Tung has simply, cleverly yet lovingly encapsulated so much about the book-devotee experience into a collection of comics and artworks which feels like a love letter read at a support group for the happily book-besotted. A group which shrieks in understanding at someone spoiling an ending, sighs at the perils of reading multiple books at once, and completely understands (and likely joins in) when you wander “just for a second” into a bookshop.
As Tung so clearly understands, the support group is to endure the difficulties associated with reading (such as being interrupted mid-page), the delights and tragedies of buying books (that smell and sticker residue, respectively) and, above all, the treasure that books are, hold and represent to book lovers everywhere.
The art is simple, uncluttered, yet evocative with the occasional whirling of watercolour imagination and starry skies. The pages aren’t coloured beyond blacks, greys and tea-warm browns, yet this is as familiar and cherished to the bookish clan Tung is writing about as the heft and joy of their favourite books.
It’s impossible to choose a favourite page, though the “everything is ruined” panel from the cinema was perfection, and the greenery dense spread made me sigh happily, the emotion evoked familiar and beloved.
It’s not a demanding read, but it is delightful and completely relatable.
Recommended to: Anyone who is – or knows – someone who loves books Anyone who doesn’t like reading but needs to buy a gift for a reader (possibly because they need to apologise for interrupting their reading…)
Not recommended for: Those who don’t see the problem in interrupting readers (but I doubt you’re reading this so moot point I guess)