Novel Idea: Stephanie Sluder

Name: Stephanie Sluder

Job title: Youth services assistant at the Jackson County Public Library

What’s the name of the book and author you are recommending?

“How Do You Live?” by Genzaburō Yoshino.

What made you want to pick up this book in the first place?

My supervisor, Lola, recommended it to me. She really enjoyed it and thought I would, too. She was right. I then read the book blurb on the inside of the cover and saw that Miyazaki, founder of Studio Ghibli, has plans to make a final film based off of this book. That did it for me.

Once you got into the book, what made you want to keep reading it?

Just the flow of the book and its philosophical thoughts kept me intrigued. I feel like I could relate to Copper, the main character, a lot. He is a very curious and thoughtful kid. Many of the philosophical thoughts that he had, I have also thought a time or two in my lifetime. It’s very fun to read about the way he thinks about connections between people and life. Watching him discover the importance of connections made me feel at peace with the world, or at least it made me want to bring more peace to the world through my own actions and thoughts toward others.

Once you finished the book, what did you like about it?

I mostly liked the author’s intention behind it. In 1937, Genzaburō Yoshino’s “How Do You Live?” derived from a plan to release a series of books with his friend on ethics and culture for young Japanese students. To make it more interesting for children to read, Yoshino and his friend decided to release it as a story instead “to teach the next generation about the importance of a free and rich culture to human progress,” according to the translator’s note. Yoshino had a very meaningful plan behind this book to help make humanity become a better place, starting with the young generation.

What is the book about?

This book is about a 15-year-old boy in Japan set in the 1930s who often ponders the actions of his life and the connections of the world around him. He looks up to his uncle, who writes to him to teach and encourage him of his thoughts and how to determine the best way to overcome various situations.

Why would you recommend this book to others?

Well, how do you live? I think this book is a great way for us to ponder on our own lives and how we live as a small human in a big world.