There are some books that speak to me more than others. Sometimes it's the characters, at other times the setting, or the language, or subject matter. Occasionally it's the aesthetic appearance of the book object (here is where I admit that when I was 17 I read 'On the Road' by Jack Kerouac because I liked the cover).
Very, very rarely a book comes along that combines all of these elements and immediately rockets towards the top of my 'favourite books' list.
The End of the Alphabet by CS Richardson is such a book.
The design of the book is sublime from the elegant cover image, choice of font (there is a short description of the choice), the layout and beauty of the paper the words are printed on. It demonstrates exactly why the author is a multiple-award winning book designer.
The language used in this book is economical, slightly sentimental yet always elegant.
The subject matter is primarily about a couple, Ambrose and Zipper, but also incorporates travel, death, love, destiny and a fascination with typography and the alphabet. Not bad for a book that is only 152 pages long.
The setting starts in London, moves to Amsterdam, Berlin, Chartres, Egypt, Paris and Istanbul and then back to London again. Each location captured in a manner far more intimate than a mere travel journal.
The characters are fragile (both emotionally and physically) and utterly charming, if not slightly quirky and utterly English at times. The secondary characters, even with the briefest of appearances are equally endearing, such as the dancing tailor and wise camel.
There are other elements of this book that also delighted me. Simple things, like that the title is 'The End of the Alphabet' and the two characters names are Ambrose Zephyr (AZ) and Zappora 'Zipper' Ashkenazi (ZA).
I could rave on for hours as to how much I loved this book, how I wished it had been longer, and how sad I felt when it was finished.
My dear friend Simone brought this book for me as my 'Nerd Book' as she recognized that it included elements of the things I like best such as travel and typography.
I can not thank her enough.