As a fast reader, sometimes I have two books on the go at once and, in the curious way things seem to loop back on themselves sometimes, my current two are a perfect match for each other. Firstly, the stormingly-named London Belongs To Me by writer, BBC controller and general twentieth-century overachiever Norman Collins...
...about the hopers and no-hopers who live in the various flats and rooms of a tall terraced house right before the beginning of World War II. I bought Building Stories by Chris Ware because of how good the reviews were and how beautiful the cover and box was.
That's a cup of tea next to it, for scale.
Unpacking it was so exciting; going through fifteen sections, from pamphlets to comic strips cut to comic strip size and big boards that fold out.
Just like the Collins novel, Building Stories is a series of intertwined stories about an elderly landlady and her three tenants living in a tumbledown house in Chicago. You start where you want, end where you want, and, although every section stands alone, together they build up to one of the best stories about urban isolation (and how we live) that I've ever read.
Certainly, don't read it if you're feeling fragile. I got through most of Building Stories on a very cosy Sunday and still felt heartbroken by the end. Like London, buildings and, er, stories? I think you'd probably like one or both of these.
What was the last great book you read? All tips in the comments gratefully appreciated!