The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories 2 by Joseph Gordon-Levitt and wirrow

The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories 2
Joseph Gordon-Levitt and wirrow
IT Books/hitRECord productions
First Edition – November 13, 2012
ISBN 978-0-06-212163-9

The banner ads, the print ads, all use the line “The universe is not made of atoms.  It’s made of TINY STORIES.”  I thought it was just clever copy – until I read the book.  Now it all makes sense.

It’s kind of the same thing with celebrity endorsements.  You see them all the time; they’ve almost become unnoticeable due to a fair amount of insincerity and shameless manipulation.  But then a celebrity comes along and spearheads a project not because of the money or glory but because it’s a good thing that helps people and is fun and interesting and way cool.  Such is the case with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and hitRECord.org, the collaborative production company behind The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories.

You know Joseph Gordon-Levitt.  He started out as that strange long haired kid on “Third Rock from the Sun” but then grew up to be in such well-reviewed movies like “(500) Days of Summer”, “Inception”, “50/50” and “Looper” (along with lots of others, but this isn’t about him, it’s about his project).  But while he enjoys making movies, his real passion is bringing artists together to create art:  video, audio, images and text.  At hitRECord.com, someone can post something and then other people can add to it or comment on it or remix it or recommend it.  These projects spawn a community and the community creates.  It truly is a lovely thing.

This thing, this part of the project – The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories 2 – is also a lovely thing.  Small, slim and somewhat delicate appearing, it nevertheless packs a pretty substantial punch.  Not in volume or depth, but in possibility.  Not in what it is, but what it becomes.

Each of the stories in this book is indeed tiny.  Each is accompanied by an illustration that adds as much to the tone of the story as the words do.  Most of the stories are only a sentence long; the longest one is 3 sentences, the shortest is 6 words.  Yet each one speaks of so much more than it is of itself.  I hesitate to quote any of them because I would be quoting an entire story, but I will dare to share just one of them so you can get a taste:

As my story came to a
close I realized that I was
the villain all along.

See what I mean?  Each tiny story is complete unto itself, and yet suggestive of so much more.  Each time I turned a page and read another story, my imagination was piqued by the words and the illustration to ponder a “what if….?” or an “and then….”.  Each story was not only a world unto itself, but opened the possibility for so many more worlds, because of where it would take each person that read it.  So you have a choice:  would you like to sit back and enjoy the lovely little tableau that has been exquisitely set, or do you want to let it be a doorway to something that you hadn’t thought of before, but can connect with enough to turn the knob?  Both are equally legitimate responses.

If you’re looking for a great stocking stuffer this holiday season, or just a small gift to slip to someone, you can’t go wrong with The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories 2.  It’s small enough to literally fit into a stocking, or easily into someone’s hand, but it packs a much bigger wallop than its size would suggest.  And you can have the satisfaction of being altruistic without feeling like you got a token for your charity – again, the aforementioned wallop.  It’s a win/win, feel good situation that really has no down side… even folks who claim to not be readers should enjoy this little volume.  Just make sure you get one for yourself, too.  It’s gonna feel good in your hands, because you’ll be holding so much in such a sweet little package.

~Sharon Browning

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