The Norman Transcript

N-town reviews

February 14, 2014

Book review: JJ Abrams creates literary masterpiece

NORMAN — Book: S. (2013, Little, Brown & Company)

Authors: J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst

Why you should read: Created from the mind of J.J. Abrams, producer of hit films and television shows such as “Lost,” “Star Trek Into Darkness” and “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol,” and written by Doug Dorst, an award-winning author, this book offers a whirlwind of excitement for readers looking for a mysterious adventure.

When Jennifer, a college senior, finds a book left behind in the campus library with notes in the margins, she marks the pages with her own reply, and once again leaves it behind for the stranger, later revealed as “expunged” grad student Eric. From there, an incredible conversation starts between the two, as they discuss the shared novel, “Ship of Theseus,” supposedly written in 1949 by V.M. Straka, a most mysterious author. As the unlikely duo discuss Straka’s final work, they begin to open up to each other about their own lives and experiences through their scribbled notes, and another story begins to blossom throughout the pages.

Abrams and Dorst have created nothing short of a mind-boggling work of art with “S.” With e-books dominating today’s literary world, this is a refresher for anyone who just loves to hold a book in their hands. When the hardcopy is pulled from its slipcover, it resembles a well-worn library-edition book, complete with Dewey decimal sticker and “RETURN ON OR BEFORE” dated stamps in the back inside cover. And nestled within its “old” and “yellowed” pages are handwritten letters, a college newspaper article, a campus map drawn on a napkin, postcards and several other tidbits to add to the reader’s journey. “S.,” simply put, is an experience. It is also a reminder of how the written word should be celebrated, enjoyed and, most of all, shared.

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