Authors: J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst
Length: 453 pages
Where Bethany’s Copy Came From: The Indianapolis Public Library
Plot Basics: Disgraced graduate student Eric finds an unlikely research partner in student library worker and lit major Jennifer as he continues to investigate V.M. Straka’s legendary masterwork, “Ship of Theseus.” The two students throw themselves into Straka’s work, chasing a desperate series of clues and codes into the author’s true identity and the shadowy world of political uprisings and assassinations coordinated by the S in the 1930. Their investigation leads them into danger and to learn how to trust, how to make decisions and how to follow their hearts.
Banter Points: S. is “Griffin and Sabine”, meets “The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet,” turned up to eleven. I stumbled on to this title via Twitter and I’m so glad. I love books that push the idea of what books are, or take a look at how people actually use books. The ephemera in the pages are fun discoveries each time (though the map on the napkin is the best one, by far).
The great thing is that the fake Straka book, “Ship of Theseus” is fabulous on its own. There were moments when I wanted Jen and Eric to stop writing so I could concentrate on that book alone.
Another part of this story that I really liked was how the Jen/Eric plot didn’t spell everything out. As a reader, I had to put the clues together and figure out events that were happening outside of their notes. I appreciated getting to fill in some of the blanks.
Early in the book, Jen writes this [..] with a note that “this is sound of me rolling my eyes.” I want to see that enter the general internet lexicon because it’s absolutely right.
Bummer Points: As great as all the margin comments are, they are so heavy at the beginning that it was hard to keep up with the flurry of characters introduced all at once. Jen and Eric’s story was easier to enter in to, but as things went on, I got more caught up in Straka’s story and wished the characters in his life had been a little more distinct at the beginning.
Word Nerd Recommendation: This nerd has a birthday coming up and is seriously hoping for some birthday cash so she can add it to her collection.