Wht is a Book? by Paul Chan is a very interesting book that discusses the history of books in a complex matter. I am intrigued and on- edge as I look through the book. I find it hard to focus on the content of the book, since the background and images used tend to take all of my attention. There is also a sense of chaos within the design of the book and a lack of contrast between the writing and background, which would make the experience of reading this book very differently if it was a printed copy.
As I flipped through the book and start reading, I was surprised to find out that the content of the book was serious; however, the background and images kept distracting me from the reading. They had become the main focus and instead of just reading the book, I started reading the background and tried to make a connection between all of these elements, or at least tried to analyze what Paul Chan was showcasing. This book is a piece of artwork with many layers. The background and images say as much, if not more than the text.
In a design aspect, the background and images chosen are hideous and are a distraction to the text and have none to little connection to the content; however, it is very refreshing to see something completely different. The imbalance and inconsistency of this book, combined with the lack of contrast makes this book very chaotic and it takes some eye straining to figure out a couple of words. The dark backgrounds in some of the pages are not very functional in regard to giving the writing some contrast and making it easy to read. There is also an inconsistency with spacing in between lines, which gives you the idea that a sentence is missing or floating. And the many rotations in which the background has been placed and cropped with no connection to any of the elements, gives the layout a sense of chaos.