Beyond the book

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Thursday, April 2, 2015
Sometimes a book comes into your life that you know will be special. 
It happened in a book shop overseas. We were browsing through English language holiday reads, when my son brought me what looked like a library book - old, hard-backed, a biblio sticker on the spine, it even had library stamp dates on the fly leaf. 'Look,' he said, and pointed to the title: The Ship of Theseus. We grinned at each other - Theseus had been popular in his bed time stories.
Between the pages were newspaper cuttings, postcards, letters, even napkins. The pages themselves had scribbled notations around the printed text in two different sets of handwriting. 
To be honest, we thought it was an old library book someone had abandoned in the shop. 
Reading only the first page we discovered that the handwritten notes were between two people who used the book in a university library. We thought we had found treasure and, without discussion, were both wondering how we could get it home. That was when we found other copies of Ship of Theseus - all sealed up so none of the inserts fell out.
Okay, it was a printed novel made to look like an old library book and, clearly, the inserts and 'handwritten' notations were all part of the story. Relief! We could take it home - and not one copy, but two! We both desperately wanted to own it.
The Ship of Theseus was put together by JJ Abrams, known for Lost, Mission Impossible 3 and a Star Trek movie or two, and Doug Durst. It is a book beyond a book. I'm not a fan of Abrams' films, but Ship of Theseus is a tale to immerse yourself in - read a chapter, read back through the handwritten notations and the inserts for that chapter (don't drop the book - these are placed where they need to be for tale to take shape.)
The production quality of the book is amazing - the handwriting looks like real ink, the postcards have real stamps. What can I say, immerse yourself - this is no ordinary book.


Tags: "ship of theseus" "jj abrams" lost "doug durst" 
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Yvonne Barlow Editor at Hookline Books - where book clubs and readers choose the novels that go to print.

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