Monday, November 26, 2012

The Books We Want for the Holidays: Building Stories

The phrase "Cyber Monday" makes me want to take a melon baller to my eyeballs, so today I'm picking the least e-friendly book out there right now.  Chris Ware's new graphic novel Building Stories was a decade in the making and consists of 14 pieces of graphic ephemera.  From a newspaper to a Golden Book to the box itself (which is the size of a Monopoly box), the assorted pieces taken together form the story of an apartment building in Chicago and its occupants.  Part of the novelty of this novel is that the reader can explore pieces in whatever order s/he chooses; there is no "right" way to read it.  I myself opted for smallest to largest, mostly because it was easier to organize and keep away from the devil cat.  I think that the free form nature of the book is confusing to readers, but think of this book as a collection of short stories; the order isn't as important in evaluating the work as a whole.

 Building Stories is lovely, and not just for Chris Ware's amazing artistic eye.  Of course Ware is the poster boy for graphic design geeks, but he's also a great writer of literature.  The women in Building Stories are struggling, and while this is a bit of a somber work, the artistry of story and illustration make it enthralling.  Also, and awesomely, one of the storytellers living in the building is a bee.  Who doesn't want to read a story from the point of view of the bee hovering around?

Feast your eyes on this treasure that has nothing to do with the cyber-manufactured hysteria.  (And no, Gianna, I'm not giving you Building Stories for Christmas.)

1 comment:

  1. totally unrelated question: will you give me this for Christmas?