S. by J.J. Abrams. The most unique book I have ever read and why you should too.
After my last blog post I got to thinking which other unusual or lesser known cool things I could share? The answer that came back to me was S. by J.J. Abrams. A book unlike any other I’ve read or seen before or since.
The trouble with S. is it's hard to discuss without giving too much away and spoiling the experience. My choice of the word, experience, is chosen very particularly because S. Is so much more than a story.
The ideas and most of the story was conceived by the very talented J.J. Abrams of Lost, Star Trek and Star Wars fame ( to name just a few! ). To help him write it he enlisted another author called Doug Dorst.
So what’s so unusual about the book? Let’s start with the story itself which isn’t one story but multiple. The book itself is called Ship of Theseus. This fictional book is penned by an eccentric and elusive author called V.M. Straka. This is a complete story you can read from start to finish. Yet as you read you start seeing writing in the margins in different colours. This is because the book you have in your hands is a loaned library book and the writing in the margins is dialogue between two scholars both researching the real identity of V.M.Straka and the cause of his mysterious death.
Now back to why this book is such an experience. I think if you handed this to someone without explaining what it is they would genuinely believe they are holding an old library book in their hands. The pages are yellowed, it smells old, it has library stickers and stamps and so on. It really is just a joy to own this book. It doesn’t stop there though. As you read you start finding things. I don’t want to spoil this too much but an example is what looks like a real weathered post card sent between the two correspondents in the margins. Oh, and the way the writing in the margins looks is fantastic. It really does look like pen ink!
I can only imagine this book must have been pretty expensive to create and they may not have made the typical profit margins of a normal book. The story has created whole forums and YouTube videos dedicated to discussing the book and solving the mystery.
As a lover of books one thing I really appreciate about this book is that it really would not work as a digital book I feel, although I understand it is available digitally which is baffling to me. It triggers so many senses and is just a lovely thing to hold in your hand.
But is it that great of a story? I’m not sure where I stand on that. This is in part due to the fact I was trying to read the two story lines side by side which is a real challenge! In hindsight and perhaps the future I wish I had read the Ship of Theseus first and then go back and read the writing in the margins more closely. The critics reviews seemed to agree the story was OK but as and overall experience it was something truly wonderful and unique.
So if you are a book lover, or know someone that is, and you’ve ever heard of S then make sure you treat yourself or them to this delight!
If you're a book lover you may enjoy some of the pin badges I have on the store. Check them out here!