Books. I am talking about books here. Books made with paper (or if you are so inclined, dead trees). Although I do also love the feel and smell of new, crisp, uncirculated bills.
I have been very happy with my Kindle (which I named Marvin) esp. when I was trudging through 1Q84 in all its 944-page glory. It was a blessing to not have to log that book around for several months. (I did say I “trudged through” it…)
But I miss holding an actual paper book in my hand, feeling its heftiness of promisses and anticipation. I miss wandering amongst the library aisles picking up random books because, I confess, the book covers look interesting or the book titles sound intriguing, like a mystery waiting for you to solve.
These are chance encounters of the best kind.
You all know Chuck Palahniuk of Fight Club fan, and I know quite a few are rabid fans. How apropos was that I picked up this book from the shelf as I was pondering the enjoyment of feeling papers between my fingers that no technology can replace. In his re-introduction to the re-publication of Invisible Monsters (now dubbed Remix), he said that he wanted to do this book the right way, the way he envisioned it when he wrote the book a decade ago, inspired by his strange encounter with a Vogue magazine (What? No page numbers? And they make you jump back and forth to finish reading an article?)
I really love what he said about his desire to recreate that feeling of holding a hefty Sears catalogue in your hands, not knowing what’s inside, and every time when you randomly flip through the pages, you find something you’ve not seen yet. Full of surprises, promises of surprises.
Don’t worry my dear readers. I am not imaging this post to be a book review or something. I suck at that. What I am good at though is to MARVEL at the brilliantness of people and things that I encounter, and at the randomness of such discoveries. There was no reason other than serendipity that led me to pick up This Isn’t the Sort of Thing That Happens to Someone Like You by Jon McGregor and scanned through the first few pages. Once started, I was compelled to sit down in the comfy chair and read half of the book while in the library.
I don’t know how to describe the book. It suffices to say that Mr. McGregor is stingy when it comes to word count. But what he accomplishes in as few words as possible is unsettling and seething, the most disturbing kind of malice. I am still haunted by a few of the stories, wondering what happens next?
Brevity is the trademark throughout the book. The story, The Remains, is only 3-page long… The repetition of simple phrases brought chills down my spine. I have been wondering how one could visually, as in a film, convey this feeling so succinctly.
And for my stream of thoughts, conveniently, he is also fond of playing with syntax, and more, using the page as his canvas (apology for using such a cliche. I told you I suck at writing reviews…)
Could eBooks faithfully represent pages such as this?