Friday, May 14, 2010

Yarr... there be treasure buried!

When I was a kid, I dreamed of adventures. I hoped every day that something exciting would happen. Dinosaurs coming back to life, or aliens landing on earth. Or perhaps a Boxcar Children-esque mystery for me to solve. Nothing too dangerous, just something to break the dreary monotony of my dull childhood life.

In hindsight, I realize this was an incredibly naive thing to wish. I didn't know how good I had it. I still yearn for adventure and treasure-seeking, gallavanting across the globe with an Indiana Jones style fervor. But I realize that the majority of such things are the imaginings of a bored and creative child's mind. Real treasure hunts aren't something booksellers generally get to go on.

Until now.

The Clock Without A Face is a McSweeney's production (which one could probably guess just by looking at it), and it defies any sort of genre-classification you try to pin upon it. It's a picture book, it's a mystery, it's an interactive adventure. The basic idea is that you are attempting to solve a mystery by looking at the apartments of a building's eccentric tenants. It's sort of like Where's Waldo meets interior design, but forces you to think rather abstractly to solve the mysteries. And then at the end, it is revealed that the twelve numbers off the face of the clock at the top of the building are real. Yes - tangible, real life, if-you-find-them-you-get-them real. And they are buried around the United States, with their locations encrypted within the drawings in the book.

Oh my gosh. It's a treasure hunt. A real one. I was skeptical at first, so I took a look at the website on the back of the book. It seems legit. Apparently there are a lot of people trying to figure this stuff out. Folks have been putting their heads together over the internet, trying to figure out where the numbers are buried. Here's the kicker: as of my writing of this - 7:38 PM on 5/14/10 - none of them have been found.

Come on in and take a gander at this book, since I'm really not doing it justice by my descriptions. It's in the kid's section, most likely face out and with a funky shape. Try your hand at finding the real-life treasure.

Oh, and if you do find a number, I get the assist!