good characters and the pages kept turning as I was intrigued to see where the story would go. Not my usual type of book but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
A charming and heart-warming book. We meet Rintaro, an introverted young man, who lives in a second-hand bookshop with his grandfather - Natsukis Books. At the beginning of the book, the grandfather has died and Rintaro is alone with the books. He stops going to school and his class-rep, Sayo, starts calling on him. His aunt visits daily to help him pack up to go to live with her. Then Rintaro meets a talking cat. The cat - we never learn his name - almost orders Rintaro to follow him because books need rescuing and we enter a magical labyrinth. This book calls to book lovers everywhere and each quest that Rintaro is taken on makes us question the power of books. We are asked questions about whether it is better to read lots of books or to re-read meaningful books? Is is better to make a fortune selling 'best-sellers', to fill shelves with these 'best-sellers or keep classics that ae slow sellers? So many questions. Even what power does a book give to a reader? Rintaro has to find the answers to these questions to complete his quests and after each quest, he learns something about himself. To me this is a book that could almost be a coming of age read, but as a book lover myself, I loved it and the questions it raised. As someone who reads shelves of books every year, it was interesting to ask myself why I have never gone back to re-read those I have really loved. I've not get found the answer. An excellent read, a warm cosy read.
An enjoyable read. An 18year old high school student has been living with his grandfather after the death of his parents and helping him run his second hand bookshop. When his grandfather suddenly dies he inherits the shop and his Aunt tells him he is too young to look after it and must clean it out and close it. Feeling rudderless and directionless, Natsuki is visited by a talking cat who asks for his help with 3 tasks to save damaged and unloved books.
This is such a lovely book. It deals with death, life after a love one’s death, and dealing with grief. The power of books within this novel creates such a heartwarming feeling and made me fall in love with reading even more than I already do.
This is a lovely little book. It's pretty short and I read it in a couple of hours. The story is a sort of modern fairy tale about books. Rintaro meets a talking cat who takes him to a fantasy world where he needs to help save books. I liked that each challenge he had to take was pretty short and to the point. I also liked the discussion of the importance of books and how they help us.
A short but very, very sweet book about a talking cat who is on a mission to save unloved and unwanted books. Anyone who loves books will also love this fantasy novel translated from the original Japanese.
A heart-warming story and magical tale of a bookshop, talking cat and lonely boy. A beautiful translation dealing with the subject of grief and loneliness but with a hopefulness intertwined.
This story is very cute and has some resemblance to The Midnight Library. It tells the tale of young Rintaro who had recently been orphaned following the death of his grandfather (his parents had previously died). His grandfather owned a second hand bookshop Natsuki Books, a place that Rintaro now seeks solace. Suddenly he is joined by a talking cat, Tiger, who leads Rintaro on three missions to save books. While this might sound fanciful it really is a story of much more than this brief synopsis and I would go as far as to say this is a must for anyone who loves reading!
I was reminded of The Little Prince when reading this - not in terms or plot, or the way it was written - but the way it makes points. I do feel like if you liked one then you'll like the other. It was a solid, quick read. Not too short, not too long so it was easy to keep myself interested. There was a talking cat - always a plus. Very much a classic, this is a must read
I really enjoyed this book and it gave me a well needed lift to my day. The insight and humour spoke volumes about the experiences and challenges that we were guided through as the audience. I am very glad I read this book and would highly recommend..
Really enjoyed this little, quirky novel about a boy, a bookshop, and a talking cat. We meet Natsuki who helps his grandfather run a second-hand bookshop, when his Grandfather dies Natsuki inherits the bookshop but loses his anchor in life. He stops going to school and feels directionless. When Tiger, the cat appears and asks him to go on several missions to rescue books that are being in various ways misused, the story becomes much more fantastical. Along the way Natsuki learns more about himself, reflects upon his relationship with his Grandfather and ultimately figures out what he should do. Thought-provoking and uplifting.
