These days there are a myriad of ways to read. On your phone. On your Kindle. On your tablet or laptop. In this age of multi-tasking, you can listen to the latest audiobook whilst cooking, or going for a run. You can borrow eBooks from libraries, and return them without actually setting foot outside your front room. And yet… we still love printed books. It’s what CompletelyNovel does best.
We’ve gathered together six things that will make you think about your interaction with books – both printed and digital – in a new way.
Techno-savvy toddlers can often swipe across their parents’ phones and iPads before they master turning the pages of a book or a magazine. For these kind of children, Lane Smith’s book, aptly titled, ‘It’s A Book’, goes back to basics, celebrating traditional books that don’t actually ‘do’ anything. No wifi. No scrolling. No passwords. Just paper pages – but still the power to pull you into another world.
See the book trailer, below.
2. Flatpack Books
The Ikea catalogue is not exactly a literary product – but the points it makes about its catalogue can also apply to all kinds of printed books, in a similar way to It’s A Book
In the style we’ve come to associate with Apple’s adverts, Ikea lists all the book’s key features, jokingly declaring,“It comes fully charged, and the battery life… is eternal!”
BJ Novak’s innovative picture book without pictures shows children that words can be more than enough – no illustrations needed, let alone interactive screens. He plays with the idea that the adult reading the book to the child can be made to say ridiculous things against their will.
“And this kid is the smartest kid too, because this kid chose this book, even though it had no pictures,because kids know that this is the book that makes grown-ups have to say silly things! And make silly sounds like…Blork”
A kind of post-modern activity book for adults, This is not a book challenges what a book actually is, and can be made to be.
The blurb for the book states:
“This object does not exist without you. You will determine the content and the final product. All will be shaped by your imagination. You must go out into the world in order to bring it to life and complete the assignments. With intriguing prompts, you will discover that this book can be:
A secret message: tear out a page, write a note on it for a stranger, and leave it in a public place.
A recording device: have everyone you contact today write their name in the book.
An instrument: create as many sounds as you can using the book, like flipping the pages fast or slapping the cover.”
There are YouTube videos of people showing off their completed books – but the fun is probably in doing some of the activities yourself.
5. Medieval Help-Desk
Medieval monks also had to cope with the challenge of new technology in the world of printed texts.
This sketch highlights the potential problems in the transition from scrolls to books – reflecting our modern anxieties with new technology that we may not find as ‘intuitive’ as the manufacturers may have hoped.
6. All about Them Books
Sometimes, there is nothing to rival a printed book – just the smell and feel of ink on paper, the heft of it in your hand.
This song may not challenge your notion of what a book is, but like the song it parodies, ‘All about the Bass’, the melody will certainly get stuck in your head. And hopefully the book-loving lyrics will make you smile. As the song says, “all the right words, in all the right places".
If you know of other books, cartoons, videos or songs challenging ideas about books, then do share them with us!
The ideas shared here about books are quite interesting and thought provoking. I still feel very comfortable holding and reading a printed book.