Spiralbound Reading Group: 9th May Saturday 12 – 2pm, Five Years. All Welcome

Pieces of Evidence: How Chris Ware’s Building Stories (2012) subverts the materiality of the book. 


Chris Ware’s 2012 novel Building Stories is an excellent example of a contemporary novel that subverts the materiality of the book. Through his inventive and playful use of materials, formats and non-linear narrative structure Ware uses the book format to make a unique object. By transforming the idea of the codex book into a physical sculptural object that houses loose and varying paper formats he challenges traditional methods of reading and questions the material possibilities of the book.

Presented in fourteen books and pamphlets of different shapes and sizes including posters and flip books, and ‘bound’ by a large format cardboard box that is easily purchased in most High Street Bookshops, Ware’s novel echoes radical works such as B.S Johnson’s The Unfortunates (1969) and Marc Saporta’s Composition No.1. (1961).

Through reading and discussion the group will highlight new writing that re-positions the novel as a poetic object.

Selected Texts:

Chris Ware, Building Stories, Jonathan Cape, 2012



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