Tiny Book of Tiny Stories: Volume 1 edited by Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a collaborative collection of simple drawings paired with a few short sentences, occasionally even only one, that, together, tell a story. Some are quirky, strange, even amusing. The surprises are in the ones that are actually profound or evocative or even manage to be both. This magic happens most when the combination of image and words is so perfectly matched, the reader can’t help but pause and ponder the moment.
And it only takes a moment to read any of these so-called tiny stories. But they can be like koans, inviting the reader to meditate on what the image means and how the words either enhance or even change the meaning. Or how the image completes the meaning in the words.
Some of the best stories don’t end there, however. Perhaps it is the very nature of something as condensed as these tiny stories would invite someone like me to imagine more about the characters, about the moments that led up to the story, as well as the ones that followed.
I can’t say that I loved everything I saw or read but I found the experience of reading the collection an overall delight. Perhaps the spirit behind putting together something collaboratively touched me on some visceral level. I know that more than a few of the stories touched or provoked something in me, forcing me to stop reading, to set the book aside for a while, and just linger with the tiny story.
I can think of no higher compliment. Or perhaps it is a higher compliment that I immediately started reading Tiny Book of Tiny Stories: Volume 2 which I enjoyed even more!