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If a book could talk, what would it say? Ruth Ozeki has some ideas.

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Shh….Listen!” Benny Oh says at the beginning of Ruth Ozeki’s new novel. “That’s my Book, and it’s talking to you.” His Book is not the only one; Benny hears the voices of all kinds of inanimate objects: fluorescent lights, coffee beans, paper cups, “the chatter of cash registers filled with all those arrogant metal coins that think they’re actually worth something.” It began the year he was 12, the Book informs us, the year his father died in a freak accident. Together, sometimes in amusing counterpoint, the Book and Benny chronicle his journey during the fraught year 2016, when he turns 14. Their tale of sorrow, danger and tentative redemption serves as the springboard for extended meditations on the interdependence of all beings, the magic of books, the disastrous ecological and spiritual effects of unchecked consumerism and more.

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