Despite my militantly pro-eBook stance, I realize that there are some instances when only the physical object will do. Case in point: Chris Ware’s flabbergasting and amazing new work Building Stories (pictured above, courtesy of the Telegraph UK). Although it’s marked with the Dewey number for comic books (741.5) , it’s not a comic, or even a “graphic novel,” or even, really, a book. It’s a box filled with 14 books, pamphlets, single pages, foldouts and similar book-type objects, which, taken together, tell the story of the residents of a single building in Chicago in Ware’s distinctive, sometimes dense and ornate, sometimes deceptively simple visual style. You can pick up any of the 14 pieces, or even the box itself, and begin.
When you look up, several hours later, you will be a different, maybe (dare I say it) better, but certainly awestruck and probably slightly-more-depressed-but-in-a-good-way person. It is an amazing thing, and we’ve got it, which means that members can come to the Library and immerse themselves in the thing for an afternoon, or even check it out and take it home. If you take it home, though, please ignore Ware’s included guide to places where the various parts of the thing can be lost around the house. We’re going to need all 14 pieces back, thank you.
-Norm De Plume