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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
As a big fan of graphic novels - particularly the growing autobiographical genre, I loved this "book". I know it isn't autobiographical (or is it!?) but it rang out as authentic storytelling. Yes, she's irritating, mundane, self absorbed and neurotic but she's all the more interesting for it. It reminded me in feel to some of Harvey Pekar's work but without the supposed...
Published 19 months ago by Giantslayer

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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars typeface too small
I found this book an interesting concept since the parts can be read in any order and there is no real narrative but unfortunately the type face is very small and it is difficult to read. Also the format is cumbersome. In comes in a very large box which is difficult to store, so on the whole I found this rather disappointing.
Published 8 months ago by Sandra Marie Kelly


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 12 Feb 2013
This review is from: Building Stories (Hardcover)
As a big fan of graphic novels - particularly the growing autobiographical genre, I loved this "book". I know it isn't autobiographical (or is it!?) but it rang out as authentic storytelling. Yes, she's irritating, mundane, self absorbed and neurotic but she's all the more interesting for it. It reminded me in feel to some of Harvey Pekar's work but without the supposed nobility of the blue collar struggle.
I was moved by the story a great deal and despite the fact the protoganist is a woman, I saw so many aspects to my own life, as I'm sure is Ware's intention. Perhaps, as a male, I am not equipped to say this but I was in awe of his ability to capture a woman's life.

The art work is beautiful - stark, clean - almost like Hopper at some points. Many of his frames are high shots, emphasising the isolation and frustration and they have a cinematic quality to them.

The box with all its bits and pieces is wonderful. I felt like a child at Christmas taking out all the sections. I liked the random nature you can approach the story too...

This is one of the best pieces of story telling I've read in a while!
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, but . . . ., 14 Oct 2012
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This review is from: Building Stories (Hardcover)
For me, it's actually 3 1/2 stars, but that might be simply because I was expecting the outstanding. Chris Ware is I think my favourite American comics writer and I heartily recommend this book, but I don't think it's Ware at his very best.

If you've read (the exceedingly good) Acme Novelty Libary no. 18, Building Stories will ring a bell: Except for tales of a temporary resident the story is of the tenants of an apartment building, focussing upon the main character of the previous book. (If you own ANL no. 18 be prepared to own another copy of it--rather disappointingly it's one of the books enclosed and though it's slightly larger than the original I noticed no other changes.) Ware dips in and out of the lives of an old woman, a couple with a strained relationship, and, most of all, a lonely young woman. There's little drama in those lives and most of what we learn of these people we learn from their thoughts, but the book is credible and most of it is thoroughly absorbing, The art is of course terrific.

But a couple of the booklets barely held my interest. While the 'The Daily Bee', a mock newspaper, was very nice a booklet about the bee character, which actually has the most attractive artwork in the book, grows almost tedious. Another over-long booklet seems to have no point other than to show us that a mother loves her child. Indeed, I wondered whether Ware had written some of Building Stories shortly after becoming a parent; although he never quite slides into sentimentality he comes close to it. (The child's words and actions do seem true to life, though.)

And the lonely woman, the child's mother, sometimes verges on being a rather annoying bore. I've little doubt that my tolerance for self-absorbed socially awkward characters has been lowered because so many American graphic novelists--Clowes of course springs to mind--have done them almost to death, but her preoccupation with herself (pre-child, anyway), with her appearance, whether she'll find a partner, slights she suffered years ago, wears thin. Occasionally as well her social cluelessness would be in real life downright scary: She interprets disinterested glances as signs of sexual attraction to her and, when a virtual stranger gives her a lift and upon reaching the destination takes hold of her hand, her response is to say disappointedly 'I know . . . you only want to be "friends".' And onn the whole I'm not sure this person is interesting enough to merit so many pages of the book; I'd rather have read more about the man downstairs, who seems to have a more complex personality than the other characters.

Because I've a fair few books in odd formats, including a couple of others in boxes, I wasn't quite so ravished by the format of this one as others have been: it's a good idea but not a new one. Moreover, whilst the papers, pamphlets, and books are bundled together within the box, there's nothing to prevent that bundle sliding about during shipping and I presume that's why several of the items in my copy were bent at the edges and why the foil covering the spine of one book has begun to peel. (For some interesting remarks on the book's design, see mrclam's review on American amazon.)

One last thing: If you've never read Chris Ware--and certainly if you've never read comics--this mightn't be the best place to start. Instead, for a full-length novel, try Jimmy Corrigan; for Ware at his most distinctive, have a look at Acme Novelty Library (unnumbered) or perhaps Quimby Mouse.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read on......, 18 Oct 2012
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This review is from: Building Stories (Hardcover)
So Its been 2 years since the Acme novelty library 20 (Lint) and 4 years since Acme novelty 19, so it would be no surprise that a release from Chris Ware was pending.

This review mentions no part of the actual storyline and is therefore not going to spoil details of content to the reader of the review.

It should be noted that a small part from acme novelty 16 is reproduced in bigger scale within this set along with a bigger format hardback edition of acme novelty 18. Reprinting them bigger has done no harm and has allowed readers of Ware to access older material & avoid silly prices for older bindings. So in summary 2 enlarged editions of previously book published material and 12 new items. I also believe some of the contents of the 12 new items have been published in dribs and drabs over a the last decade in the American press and other places. However, never before has all this work been bought together.

Unlike the more recent and previous small hard back book format, we have been presented here with a huge box containing a pile of painstakingly detailed material. Each item within presents a fragment of a fuller body of work. Each fragment is presented in its own right in the form of anything from a simple small double sided paper strip, to a huge broadsheet style newspaper. One standout item for me is the hard book with gold spine & cardboard outer pages (bindings reminiscent of build to last robust kids books).

