The Review: I’ve been a fan of Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s hitRECord since it started a few years ago. I was concerned at first and didn’t get on-board with any of my own material because I was a) too busy at the time and b) a little leery of it actually working. Despite my raised eyebrow, however, it has turned into an ever-expanding repository of amazing artwork (stories, songs, pictures, paintings, etc) by ordinary-people-artists. Sure, there are famous people on there (hi, RegularJOE) but there are a whole lot of people who just like to make art or tell stories or are otherwise creatively inclined. This book, along with a few records and other compendiums, represents the first true foray into putting that work out there for mass consumption (that is, in a published and money-making way as opposed to just leaving it on the hitRECord site) – and I’m so happy to see it done so well.
The book itself is tiny – pocket-sized is generous in describing its proportions. But it has a beautiful red clothbound cover with a gorgeous illustration and an appropriately classy type-face. Indeed, the type-face is one of my favorite things about the book. I enjoy things like that, so take my comments with a grain of salt – but it’s a vaguely Edward Gorey-esque font (those who are familiar with his work will no doubt know what I’m talking about) and that suits my sensibilities quite well.
The stories themselves are delightful. They’re all tiny but in that very engaging way – sort of like that whole “six-word story” trend but a little more interesting. Sure, Hemingway could do a six-word story… but I’ve never fully subscribed to his “less is more” aesthetic. One of my favorites was actually one of the images included in the press pack, so I include it here:
It’s a great mix of illustration and story, creating atmosphere that will allow you to sort of float in it for a while instead of just feeling like you’re onto the next one. Some of the stories hit me as perfect song lyrics (in fact, I’ll be reaching out to those authors to mention exactly that and we’ll see what comes out of my next band writing session), some of them as perfect story starters, some of them as perfect picture inspirations… and all of them as perfect stories.
Rating: 5+ out of 5. This sort of collection can go so wrong and yet this goes so right. It’s a perfect little collection, full of wonder and lovely. I look forward to next year’s collection and I’ll be keeping this on my desk as a reminder to write and create every day. Maybe I’ll even start submitting to the site again. To be amongst this crowd would be an incredible honor. Keep it up, you writers and drawers and creators!
PS here’s a youtube video from JGL talking about the book: http://www.hitrecord.org/store/tinystories