Confession: I have an obsession with books. Sometimes I read them. Other times they just sit on the shelf.* They have a name for people like us. We're called bibliophiles. I say that proudly, by the way. You know, flamboyantly, flipping up the collar and such
I've also developed a cardinal rule to accompany this book fetish. Mainly, I don't read books that exceed two hundred pages, save an incredibly profound reason. i.e.: Proust, Musil, the forthcoming Steve Jobs biography. You know what I mean.
When I received my copy of The Manual last week, as pictured above, I rejoiced, on a number of fronts. First, and most obviously, the book is absolutely gorgeous. As an avid book collector, I've seen few books that match the beauty, simplicity and cleanliness of this series of essays. Oh, and it's less than two hundred pages. Actually, it comes in right at ninety-one, which is a total bonus.
In short, the book is stunning. The difficult task, as I've so often discovered in the past, is, in point of fact, matching this aesthetic, with quality prose and thoughtfully written pieces. Well, The Manual accomplished both, perhaps in equal tact.
Here's the tag about the series: "The Manual is a new, beautifully crafted journal that takes a fresh look, in print, at design on the web. Published three times a year—with the first due this summer—each issue will have six substantial, beautifully illustrated feature articles, along with several additional pages of rich material." I couldn't agree more.
Personally, there is one line in the middle of the book, written by Frank Chimero, that encapsulates the mission of the project. "Yes. Scrolling through this page, I never realized it before, but the web. It's just people all the way down, isn't it?" Such humanity, such generosity, such compassion.
If The Manual were seven thousand pages long, I'd totally dive right in.
* Hint. Hint. I always read books that are gifted to me.