The outer box has a presence of beauty and attention to detail, when held upright the front cover is a feast for the eyes, a flow of ideas fold themselves around the lettering, the bottom of the box has foundation bricks lined up to support the 'structure' that you are holding and the top panel shows clouds 'above' the box. In true C.Ware style there are 3 small cartoon panels on the inner sides of the box. The back of the box shows a detailed cutaway diagram of the top floor of the building, next to this each item contained in the box is shown (by a connecting line) to have a current position on that floor diagram. (Eg One item is on a book shelf the bee newspaper is chucked on the hallway dressing table). It is as if the contents of the box you now proudly own are actual items that exist within the space they depict. Don't be overwhelmed at its volume or scope. Its contents will slowly and beautifully create & join up the dots for us, giving more depth to the current characters occupying the building as well as the long dead and gone. There is no right order to read the items in, just take out any 1 of the items and read them 1 at a time in any order. Relish in the dedication of an eye watering decade of work by a master of his craft, its a very rare experience indeed.

If you own none of Chris Ware's work then do not hesitate to start here with this set. It not only has an out of print book inside but is collectively the largest body of work aside from the separate and extraordinary Jimmy Corrigan. I would assume that if you were to enjoy this then you will want to join up more of the details by reading 16, 17, 18, 19 & 20.

If like me you have followed the works as they have been published then this is a huge addition to the ongoing body of work & manages to tie up some loose ends create a few and increase depth to characters and circumstances & history.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Building stories, 6 Aug 2013
This review is from: Building Stories (Hardcover)
Chris Ware is an undoubted genius and Building Stories is his greatest artistic creation yet.
It is a wonderful , multilayered series of stories. Every lover of graphic art and story telling should own and cherish this masterpiece.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astounding, 23 May 2013
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This review is from: Building Stories (Hardcover)
Complex formats, absolute realism, intervened stories and a tone of reading for a low price. It is beyond my expectations.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable book with non-linear narrative, 8 May 2013
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This review is from: Building Stories (Hardcover)
Chris Ware has always created remarkable stories that move, inspire, and depress, and I have watched (and collected) the majority of his work over the last twelve years. He has produced pamphlets, broadsheets, hardback books, paperbacks, journals, and work that is so tiny that you need a magnifying glass to see it (see the cover of the Acme Novelty Library http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0224077023/ref=asc_df_022407702313149772?smid=A3NAO0K0FOUXHJ&tag=hydra0b-21&linkCode=asn&creative=22218&creativeASIN=0224077023&hvpos=1o2&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=148832994320404488&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=)
It makes sense that this artist who has worked from the micro to the macro in terms of publishing, has brought all these forms together in huge package. It is a remarkable achievement.

Also - I'm in it. Which is nice.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Poignant and beautifully illustrated tale of millenial city-dwellers, 4 May 2014
This review is from: Building Stories (Hardcover)
Lovingly presented box of goodies narrating, primarily, the tale of a disabled young woman navigating her way into adulthood and middle age, a journey that brings hope, disillusionment, love, despair and joy. There is something deeply intimate and poignant about the story, and it felt quite voyeuristic at times reading it. Parenthood, relationships, loss, faith - its all there.

The title itself is a nice play on words - a collection of stories taking place mostly in one specific building, but it is we, the readers, who build up the narrative, through the way in which we sequence our reading of the 14 different documents included in the box.

A couple of gripes - most of the men are pretty one dimensional: self-centred and thoughtless; none of them have the depth or complexity of the female characters. And, while Branford the neurotic bee is a mildly entertaining diversion, i was too hungry to get on with the main narrative to focus my attention elsewhere.

This is a piece of treasure to indulge in over one weekend - touching, beautifully rendered, and erring just on the right side of sentimentality. Pretty much a masterpiece.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A box of aesthetic treasures, 30 May 2013
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This review is from: Building Stories (Hardcover)
An excellent absorbing box of stories...the presentation in the box with a host of different formats makes the whole thing feel like a box of treasures.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece, 7 April 2013
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This review is from: Building Stories (Hardcover)
Chris Ware's collection of stories which are all connected to each other and which are presented in a wide variety of different forms (hardcover- and softcover books is a true masterpiece. As the title of the overall theme describes, the reader can decide the order of reading him- or herself. There is no numbering of the items, so you can chose whatever you want as a beginning or starting point. Whatever the order is, you will not be disappointed, since one identifies with the anti-heroine and -heroes at once. You should not read all the parts in one go, though. The intensity od the story-telling is so great that you can hardly bear to read and watch the principal figure's life for more than an hour per day. One must try to digest the misery, the gruesome facts of the everyday's life of and the blows of destinyof an average person which takes some time to do. After finishing all the "Building stories"-stories, you realize that you have witnessed and lived a very special reading experience which has nothing to do with the big mass of comics that are published quickly for a mass market. This work of art is very much worth reading. You will have a little bit different look at life in general and also at your own life and the ones of your fellow neighbours.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Unique and beautiful item. Drawing of a high standard particularly achitectural ..., 2 July 2014
This review is from: Building Stories (Hardcover)
A story of modern life that seems to evolve through time from its many parts. Unique and beautiful item. Drawing of a high standard particularly achitectural details and backgrounds. Muted colours throughout with splashes of bright colour. I am hooked.
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Building Stories
Building Stories by Chris Ware (Hardcover - 4 Oct 2012)
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