Thursday, 24 March 2011

Books I Could Eat for Breakfast

The Ask and the Answer (trade PB edition) Walker Books

Anyone who has ever met me knows that I adore The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. I am being literal when I say this; I tell everyone to buy it. Sometimes I buy it for them. I actually have two copies of the book so that I have one I can lend out. I carry it about my person just in case…

So why isn’t this entry about that book? Well, it seems fitting to open this feature with the first book that I actually tried to eat the second I laid eyes on it. To me, this book is the perfect package.

It represents a world where money is no object and designers, editors, sales team and author work in harmony. The white background leaps off the shelf and the embossed typography set against that edible matt silver foiling make holding the volume a tactile joy.

Then there’s the dual ‘A’ on the spine that nods to images imbedded within the story and the spot UV (“It’s like these words aren’t there to be read but to be heard…”). These are both clever design details, jokes to be shared with the reader after they finish the book, like a secret track at the end of an album.

Contained within (stunning coloured verso front and back, noted) the dual narrative caught me by surprise as I never look at reviews of a book I already intend to read. Yet as with the first in the trilogy, whoever typeset this was a genius. The two body fonts are as distinct and fitting as the voices themselves.

Five paragraphs in and I haven’t mentioned the writing. Honestly, I don’t think I need to, do I? If you want a review I’d read this at The Mountains of Instead. But I would like to say one thing:

The Ask and the Answer contains a chapter heading that reduced me to tears (heart-rending, uncontrollable sobs – I was inconsolable for a good twenty minutes before reading on). A. Chapter. Heading. If Ness can do that with five words, imagine what he did with a whole book of them.

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