I absolutely love when a book has more to it than the usual simple formatting. I think it really adds to a story if there are some small physical things there to bring you into it, or some illustrations. Things like that really make a book stand out to me, and because of this I thought I would share with you two books with unusual formatting that really makes them unique.
Two books I loved and think should get a little more love:
Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix
This is a parody horror story. It has classic horror stereotype characters but what really makes this book stand out, and what first drew my attention to it, was the fact that it was set in a store called Orsk. What I think is brilliant about Orsk is how eerily similar it is to Ikea. The store is experiencing some vandalism at night and so some employees are chosen to stay and sort it out, and so the haunted house type story begins. What I love most about the physical book itself is that it’s shaped like an Orsk catalogue. Which means it’s also shaped like an Ikea catalogue. The layout of the book is in true catalogue style, with products advertised and displayed on the pages, there is a map of the store – helpful when the plot really takes off, pages from a staff handbook, employee evaluations and much more. It is the small, extra bits of information like this that really pushes this book over the top. It was very entertaining to see this horror story take place in a setting I was so familiar with. I don’t think I can ever see Ikea again without thinking of the haunted Orsk store. In one word: eerie.
S. by Doug Dorst and J. J. Abrams.
This book has quite a difficult premise to explain. I will describe the physical book first, because it will help to clarify what it is actually about. The book is shaped and aged like an old library book called the Ship of Theseus. The pages are yellowed, there are notes written in the margins, photos, postcards and written on napkins that are all physical things that you can take out of the book and hold in your hand. The plot of the Ship of Theseus, I would describe as a cross between Bourne Ultimatum and Pirates of the Caribbean. It is a dangerous and exciting world that has been created.
The notes in the margins make up a second plot line. There are two characters that write back and forth to each other – though they have never actually met. Together they try and discover what has happened to the author of the library book who disappeared with a lot of mystery involved. The closer they come to finding out the answer, the more dangerous it becomes. What I loved most about this book is that it felt as though I had taken the book from the library and had stumbled across their conversation. The added postcards and leaflets that are in the pages make it feel very real. As though it were actually happening. The two simultaneous plot lines – though both very interesting to read – were difficult to read together. I had to read a chapter of the story and then go back to the notes in the margins. But it was still hugely enjoyable.
I love books with that bit of extra effort put into them, and I highly recommend these two.