Sosuke Natsukawa writes a quirky offbeat story, translated from Japanese, about Rintaro Natsuke, a remarkably well read, timid, griefstricken boy who has just lost the most important person in his life, his grandfather, who ran a small secondhand bookshop that few frequented and which he has inherited. A loner who believes he has no friends and no-one who cares for him, he withdraws into himself even further, not stepping out of the bookshop to go to school, thinking no-one will notice. He is going to be taken by a kind aunt he has never met before, and will go and live with her. He is visited by 2 people from school, Ryota Akiba, who appreciates the books to be found in the bookshop, many of them rare, and buys some of them, and class representative, Sayo Yuzuki, who brings him his homework, asking him to return to school, but he is convinced they have come only out of politeness and a sense of duty. In this wonderful tale that celebrates books and readers, Rintaro is shocked when he encounters a green eyed talking cat, a blunt speaking tabby who wants him to help him rescue imprisoned books, and go on dangerous missions or labyrinths from which he may never return. He returns from 3 adventures, one accompanied by Sayo, liberating books, locked in cases, never re-read, given there are so many other books to read, where books are mutilated and cut up, to enable speed reading through synopsis and summaries, and encounters a most profitable book publisher, World's Best Books, that will publish only popular and dumbed down books, ignoring all others. Just when Rintaro thinks he is free, he faces his greatest, most challenging and trickiest labyrinth, will he be able to survive and save someone who has come to be important to him? Whilst saving books, the issues surrounding books and reading are important elements in this intriguing read, the heart of it is about Rintaro seeing his incredibly wise grandfather more clearly, he was the key to his success in every labyrinth. He begins to recognise just how much he is like him, understand that he is not alone, he has friends, he has just been blind to them and that he is truly missed at school. The cat helps him address his grief and loss, find love, and comprehend his grandfather's desire for people to understand that through books, which have souls, readers can become more empathetic, compassionate, care about others and see through the lies and distorted truths that mar our world. This is a lovely read, with the often Japanese trait of occasionally appearing too simple but on reflection touch on deep and complex philosophical truths, are about our wider society, and the personal, intimate and human. Many thanks to the publisher for an ARC.
This took my attention as it combined a talking cat and a book about books, what more could you want? This was a very cleverly written book that involved a boy, whose grandfather had just died, going on a number of adventures to save books. As he set about doing this he learnt a lot about himself and this helped him to overcome the death of his grandfather. It was also a clever discussion about books, the role of books and power of books and how that is changing, Overall I found this a very engaging and delightful read and feel it has been translated very well. I am happy to recommend this book to any book lovers out there. Thanks to NetGalley, the author and the publishers for providing a copy of this book for me, for an an open and honest review.
Thanks to @netgalley, I had access to this book :) The Cat Who Saved Books by Sosuke Natsukawa. “The high school student Rintaro Natsuki is about to close the secondhand bookshop he inherited from his beloved grandfather. Then, a talking cat named Tiger appears with an unusual request. The cat needs Rintaro’s help to save books that have been imprisoned, destroyed and unloved.” This book will speak to all book lovers! It is a quick and easy read that takes you to Japan and into the life of an hikikomori. It is full of life lessons that you learn via Rintaro’s memories of his grandfather and his reflections on the power of books. The main character is very likeable and I really got attached to him and his struggles. I had a wonderful time seeing him evolve thanks to his friend, Tiger, his grandfather and his love for books. If you are a lover of books and sometimes fail to describe to others what reading brings to you, I suggest you pick up this book and take some notes as one short quote can mean a lot :) The theme of the power of books is developed throughout the story and gets a stronger meaning page after page. It strongly resonated with me and I wish I had a physical copy to annotate📚
A beautiful little read about a talking tabby cat, Tiger, and a boy, Rintaro Natsuki on their adventures to save books. The English translation is very well edited and reads pleasantly. A couple of Japanese words remained, which I felt added the story keeping some nuances and culture. A magical story full of wise and thought-provoking words, I would highly recommend this book, especially if you love books or like reading! I can’t wait to buy this for my friends when it’s released! A huge thank you to NetGalley, Pan Macmillan, Picador, AND Sosuke Natsukawa for this read!
