I have always thought the only way I could bring a book to life was to read it page by page and make an imaginary world inside my head – but apparently not!
‘The Joy of Books’ is a lovely thought; a captivating stop – motion sequence created by Sean Ohlenkamp and his wife in a quaint bookshop in Toronto after they gained inspiration from their first and similar video of re-organising a bookshelf of their own!
It saddens me that I wasn’t one of the 3 million viewers who have seen this before – it’s fun, it’s quirky, and it’s original, for book lovers, animation fans, simply anyone with a creative spark. Being just less than two minutes long some may assume this kind of art doesn’t take long to be made, but oh yes it does! Ohlenkamp gives no specifics as to a time period, only the ambiguous statement that there were, ‘many sleepless nights, moving, stacking and animating books’ and in the small YouTube blurb he thanked a list of volunteers who, ‘shelved and re-shelved books all night, every night’, they must’ve been extremely close friends who helped him create this masterpiece!
The opening moments see the shop keeper leave, locking the door giving freedom to the books on display to become alive! We see them peering out of shelves, expertly placed against the beautiful yet slightly eerie music of Grayson Matthews. Then the lights come on, time is spinning faster, books flying, dancing, and weaving in and out of one another and then elegantly a sea of colourful cover spines in the most co-ordinated fashion glide along the shelves. An almost romantic and such a clever part to the sequence see a dance and twirl of the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers books, stealing a moment alone and next the little moleskin diary reading an enormous book seemingly only for pleasure. As morning comes around the books appear tired and slot back into place on the shelves, unmoved and untouched.
We are left with a cover reading – ‘There is nothing quite like a real book’, a sentiment in which I believe this video is striving to achieve and that in itself that left me thinking. There really is nothing like a real book – the musky, inky smell of the crisp pages or the worn copy of a classic which sits in the same place for years, the familiarity of those old characters when you pick it up to read once again, tea stained and corner creased.
Society now provides us with gadgets – iPads, kindles and phones – where we can read, but who wants that? Most certainly not me. And perhaps this animation serves as a metaphor for this, are the books fighting back against the technology, we are now told we live in a place where books are dead, books are digital. As techno friendly as I am, I don’t want to be prodding a hard screen instead of turning a page, I don’t want to receive a text sprawled across the pages of my novel, I want to be alone and I want to read – isolated and enveloped in my own little world and I hope this is what Sean Ohlenkamp and his wife were thinking too.