Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Review: The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories, v.1: a collaboration from hitRECord

Reviewed by Christina and Ingrid
[We received complimentary copies of this book in exchange for an honest review.]

Published: 2011

It's about: The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories is the result of a collaborative project from hitRECord, Joseph Gordon-Levitt's multimedia production company. Thousands of artists contributed words and pictures, and the best of the best were selected for publication in three tiny (4"x6") books.

Volume 1 has about 45 very short stories, each one or two sentences and accompanied by art.

Christina thought: I like Joseph Gordon-Levitt, even more so since I found out about hitRECord. I really dig the idea of online artistic collaboration, and given my interest in Hint Fiction I was enthusiastic when I heard about The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories. The book itself is very, very cute and hipstery. I like having it around the house.

But I thought the quality of the stories was uneven. A few of them are beautifully simple and meaningful. A few are clever and/or funny. Most of them are cute. Several are kind of obvious (the Midas touching himself thing: doesn't every kid think about that when they first hear the story of Midas?) and some are just plain cheesy. Some are eye-rollingly emo. I generally admired the art more than the words.

So yeah, this collection didn't amaze me, but I still enjoyed the few minutes I spent reading it.

Ingrid thought: I remember seeing an ad on BookRiot for this book a few months ago. There was a big banner that flashed the words "The universe is not made of atoms," it said, "it's made of tiny stories." I was intrigued. My final opinion of this book, though, is that it's just kind of meh. I mean, it's pretty cute, but not all that interesting. It almost seems like a kids book. Kids would love how small this book is (I think - kids like small stuff, right?) and they would like the pictures. If I were reading this to a kid, though, there would be a few I would skip, like this one:
So I'm not quite sure who the audience is supposed to be for this book.

Like Christina, I also thought some of the stories were cheesy ("When you become a ghost, feel free to haunt me.") A few of them I really liked and would love to have framed on my wall. Some uncomfortably reminded me of something Jonathan Safran Foer would write. ("If I read our story backwards, it's about how I unbroke your heart, and then we were happy until one day, you forgot about me forever.") Blech.

This is more like a collection of amusing little thoughts someone had and wrote them on little pieces of paper with doodles. Some are dumb and some are kinda cute. There isn't really anything that draws them together. I didn't love it.

Verdict: In between.

Reading Recommendations: They probably sell it at Urban Outfitters. You could just go there and read it, but then you wouldn't be supporting all the artists who contributed to it.

Warnings: Very light sexual innuendo maybe in one or two.

Favorite excerpts: