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Product Review: Novel-T’s Literary Shirts

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Statement T-shirts are a wonderful way of sharing with the world how we feel about certain things, in an in-your-face yet out-of-your-space kind of way. It used to be considered tacky doing so, but never fear: the statement T-shirt has made a huge come-back in all age groups, all the more that they are the staple element of the ‘Geek is Chic’ fashion movement.

 

And if you need further convincing, just go check out the websites dedicated to The Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon’s statement shirts. Sheldon, TV’s biggest geek of the hour, rocks the statement T-shirts, and I’m certain he would appreciate one of the new designs brought to us by Novel-T. For what is geekier than a statement T-shirt proclaiming loudly to the world that one is a book junkie?

Other than a pocket protectors, maybe. And those are so 1990s.

Thankfully, Novel-T is offering us something much more 2010, combined with the opportunity to show off with pride and style our geekiness (thankfully without the pocket protectors of yore). Their newly launched line of T-shirts were meant to allow book lovers to fashionably share who their real heroes are.

But don’t think all Novel-T did was to create a line of shirts with random names of authors on them with which they are now trying to make a buck off a bunch of innocent book lovers. Just spend a couple of minutes on their website novel-t.com and you’ll soon come to realise that the team has thought its concept through. And thanks to their hard work, avid readers can now flash their favourite hobby’s preferred author to others on the street, just like so many who love to flash their favourite players’ name on their jerseys… And thankfully, this type of flashing will not get you in trouble.

One of these shirts crossed my desk a couple of days ago and I couldn’t wait to wear it. I immediately swapped my office-worthy shirt for the solid light grey T-shirt. And although it was brand new – and had the tag to prove it – it felt as soft as some of my favourite, well-worn shirts.

Speaking of the tag, I almost changed my mind about wearing the shirt and put it back in its package when I realised it was not only a limited edition, but it’s one of only 213 existing shirts. But I couldn’t resist, and – gasp – cut the tag off and pulled the shirt on.

The number piqued my curiosity though, and I kept glancing at the tag – which I propped on my desk (yes, it’s that cute). I know that every detail of these shirts has been thought about, therefore there is a reason 213 T-shirts were made. Why 213? Why not a round number, like 200, or even 210? Is it because the number chosen for Poe was 13, which fits extremely well with, well, Poe’s preferred genre? Or does it have to do with the number 6 (i.e. the sum of each number in 213), which is the number associated with the devil – again, a number that fits extremely well with Poe’s genre?

Another slightly gruesome detail – just enough to make it socially acceptable to be worn on a shirt while still reflecting its Poe-ness – is the life-size heart etched on the shirt. It doesn’t quite sit where one’s heart is supposed to be, but it does make me wonder as to why this was chosen. Does it have to do with the heart-catching stories, the fact that many people probably had heart attacks reading them, or what?

Yes, I’m an avid reader, but I’m no English Literature graduate!

Visiting Novel-T’s website is yet another experience in itself, as it’s deviously simple at first glance and yet intricate in its details. Now I can’t give away all the details – actually, I don’t want to give any away! – but let’s just say that you need a passing interest in baseball and some time to contemplate to figure some of the clues out. Take a look at each shirt’s details and see what you can figure out – I’d love to hear back from you (especially if you’re en English Lit major) and see how much I got right!

The other thing that makes these shirts better than your typical sports teams’ shirts is that they will never become obsolete. There is no such thing as ‘author trade-off’, so your author tee will always be in. And don’t get me started on how expensive it can be to follow a team. My favourite team’s trades from the last year alone are going to cost me an arm and a leg. Thankfully, I can always count on Poe.

Proving yet again that books are the best.

I don’t know if I’m allowed to tell you this, but I’m going to risk it: Novel-T is definitely going to have more shirts added to its collection. I personally am aiming to convince them to do an Agatha Christie shirt (with Hercule Poirot’s moustache on it) and an Arthur Conan Doyle one (with Sherlock Holmes’ hat on one series and his pipe on the other). One shirt I would never, ever wear would be one with Meyer’s name on the back and a sparkling vampire on the front. But I wouldn’t mind one with Rowling on the back and a little lightening shaped scar on the front.

And just in case this entire idea of wearing your favourite author hasn’t quite convinced you yet to check out Novel-T’s website, let me just mention here that $1 of the purchase price of each T-shirt will be donated to 826NYC, which is a nonprofit organization supporting students between the ages of six to 18 in developing their creative and writing skills – in the hopes that one day, their names can be added onto one such shirt.

So to fellow avid readers everywhere: visit Novel-T today and proudly sport your literary jerseys; we might not play much sport (and not know much about it) but it doesn’t mean we haven’t earned the right to sport our own favourite ‘players’, either!

Now if Novel-T could figure out a way of making pocket protectors cool again, then life as we geeks know if would be complete.

Just saying…

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  • http://eclecticlibrarian.net/blog/ Anna Creech

    The heart will probably make more sense after you’ve read Poe’s short story “The Tell-Tale Heart”.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/gordon-hauptfleisch Gordon Hauptfleisch

    And some literary figures almost suggest sports actions and characters, with appropriate front-to-back T-shirt: “Henry David Thoreau… Henry David Catch.”

  • http://saharsblog.wordpress.com Sahar

    Anna, you are always so on top of everything. I didn’t even think of that short story!

    And Gordon, your suggestion is AWESOME!