What a lovely easy read about a talking cat who wanted to save books with the help of Rintaro an orphaned teenager who finds himself the proprietor of a bookshop after his grandfathers passing. Loved the hidden messages in each labyrinth and how Rintaro became stronger and stronger as a character throughout the book. Highly recommend for a nice warming read.
This is such a heartwarming story with an all most fairytale-like tone to it - The Cat Who Saved Books is ideal for anyone who loves books, or cats, or just needs a little pick-me-up. To put it simply, this book feels like a hug. I have one issue with this book, however, and that is that it felt a little in complete - some aspects of the plot felt as though they were missing something, or had not been explored enough, but this didn't take too much away from my overall enjoyment of the book.
"A book that sits on a shelf is nothing but a bundle of paper. Unless it is opened, a book possessing great power or an epic story is a mere scrap of paper. But a book that has been cherished and loved, filled with human thoughts, has been endowed with a soul." After the death of his grandfather, Rintaro is devastated and alone. It seems he will have to close their tiny second-hand bookshop crammed full of wonderful books - the perfect refuge for a boy who tended to be something of a recluse. Then, a talking tabby cat called Tiger appears and asks Rintaro for help. The cat needs a book lover to join him on a mission. This odd couple will go on three magical adventures to save books from people who have imprisoned, mistreated and betrayed them before there is one last rescue that Rintaro must attempt alone… Described through a series of short adventures undertaken by Rintaro and Tiger, this is a deceptively simple story imparting great wisdom. Combined with the element of fantasy, it makes a heartfelt plea to liberate books from remaining merely a statement and to becoming friends who inspire and support you. Anyone who loves books and loves reading them (because, clearly, these are two separate passions) should read this. An outrageously wild, soul stirring experience, it will reinforce your love for books. If you happen to be the occasional, casual, or non-reader, it may well transform your relationship with books. Either way, this Japanese philosophical fantasy will speak to you. This ARC courtesy of @netgalley and Pan Macmillan.
What a lovely book! Rintaro has inherited his Grandfather's second hand bookshop. He is at odds with everything following his Grandfather's death and is almost not surprised to come across a talking cat called Tiger who requests his help in saving books. As he follows Tiger's requests, he learns that it's OK to be a bookworm, but also to let other people into his little world. A delight to read.
This book is perfect. It is charming. It is wise. It is beautiful. It is magical. It is simply written but with so much meaning. It feels familiar and warm like reading a favourite book. This book is most definitely the perfect read.
A lovely translation of a sweet little story about a lost boy who lived with his grandfather in an old bookshop. Rintaro was a recluse and misfit in life and when his grandfather passed away was anchorless for a time. However, his encounters with Tiger a cat changed his life around. The story was intelligently written in a fun, idiosyncratic and very moving way. Really inventive in the sense it appeals to both adults and children. I really enjoyed reading it.
I adore Japanese writing….they all seem just to have a gentle, delicate style. I knew I was going to love this, I mean, who wouldn’t? Read the title…. It’s just beautiful, it really is. I can’t really say any more, other than it’s a short book, readable in a day easily, and it will leave you happy and speechless. My thanks to Netgalley and Pan Macmillan for the advance copy in exchange for an honest review
We meet reclusive high-school student Rintaro Natsuki shortly after the death of his grandfather. Rintaro stops attending school, instead taking solace in his grandfather’s second-hand bookshop and the stories therein. Believing himself alone in every sense of the word, Rintaro is surprised to find his bookshop visited by a talking cat, who needs his help to rescue some books… yes, really. This is a really sweet, quirky read, which follows Rintaro and Tiger (the talking cat) through several labyrinths, each one revealing more about the notion of consuming and loving books. Through these dilemmas, we learn more about Rintaro himself, and see how the revelations within each labyrinth also change his relationships with those around him in the real world, not just in his books. I found the story to be heart-warming and offbeat and, while it won’t be to everyone’s taste, I thoroughly enjoyed the escapism it provided. I would certainly read other translations of this author’s work. My thanks to the author, NetGalley, and the publisher for the arc to review.
