Lost: Messages from the Island is a gorgeous, full-color, 176-page coffee table book from Titan Books, the same folks that publish The Official Lost Magazine. The short description is that the book compiles the best feature articles from the magazine’s coverage of the first two seasons of the show.

But that hardly does it justice. Messages from the Island is a behind-the-scenes, “making of” junkie’s dream come true. The book has interviews with every member of the entire original cast — and several newcomers that joined in Season 2 — and many of the show’s production crew as well, all of whom talk about the origins of the show and reveal little-known secrets about how it first came together. As such, it makes a perfect companion to any Lost fan’s DVD or Blu-ray collection, since it bears the “official” Lost seal, so to speak.

I particularly enjoyed the separate interviews with Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, who both detail their origins with the show, what a typical day is like for them, and their overall philosophies for how they make the show work. But my favorite parts of the book are the conceptual designs, floor plans, never-before-seen images, and storyboards that show just how much thought, planning, and details go into creating everything on Lost. One feature shows off pictures of the Swan station set, and the attention to detail inside that pivotal location is fascinating. Another shows off side-by-side comparisons of a high-tension moment that has storyboards on one side and stills from the final episode on the other. It’s probably the closest thing we’ll ever get to a true, fully illustrated production diary from the show.

The only caveat I can find is that all of the book’s content is drawn from magazine articles written about Seasons 1 and 2. (Presumably materials from the other four seasons’ worth of magazines is being saved for additional volumes.) Needless to say, all of the book’s content feels quite dated. On the other hand, it is pretty nifty to effectively have a “time capsule” look back at the show’s earliest days, when the cast and crew were excited and full of optimism about Lost’s popularity, yet had no idea where the story was going.

A must-have for all true Losties.

Image: Copyright 2009 ©Titan Books.