May 19, 2015

[Books] Doctor Who: The Vault

Coffee table books are weird purchases among bibliophiles. You know how it is - they're great books to have, but they're horribly cumbersome to read. And thus a lot of times the end up being more decorative in nature and aren't always read by their owners. I have a good number of books that fit this bill as well - and thus they remain on the shelf.

So when I picked up a copy of Doctor Who: The Vault, I was pretty determined to not let it waste away on the shelf. After riding the high of the 50th anniversary special, it became a particular goal of mine to slowly but surely work my way through the book and enjoy every last bit of it.

It took me a lot longer than expected, but that can be blamed on the fact that I read a good number of books all at the same time. And between something on my Kindle and something that is best read at a table or on my lap, you can probably understand how reading this book became of lesser priority over and over again.

Synopsis: Doctor Who: The Vault is a rather exhaustive resource on the 50 year history of the show Doctor Who written by Marcus Hearn. The book is a pretty in-depth look at the show's history while featuring a diverse assortment of exhibits and reference materials from the BBC archives and other sources.

The book is efficiently organized by year instead of going by show season or something like that. And thus each year is primarily an exploration of what happened during that year of the show. At the same time, each chapter also has a particular topic of focus such as the writing of the show, costume design or even the music and it bounces between talking about that year of the show's history and that particular topic. It's an interesting away to arrange things and one that makes sure each chapter is interesting to read since it's more than just a straight up historical account.

Each chapter also features a diverse number of photos including behind-the-scenes moments, close-ups of various merchandise and a good luck at some of the costumes and props from the show. Thus as you go through the discussions, you also get to see different artifact from the shows, even if only as pictures, Going through the pages of these books also feels like walking through a...two-dimensional museum?

The book is quite well-researched with content derived from the BBC, major publications and even the Doctor Who fan clubs formed over the years. I really appreciate all the effort that went into creating this book, which also includes a full list of episodes released per season as part of each chapter. Thus the information presented in the book is bound to tickle the taste buds of any Whovian whether they liked the actors more or the writing or the cardboard backgrounds that wobbled a bit.

I kind of wish that the book had also included more creative inserts and pull-out materials as I've encountered in other similar reference books, but that's neither here nor there. At the same time, the level of the writing felt a little simple at times, but I figure that also makes sure that the book can be read by fans of all ages without encountering things of a more sensitive nature for younger fans.

Doctor Who: The Vault is a lovely book and a must-have for any Whovian. And yes, do take the time to read it from cover to cover - you won't regret it, I'm sure. So the book gets a generous 5 Doctor Who tidbits hidden among the pages out of a possible 5.

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