What a lovely story. The book is about a boy who is very sad as his grandfather has passed away. His grandfather owns a quirky bookshop. He is set in his was ways and these are the ways Rintaro chooses to follow. He decides school was not for him and prefers to work at the book shop He is a boy who does not need people but his school friend, Sayo Yuzuki, keeps coming and checking up on him and tries to make him go back to school. An aunt of his comes to visit and tells Rintaro that he will go stay with her which he agrees to but as the days go by he becomes sure he wants to stay and work in the bookshop. One morning when making tea in the bookshop he hears a noise. He looks up and see a green eyed talking cat. The cat tells Rintaro exactly what is expected of him and even though Rintaro does not want to help he feels obliged to do so and that is the saving of books. He follows the cat into a labyrinth and encounters his first mission which is to set books free. He goes on three other missions and Sayo joins him. Rintaro and the cat were shocked that Sayo could see the cat so it was obvious she had to go through the labyrinths. They stop the wrongdoings in the labyrinths and Rintaro becomes more outspoken each time. As time goes by Rintaro becomes a different person and the cat has helped him out of his shell to the point that he decides he can live on his own and go to school which the aunt is happy with. The story is well written and such a lovely read and shows that people can change for the better. It is also very amusing
A short quirky book about the power of books. I chose this as a change from my usual murder mysteries and really enjoyed it. It was an entertaining story about loneliness, friendship, importance of books and coming of age set in a second-hand book shop. It sounds a bit heavy but is a delightful read with humour. I did feel it ironic as I was reading it on a kindle so would not have a second-hand book to pass on. I would also recommend it to young adults.
The Cat Who Saved Books by Sosuke Natsukawa is a rich, magical tale following reclusive teenager Rintaro Natsuki in the days after the death of his grandfather and a talking ginger tabby cat called Tiger as they journey into a series of labyrinths saving books from one terrible fate after another. Rintaro has inherited his grandfather’s bookshop and is in the process of closing it down in order to move with his aunt when Tiger makes his appearance appealing for Rintaro’s help to save books which have been imprisoned. Together, the two unlikely friends set out on the first of a series of quests to rescue books and throughout their adventures Rintaro learns much about himself that he hadn’t known before, drawing on the lessons his grandfather has taught him quietly over the years. I cannot describe quite how much I loved this book, it was delight to read from the first page and I quickly lost myself in the story. On first glance, this is simply a story about a young boy and a talking cat saving books, but there are so many layers and themes in this short book that it really packs a punch. It has such a heart-warming and powerful message which goes beyond a love of books themselves, it explores love and friendship, compassion and courage in a clever, accessible way for a wide range of age groups. This is the perfect read for anyone who truly loves books, and cats of course. It is a book I will be buying for friends and family and one I will read again and again; I feel like I will find something new each time, it is definitely one of my favourite books this year. Thanks to NetGalley and PanMacmillan for a digital copy for review.
A quirky and offbeat story with an interesting message for book lovers everywhere. I loved the descriptive quality of the writing, especially when it came to the environment and the labyrinths. I could almost visualise the whole story as a Studio Ghibli animation, and would love to see that happen. Almost novella like in size, this is the perfect quick read that is full of heart.
I love reading cat centred Japanese books, infact I did a book list on bookshop.org for @rossiter_books called nyan nyan nyan inspired by this book. After the death of his grandfather, teenager Rintaro inherits his grandfather's tiny second-hand bookshop. Feeling devastated and alone he feels he has no choice but to close the shop, that is until a talking tabby cat appears and asks Rintaro for help. They go on a number of adventures to save books together, but the last rescue is for Rintaro alone... I loved the descriptions of the inside of the bookshop and the different magical adventures really make you think about how books influence our lives. This is a story about finding courage within ourselves but also looking outwards and caring for others.
