Book Buzz Episode 30 – What You Are Looking For Is in the Library & A Psalm for the Wild-Built

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Air date: Dec. 31, 2023

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What You Are Looking for Is in the Library

A Psalm for the Wild-built

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Hi, this is Jessica Russell. I’m the assistant director of collection services at Sno-Isle Libraries. And welcome to Book Buzz.

Today's reading recommendations include a book of stories set in a library and a book set on a futuristic moon.

First, we’re going to hear from Hattie, library associate for Library on Wheels, for a book about books. Over to you, Hattie.


What are you looking for at the library? Okay, but what are you really looking for?

Michiko Aoyama’s “What You Are Looking For Is in the Library” is the dream for anyone who hopes to find that perfect book – the one you can’t put down, that makes the whole world look new.

In a series of overlapping short stories, characters wander into their community library, where Sayuri Komachi, Tokyo’s most enigmatic librarian, is able to sense exactly what each visitor needs. A restless retail assistant looks to gain new skills, a mother tries to overcome demotion at work after maternity leave, an anxious shut-in hopes to build connections, a conscientious accountant yearns to open an antique store, and a recently retired salaryman searches for newfound purpose – all emerge with the books they were looking for – and something extra. That special book that gives them the push to take the first step, follow their dreams, and discover a new way forward.

These gentle slice-of-life stories about finding community and purpose, are perfect for fans of Before the Coffee Gets Cold, A Psalm for the Wild-Built, and The Reading List, or anyone who has ever found themself at an impasse in their life and in need of a little inspiration.


Thanks, Hattie! Of course, library staff love books about libraries, but you don’t have to work in a library to enjoy this one.

Next, let’s hear from Anne, service coordinator of programming, for a story of monks and robots. Go ahead, Anne.


The Hugo Award-winning novella A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers is perfect for anyone looking for a gentle, humorous, and philosophical read.

On a moon called Panga where AI and robots are a distant myth, Dex is an adventurous and friendly tea monk who travels between villages dispensing custom-blended tea to people who confide their misgivings and longings to them. Feeling a bit unfulfilled and restless themself, Dex abruptly decides to travel into the wilds alone to seek purpose in their own life. Their solitary quest is suddenly disrupted when a robot steps out of the woods and into their camp.

The robot, Mosscap, has arrived to honor the old promise of checking in with humans. Centuries earlier, the robots of Panga gained self-awareness, laid down their tools, and wandered en masse into the wilderness, never to be seen again – until now. Mosscap can’t return to the other robots until the question “what do people need?” is answered. And like it or not, Mosscap is relying on Dex to help find the answer.

What do people need? Despite its diminutive size, A Psalm for the Wild-Built draws the reader in to consider the question and step back from our busy, technology-filled world of today. I enjoyed the comical interactions between Dex and Mosscap as they got to know each other, and when I finished the book, I was filled with feelings of hope.


Thanks, Anne! I’ll think of this book the next time I talk to Siri or Alexa.

Our recommendations this week are: What You Are Looking For Is in the Library by Michiko Aoyama and A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers.

Join us next time, when we’ll explore more great reading recommendations — interesting books you can find at your favorite local bookstore or at your local library.

Until then, I’m Jessica Russell from Sno-Isle Libraries.

Thanks for joining us for Book Buzz on KSER.

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