Title: The Boredom of Suzumiya Haruhi
Author: Tanigawa Nagaru
What it's about: Kyon, Haruhi, and the rest of the SOS Brigade return for more adventures. This book is set between Melancholy and Sighs, chronologically speaking. It's made up of four short stories. "The Boredom of Suzumiya Haruhi" is about the SOS Brigade entering a baseball tournament, which "Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody" is about the SOS Brigade celebrating Tanabata, a Japanese festival. "Mystérique Sign" is a short adventure wherein someone actually comes to the SOS Brigade for help with a problem, which turns out to be more than Kyon and the others bargained for. "Lone Island Syndrome" is a longer story. Haruhi decides that the SOS Brigade will go on a field trip over the summer break, and so Koizumi invites them to stay at a relative's mansion on an isolated island. While there, Haruhi's desire for murder mystery excitement takes a deadly turn.
What I thought: One interesting thing about this volume is that we start to see a little more of Haruhi's personality besides her crazy enthusiasm. "Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody" and "Lone Island Syndrome" both show a bit of her more vulnerable, melancholy side. We also get to see a bit of development for Nagato. Kyon notes a couple times that she seems lonely or that she might possibly be trying to make jokes. As far as Asahina-san goes, she gets a bit of character development, too, but more importantly, we get to see some plot-developing time travel. That's something important about this volume and "Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody" in particular, we get more development for the overarching plot of the series.
Overall: These stories are all very interesting. The Boredom of Suzumiya Haruhi is a good read.