Jackpot/The Anti-eReader

A few weeks ago I went to the Los Angeles Book Festival at the other school, and went in halfsies on The Tree of Codes by Jonathan Safran Foer with my husband. For those unfamiliar with this literary prodigy, he wrote Everything is Illuminated, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and his nonfiction supposedly diet-changing book Eating Animals (I won't read it for fear I'll eliminate one of my dietary staples, chicken). He supposedly received an unprecedented $500,000 advance for his first novel, has worked on several smaller projects, spoken at various political events, and married fellow author Nicole Krauss- basically, he's an up-and-coming literary God (and he is fully aware of his status, from what I have heard... no one said deities are modest). I'm a fan, in case you couldn't tell. Anyway, being such a fan and feeling a little ashamed of not knowing he had a new book out, I agreed to pay the hefty (for a paperback) $40 price after noticing that it was pretty hard to get on Amazon (thank you iPhone ap). Then, we opened it up and saw this:

Foer, working with the English company Visual Editions (I'll devote a post to them someday soon- they're just that awesome), took the novel The Street of Crocodiles by Bruno Schulz, and created a new story by cutting out words. To be honest, I'm still not quite sure what either book is about, and I don't really care. The innovation and craftsmanship behind this book is amazing and I'm still a little apprehensive about actually reading it, just because I don't want it to tear.

I would have loved this book no matter what, but it gets even better ("But wait, there's more!" Yes, I know I'm starting to sound like an infomercial). It turns out our novel is
a first edition and is already pretty hard to get a hold of (these aren't exactly books that can be mass-produced). Currently, this particular book is going for about $300 on ebay, not that we'd sell it. And after I start stalking Foer and convince him to sign it, I'm sure the value will increase.

In this day and age it seems that the future of the book is unfortunately in the ereader. Foer's project is quite the opposite- there's no way that something like this could ever successfully carry over into a digital format. Visual Editions focuses on allowing the industry to evolve without changing the ability to be truly tactile. So, in a month where Oprah's everywhere and Amazon's releasing depressing data on the stupid Kindle, I'll take this as a glimmer of hope.

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