Here in the Archives & Special Collections we have a myriad of intriguing items and unconventional books, including some books that are far too large to fit on a regular shelf. These books comprise our “oversized” collection, some of which are quite heavy and most certainly could not fit atop your average Puget Sound classroom desk. One of the items in this collection is a graphic novel (or rather, a collection of them) by Chris Ware called “Building Stories.” If one were to go searching for it, they would run into a very large box filled with illustrated books of various sizes and comic strips, none of which are titled or include much text outside of the comic speech-bubbles. This clever and relatable tale features the residents of a three-story apartment building in Chicago, and the interactions, introspective analyses, daydreams, struggles, and internal processes that comprise their daily lives. Among these featured residents is a single woman struggling with loneliness, a couple going through turmoil within their relationship, and an elderly woman. The illustrations provide narrative insight regarding many of the thoughts, insecurities, pain, worry, moments of intimacy, and comfort we experience as humans, and is therefore able to facilitate a broadened connection between each of us, as the pages illuminate much of what we may experience silently, within our own minds while we lie awake at night or choose between tomatoes at the grocery store. An eye-opening and entertaining spectacle, I would highly recommend flipping through these extremely colorful and thoughtful illustrations.
Come check it out!
The Archives & Special Collections is open on Mondays and Wednesdays from 12:00-3:00 p.m. or by appointment.
By Monica Patterson