The cat who saved books is a very wise creature with a kind heart and a superior intelligence- which, cat like - he's very aware of. Anyone who uses Kindle, Goodnestone etc and like me has puzzled why childish rewards such as badges are thought necessary as incentives not to enjoy a book but to get through it will wholeheartedly understand the premise of the book If you enjoy reading wven if you aren't about yo boat how many titles you've got off your list will love this gentle fairy tale I am completely ignorant of Japanese legends but guess there may be some reference here. In the sense that cats talk a d buildings dissolve the I suppose it is a fantasy, but not at all in a special effects way, more as a continuation of the coloured fairy tale books (The Orange Boom of Fairy Tales etc) that I loved as a kid This is a thoroughly enjoyable romp through out present and possible our future
You must begin The Cat Who Saved Books by suspending your disbelief and letting yourself go with the flow of the story that, yes, does involve a talking cat that saves books. Translated from its original Japanese by Louise Heal Kawai, there is lovely lyrical syntax and a sort of dreamy quality that just wraps around you while reading. This was a quick and uplifting read that centres around one of my favourite themes – books about books. Or rather, books that celebrate the joy of reading. Rintaro Nasuki’s world is shattered when his grandfather, who raised him, dies. His grandfather owned a small second-hand bookshop, Natsuki Books, and instilled in Rintaro a love of reading and appreciation of the classics. One day, while contemplating having to leave the book shop to go and live with his aunt, a tabby cat called Tiger comes into the store to visit Rintaro. He is a blunt and straight-talking (TALKING) cat on a mission. And he needs Nasuki’s help. Tiger needs Rintaro to intervene is situations where people are trying, in various ways, to destroy books. They get transported into a labyrinth that runs on the power of truth – so Rintaro must get the people he is talking to to see their inner truth and save the books. The Cat Who Saved Books is a whimsical yet insightful allegory into grief, the grieving process, human nature and figuring out what’s important. It has a lovely message, all while singing the praises of reading and books. A delightful way to spend a few hours.
This book reminds me of all those hours I'd spent in old bookshops. You could smell the books. You know the smell if you'd spent time in a book shop, not the same smell as a library. It's a really sweet tale of a boy who has just lost his grandfather, and inherited his bookshop. He meets a talking cat and they set out to save books. Now, if you love books which I assume you do if you're reading this then you should give it a go. It's a magical adventure. It's my first ever Japanese book which Yes, I will hold my head in shame but it won't be the last that's for sure. You need to go into this book with an open mind and your heart on your sleeve. It is a heart warming story that should melt the hardest of hearts. Yes, I would recommend this book purely because it's fun and different. Enjoy!
The Cat Who Saved Books is a captivating, heartwarming and whimsical modern fable about the power of books to heal and replenish and the ability to travel around the globe through the power of only one’s imagination. Bookish and introverted high school student Rintaro Natsuki is about to close the secondhand bookshop he inherited from his beloved grandfather. Then, a talking cat named Tiger appears with an unusual request. The cat needs Rintaro’s help to save books that have been imprisoned, destroyed and unloved. The Natsuki bookshop is a special place: a dusty and lonely shop, where reading lovers can find, among the pages of great masterpieces from around the world, an oasis of peace, a refuge away from the noise of everyday life. When the owner, a cultured and passionate man, suddenly dies, his nephew Rintaro, a shy and introverted boy, takes over the shop. His grandfather took care of him after his mother died, and now that he's gone, Rintaro must learn to dispense with his sweet, calm wisdom. The bookshop is on the verge of failure: a heavy legacy for the boy, also because the signals from the world are quite discouraging: few people are really interested in reading anymore. One day, while Rintaro basks melancholy in the memory of his grandfather, a talking cat enters the library. Despite the boy's initial perplexities, the cat convinces him to leave on a very special mission: to save the books from their disappearance. Thus begins the story of a magical friendship and an odd but wonderful partnership for the common good: an amazing adventure that will lead them to travel through four different labyrinths to resolve as many existential questions on the importance of reading and on the infinite and inscrutable strength of love as they can. Through their travels, Tiger and Rintaro meet a man who locks up his books, an unwitting book torturer who cuts the pages of books into snippets to help people speed read and a publisher who only wants to sell books like disposable products. Then, finally, there is a mission that Rintaro must complete alone. This is an enchanting, quirky and simply gorgeous story that highlights the importance of books, friendship and self-belief. The simplicity of the story illustrates the warmth, the love and the true power books hold, and at its heart, it is a thought-provoking philosophical novel as well as an enthralling tale of tomes, first love, fantasy and an unusual friendship with a talking cat. A delightful blend of fairy tale and magical realism, appealing to lovers of books, cats and Japanese culture, this is an elegant treat that is full of heart and soul. It's a book that will speak to all of those for whom books are so much more than mere words on paper. Highly recommended.
