A few weeks ago the Dodds family joined Bath library (or re-joined in my case). Ethan loves reading so it was an opportunity to introduce him to the delights of the public library as well as an opportunity for Debs and I to save some money; if we enter Waterstones we buy books, end of story.
As we expected, Ethan loved it. The kiddies section is well-stocked, complete with giant teddy bear at the entrance and a big toy train inside which they can sit in. It’s carriages are loaded with books.
I love it too, especially as I’ve discovered that in the “teenagers” section they’ve got a bunch of graphic novels. Allows me to get my fix of comic book fun without incurring the financial overheads. So far I’ve read Superman: No Limits (pretty good), Clerks – The Comic Books (Hillarious), and The Book of Pages which is an absolute gem.
You can get a taster for the contents of The Book of Pages from the authors website which has a number of other offerings which I’ve still to read through properly. Unfortunately the book’s actual website — bookofpages.com — seems to be offline, but happily the Wayback Machine has stashed away most of its contents. You can start browsing the archive from here.
The book is the story of Jiriki, a monk who is sent on a quest to find a book by the Abbot of his monastery. The quest takes Jiriki to the Metropolis, a future city full of advanced technology and robots. The story is really a fable, offering observations on modern life which, for me at least, invoked shades of James Gleick’s Faster. Only packaged in a more digestible format.
The illustrations are simple black-and-white line drawings. Each page is made up of a single illustration and two columns of text. The text providing narrative or commentary that reflect on the picture’s contents. The writing style is very readable, often wry, and I found myself rapidly immersed in Jiriki’s world and the odd cast of characters he encounters. The Magician; The Villian who steals numbers and stores them in mathematically-sealed magnetic pods; The Human Being Machine; and the Angel of Blame. There are six pages of the book available in the Wayback Machine archives for you to get a taster for yourselves.
Like all good stories the Book of Pages has a twist, only this one is introduced not at the end but 5/8ths of the way through. And it relates not to the story but to it’s medium of delivery: the book is actually a hypertext. I won’t spoil it any more than this.
A great book, and certainly worthy of a purchase, or maybe your local library has a copy too?
Personally I’m off down the newsagents as Debs has promised me she’ll buy me The Beano.