My Name is Book: An Autobiography
John Agard has personified the book in prose which is lyrical, chatty and informative. Book speaks to us across the ages describing its own history from the birth of writing on clay tablets to a modern day meeting with a young eBook ‘showing off what he called his hypertext’. At the heart of Book is its love affair with the codex form, describing ‘my pages being flipped, a tingle of excitement runs down my spine. Is this person about to read me? I’m thinking. Or are they just flipping and dipping into me?’
The personalised approach allows for eclecticism in what is emphasised, drawing out aspects that appeal such as the aroma of printed books ‘a hint of mature wood pulp tinged with vanilla, as if the forest itself had stamped me with the smell of ancient wisdom.’ As befits the subject matter, this is a compact beautifully designed volume with quotations, poetry and pictures permeating the prose.
Note: The original hardback edition is titled Book whereas the paperback has been retitled My Name is Book.