For anyone who loves books, this one will speak to you in a way so many books don’t. This book understands what it is to love books, and the complexity of the relationship between humans and the written word/books. While there were some wonderful moments, and beautiful musings about reading/books, I’m not sure I especially loved the book. I enjoyed it, that is true. I liked the characters, though I didn’t quite feel I experienced their full selves, or maybe they are just average people who are less interesting than the usual characters created for works of fiction. I didn’t dislike them, but like the book, I’m just not sure I especially loved any of them. I don’t regret reading this book, but I also feel it’s not necessarily changed my life in any way, like some of my favourite reads have. It’s a pleasant read.
When Rintaro Natsuki’s Grandpa, his world changes forever. As, not only does he lose his beloved and only surviving family member, but also his home. This is the second hand bookshop where he and Grandpa lived and sold books. A distant aunt has agreed to take him in and so Natsuki Books is holding a closing down sale. He will be going to live with her. It’s a lot to take in and he is bereft. A high school student who has stopped attending and is known as a hikikomori or ‘shut-in’. He feels completely alone and that no one would even miss him. But two of his fellow students persist in calling at the shop to check on him and to discuss the books on the shop’s shelves. Akiba and Sayo express their concerns about him but Rintaro still shuts them out. Until one day, the shop bell rings and the strangest visitor arrives. A large ginger tabby called Tiger. He needs Rintaro’s help in saving a library of imprisoned books and quotes from ‘The Little Prince’. And so their quest begins as they travel through 3 labyrinths in which books are being held prisoner, butchered or seen as mere commodities. But the 4th labyrinth will be the most dangerous of them all and Sayo will be in danger…. This is a novella about books and a young boy’s love for them and what they mean to him. The power of books, how they can teach us, move us, stir our emotions and also challenge us. The book is also about change and how we can grow as a result. Rintaro is changed by his experiences in the labyrintsh and he acquires the confidence and belief to keep the bookshop open and return to school. I liked Rintaro. He accepted the presence of Tiger who took him on strange and scary adventures and then realised that he had had two good friends all the time. Rintaro’s world wasn’t as empty and lonely as he thought. This is aimed at the YA market but also at anyone who, like me, loves books and what they represent. It has been compared to ‘The Guest Cat’ which I also loved and it has a great deal of charm. Cats and books – who can resist? My thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an ARC.
The Cat Who Saved Books by Sosuke Natsukawa is an eccentric and heartening book. “First things first, Grandpa’s gone. This tale that follows is pretty outrageous, but he knows that one fact is absolutely real. It’s as real as the sun rising in the morning.” The Cat Who Saved Books is about grief, friendship, and a reminder to readers, booksellers and publishers of the beauty of books. Rintero Natsuki has left with his grandfather since his mother died when he was young. Rintero is an outsider at school and chose to spend his time among the books in his grandfather’s shop. Now his grandfather has died and he is facing having to live his home and the bookshop. Then Tiger, the talking cat, shows up and asks him to help him save some books. This magical read is a must for anyone who truly loves books, it reminds us that books are meant to be read, enjoyed and cherished. “A book that sits on a shelf is nothing but a bundle of paper. Unless it is opened, a book possessing great power or an epic story is a mere scrap of paper. But a book that has been cherished and loved, filled with human thoughts, and loved, filled with human thoughts, has been endowed with a soul.” An excellent read.