When I hear the word ‘book’, a picture of a sequence of letters springs to mind. However, I’ve read a few books in recent years that make use of additional mediums to help convey the message of the story. Those can be called mixed-media books, since visual elements accompany the more traditional text. These extra elements can be either relevant documents, changes in the design of the page or the text, or a piece of artwork.
One of the types of mixed-media books has traditional text as the main medium, but also includes letters, emails, webpages, social network status, conversations on online forums or interviews. These can either be used to show what the characters are reading or as direct information to the reader. Throughout the decades many books have featured letters, for example, although graphic elements were not always used to visually set them apart. So, those novels don’t really look like mixed-media books.
However, such elements are quite noticeable in other novels. The Power by Naomi Alderman not only features letters at the beginning and the end, but also presents the reader with archival documents and an extract of a chat on an online forum, in order to tell the story of what women were able to do with supreme power. Excerpts of an interview with the main character, Kirsten Raymonde, are an important element in Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. Through them the reader gets more information about what happened when the Georgian flu spread worldwide. Continue reading