Shortly after the devastating March 11 earthquake hit Japan, a Chiba-based English teacher, desperate to do something for a country in peril, tweeted: "I want to compile a book of quake experiences and publish it like within a week and donate all the profits to Red Cross ... we have the technology."
2:46 first became available as an e-book and has raised $30,000 in this format. Last month it was released in hardback edition, broadening the reach of its contemplative, sympathetic and melancholy content.
It's a compilation of submitted emails, photographs and artwork, responses to the disaster from all over the world. There are several noteworthy contributors, including ones from the investigative reporter Jake Adelstein and Yoko Ono.
Some of the most resonant voices are previously unpublished authors: a grandfather describing how postwar chaos, oil shocks and the 2005 Miyagi earthquake have prepared the elderly for tragedy; a woman in the UK mourning those who died without ever knowing if their loved ones survived.
This isn't the kind of book you'd read from cover to cover, but one you'd pick up occasionally, to connect and to remember.