I got a package in the mail this week—a gorgeous hardcover book from No Starch Press! When I wrote earlier about this publisher, I mentioned that one of the things which intrigued me about them was their print-plus-eBook bundles. They graciously agreed to let me try one out, and while I was able to download the PDF copy of [easyazon-link asin=”1593275285″ locale=”us”]Steampunk LEGO[/easyazon-link] right away, I wanted to wait to write the review until I had the paper copy for comparison.
Well…it’s here! And is a beautiful book. Even the Beloved, who is not particularly a book fan in either format, remarked on what a cool-looking book this is, and mentioned that the children in our life would probably go nuts over it. It’s unique amongst the stable of Lego books I have in that it is not an instructional book; there is a narrative story, with the Lego models used for illustration, but there are no directions on how to build any of it yourself.
I was skeptical at first about whether this would work for me. I first started getting Lego books because I wanted help with the building! But to my delight, I thought the book was fantastic. I think it can serve as inspiration in a number of ways. Mechanically-inclined readers might enjoy trying to replicate the models, but I can see the book also serving the ones like me who like telling stories, and would never have considered using Lego, instead of drawing, as an illustration medium. Child-me probably would have seen a book like this and set to work at once writing my own story and illustrating it with Lego models.
And for all you smell-of-paper people, take heart; Steampunk LEGO is a perfect example of why, to me, paper will never die. I have said it before and I will say it again: paper and pixel can co-exist quite well in most people’s collections. I might not have unlimited shelf space for paper, and that’s why I favour eBooks for fiction and other ephemera. But I do have some shelf space; I just choose to spend it on books like this one which are lavishly illustrated, nicely made and truly meant to be enjoyed as art objects, not just as something to read.