jonathanstrahan and I often talk at long length about books - all aspects of books. Not just what we're reading, have read or want to read but also the mechanics of making a book and the appearance of them. What makes us pick up and buy one book over the other. What attracts us to a cover and what makes us feel like the cover is saying that book is for us.
One day he was going on and on about "flop". And he explained at great length what makes good flop and why this is important - even so far as to bring forth several books to do the flop test. What is flop? It's ... well, it's when you hold a book in your hand and flick the pages back and forth. A book with good flop has pages that easily flip back and forth, it's not stiff. It's the kind of book that falls casually open to the page you're reading without breaking the spine and then recovers to the way it looked before you opened it.
Ahhh ... books with good flop!
Well! The other day, I bought Suite Scarlett because I have just discovered Maureen Johnsoon through cassiphone's book reviews in Shiny and then jonathanstrahan bought Suite Scarlett just as I was finishing 13 Little Blue Envelopes and so I needed my own copy.
Well, this afternoon I hopped into a steaming hot bath with my copy of the book and was devastated to discover it has bad flop! The pages are glued in such that they wrinkle and ripple when you open it and the cover stays curled. The pages feel thin and too cheap and the cover, unlike 13 Little Blue Envelopes, is thin and matte.
Reading this book is aesthetically displeasing and uncomfortable. Which is a shame because Johnson is a delightful read - funny, with zippy plot, paints her backdrops in vivid colour and then populates them with loveable fun characters. What's not to love about a book about a girl who lives in a 1920s hotel in New York?! ... the book itself, it seems.
Loving the book, devastated about the packaging.