Magnificent multiple-component artifact from Lost creator J.J. Abrams
by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst
2013, 472 pages, 6.4 x 9.7 x 1.6
$23 Buy a copy on Amazon
This is a book that uses another book to tell its story. S. comes in a box that contains what looks exactly like a well-read, slightly stained library copy of a 1949 novel called Ship of Theseus, by V.M. Straka. There was never a novel by that name, and V.M. Straka is a fictitious character (though the publisher, Hachette, plays along by giving Straka an author’s page on its site).
The Ship of Theseus is a novel about a man who gets shanghaied on a ship crewed by evil characters. S. is a copy of that book, filled with handwritten annotations from various people, some of whom have a personal relationship. What’s more, in between the yellowing pages of the book you’ll find postcards, sketches on napkins, old photographs, newspaper clippings, and other ephemera that add more layers to the story. Even if you don’t read S., it is a stunning artifact that will astonish everyone you show it to. – Mark Frauenfelder