The Hungry Bookling

A journey through books and the imagination

Bookling by design II

Ok so I promised that part two of this post would follow shortly and that was at the end of last year. And now we are close to February. Err, I have the best of intentions, but perhaps I’m slowing down with age…eek. So, if you are like me and feeling your age you may like to remind yourself of Part 1 of this blog.  I will give you a few minutes to catch up. 

Tick. Tock.

Ok times up. Ha ha. 

So, check out the results of the poll…

Thank you for those of you who voted, that was awesome of you and it is always interesting to hear what other people think too. It did surprise me just how many of you voted for ‘hardback’ as your preferred book format. I thought a lot of you would pick the ‘E-reader’ option, but it appears in this little corner of the bookling universe, it is not yet the end of the line for the traditional book after all. Hoorah.

I mean I love books in any format, but, as I have said before, I will always have a soft spot for an actual book whether it be paperback or hardback.  It is also geekily reassuring that some of you out there are like me and look at the font size of a book before purchase. Ha, ha I am not alone. Tiny fonts give me a headache.

It is also clear that we love an illustration, but clearly not just any illustration will do! (That makes me nervous for my little sketches) At the end of the day, it comes down to personal taste and I for one am glad that we have so many books to choose from!

So, as I have just said there are a lot of beautiful illustrated books out there and below I’ve picked three that (It think) are special books of the bunch. I will say that there are those books you will read once, thoroughly enjoy and never revisit. These books below, in my humble opinion, are not the ‘one-off read’  kind of books, I personally want to revisit them again and again. They will befriend your bookshelf and look good too. 

And so to the book reviews…

S (Ship of Theseus) by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst (Adult Fiction) Hardback 

If you are looking for a beautifully designed hardback, look no further than S. 

It is clear that visual design was an intense priority with this book. It feels like you are delving into an immersive adventure and I have to admit to being in awe of this book for a while. I wasn’t quite sure where to start, it all felt a little overwhelming. 

It is difficult to describe, it is multiple stories in one. The book itself is designed as though it is a library book, of  a dark story named ‘Ship of Theseus’ but then written in the margins is a second story made up of conversations between two people that discuss the book and the mysteries surrounding the author. The attention to detail in the book is truly incredible with its array of additional inserts hidden like treasures amongst the pages: from a drawn on napkin to handwritten letters and postcards. The authors have created a separate universe with this book. With all this said, I did find reading the book difficult, for me it was visual overload. It took me a while to figure out how I was going to read it. In the end I decided to read a chapter of the ‘Ship of Theseus’ first and then go back over the comments in the margins. I don’t know whether this was the best approach or not, because I have to admit I often got distracted from the plot: my eyes kept wondering to the conversations in the margins.

Overall, it is has left me with the sensation that I must read this book again. I feel like it is as close to a living book as you are going to get because there are so many angles to it, it certainly is an experience. The concept reminds me of the approach to the ‘Never-ending Story’ – (just the approach not the story!) And it also feels along a familiar thread to those ‘choose your own adventure’ stories I read as a kid, although there is no choices here as such…hopefully you get what I mean! I certainly got the feeling I was pulled into an adventure of sorts.  I do think this book is only for adults though and I would say this is a needy book, it demands your attention and is not a light read by any accounts. I do feel this does warrant a post to itself, it is that intense!  It is  therefore very likely I will revisit it again at a later stage as I don’t think it is a book you ever truly put down. On a final note, if you buy this, you must buy it in hardback to get the true experience of it. Just my suggestion. 

Wonderbook – The Illustrated Guide to creating imaginative fiction by Jeff Vandermeer (Creative Writing Reference) Paperback

Ok, so the title kind of gives it away and you will have to have a love for creating writing to enjoy this book or at leas a love of beautiful artwork. It is a book, in my opinion, at the top of its field. It is the perfect writers companion, a book with a visually stunning and engaging approach, encompassing a very individual style that left me truly inspired. I think this is an all-rounder of a reference book and will meet your needs whether you are a creative writing hobbyist or take it more seriously. I also think it is perfect for adults and children alike. I know I would have loved this when I was younger too, but to the parents out there, read it first and judge for yourself!

This is a glossy book, crammed full of techniques and advice, which manages to get the topic across in a totally interesting and refreshing way. This is most definitely not a one time read. 

The Ocean at the End of the Lane: Illustrated Hardback Edition by Neil Gaiman. 

I am so glad I discovered this book. I was immersed in ‘The Ocean at the End of the Lane’ from the first to the last word and perhaps a part of me lingers there now not wanting this beautifully crafted story to leave my mind. This fictional story begins with a man’s nostalgic retelling of a distinct memory of his childhood which slowly develops into unique, sometimes dark but fantastical story. Pure, undiluted imagination stirs within this book like sugar but it’s the viewpoint through the child’s eyes that kept me captivated and grounded within this fictional world. I do think that adults and older children alike will enjoy this book, but there are some sections in the book that are on the dark side so parent’s discretion is advised. 

Ok, so this is an unusual point to admit, but this book also made me hungry. No question about it. This story was buttered throughout with memories and description of good food, a lot of memories are entwined with those of food so this helped solidify the story for me. I read the hardback illustrated version of this story and yes I do think it is worth it. The black and white illustrations threaded throughout the book are a welcome addition and help make this book a treat to keep and treasure. It also made me want to add a few items to my food shopping list and yes it made me hungry to read more of Gaiman’s works as well. Highly recommend! 

I hope 2020 is going well for you all and if you do decide to give any of my book recommendations a try, I would love to hear from you. Even if it is just to tell me that‘ The Ocean at the End of the Lane’ made you hungry too! 

Now I need cake. 

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: