Sunday, July 22, 2012

Book review: Accidental Inventions!

I love coffee table books. A persons definition of a coffee table book differs, but it's usually in the same roundhouse as an art book - something created with a higher than average production value, designed to inspire or stimulate conversation. Or just to hang around and make the owner look swanky, lets be fair.

This particular gem is a square hardcover with a dustjacket, though I rather like it with the title-less cover underneath. Observe!

Join me after the break whilst I crack open this baby.

Accidental Inventions belongs to the category of non-fiction that isn't designed to be read from cover to cover. You can, of course, and I did, but it's joy is picking it up, letting it fall open to a page and learning something new. And that's reflected through the design - the text is short, concise and punchy, and the images are perfectly chosen full page splashes that bring the whole book to life.

I really have to stress that - the genius, in a lot of ways, is the image selection. There are multiple instances of the picture/topic combination making me laugh out loud (and also snort tea out of my nose. What can I say, I'm classy). None more so than this:

It's not just me being puerile, yes? It is hilarious. And because many of these inventions fall into the 1940s-50s bracket, there's a glorious amount of room to indulge in some kitschy promotional shots. 

They're endless. I could do this forever.

Oh look! It's successful author George R. R. Martin, rugging up for the cold turn, because Winter is something something. 

This book is pretty much the exact kind of book you gift someone. It's spunky and fun and hilarious, and its something I think many would enjoy but also not pick up for themselves. And its fairly universal - this would be a strong candidate for a gift to my mother, for example. Also my granddad. And my best friend. And my little brother would cry tears over the Stainless Steel picture. 

This book is also a testament to how some books cannot be appreciated in eBook form - the whole charm of this (and a chunk of the formatting genius, I expect) would be lost. It's to be picked up, flicked through, laughed over, fallen asleep on top of, possibly drooled on. It's a tactile medium and a fine, fine addition to my little gallery of non fiction hilarity.

This is another winner from Insight Editions, and by way of a heads up - this ones on sale! Go fetch!

1 comment:

  1. great to read this review:) I designed & created this book some years ago, nice to see it reached the right people to enjoy it;

    gunter segers - graphic designer, illustrator & book concepts,