Dear Awesome Levi, You Are Awesome. Thank You for Being Awesome.

Yesterday I received in the mail a very fun surprise indeed. A package from my friend Levi Simpson showed up in our mailbox. When I opened it I found, tightly shrink wrapped, the book Maps and Legends by Michael Chabon. Levi has known of my lurve for Chabon for awhile, and he had found it on sale and thought of me.

Let me enumerate the ways in which Levi has—in an act of almost sheer clairvoyance—anticipated my very thoughts:

  1. I have given a heavy, wistful sigh many times with this very book in mind since writing this post (about deciding not to buy any books for a year) .
  2. I have checked it out twice from the library but have only read snatches of it here and there. I actually had it checked out the day Levi’s copy came in the mail. Every snatch I had read left me aching with desire to read more (when I had more time to digest it), and I had resolved to own it some day.
  3. But the paperback is coming out soon, and I was afraid the beautiful hardcover editions would disappear from shelves and become more and more difficult to find as my year sans book-buying wore on.
  4. This book been at the top of my Amazon wishlist for quite some time.
  5. It is one of the handsomest books ever. It’s published by McSweeney’s, a company that almost always makes very nice books. As I was looking for photos of the book to share on this blog, I stumbled across this blog, which describes the book as follows (I swiped the nice three-part photo from the same place):

The treatment [of the book’s design] is really elaborate and luscious, an object lesson in making the physical book into a piece of genuine desiderata, an artifact you want to own as well as read. The black cloth wraps around the hardcover jacket with debossing and foil. Then there are three bellybands with Jordan Crane’s illustrations.

The fact that there are three fully illustrated layers, two of which will never see the light of day unless somebody takes time to peel each layer off, speaks volumes about the artistry that went into it. It’s hard to imagine the motivation for designing and illustrating the jacket was to sell books. It’s simply there to make a beautiful object.

So thanks, Levi! I doubt you knew how much you’d be doing with one little gesture, but it meant a lot. Cheers, my friend!



1 comment so far

  1. RCochran on

    Dear Levi,

    Mr. Ryan Cochran
    725 East 53rd Ave.
    Vancouver, BC V5X 1J7

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