At the recent First Exposure brand exhibition I was greeted by the amazing sight of a woman in full '50s cigarette girl outfit: vertiginous heels, nylons, hot pants, little jacket, pill box hat, red lipstickâ€”minus the cigarettes. This lovely lady, in accordance with the very recent smoking ban taking effect in the U.K., wasn't about to light up, but she did produce some beautiful cigarette packs, which actually house miniature editions of books called Tank Books. The graphics looked like cigarette brands, but the canonical author names suggest otherwise: Conrad, Hemingway, Tolstoy, Kipling, Kafka. Was she trying to sell me the first chapter of "Metamorphosis" squeezed into this little box? "No no, it's the whole book," she said. "But it must be an abridged version?," I asked. "No no it's the whole book," she said and indeed it was!
The novel idea (excuse the pun) is the brainchild of the creative people at Tank Magazine who say "Tank Books pay homage to this monumentally successful piece of packaging design by employing it in the service of great literature…Tank Books are for people on the move, lovers of literature and connoisseurs of design. Try one and you'll be hooked." As a substitute for smoking, reading really is so much healthier. Although you might think that you'll be swapping lung damage for some serious eye strain, the amazing thing is that you can read these tiny things without a magnifying glass. The series brings new meaning to the term "light reading."