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Roundup of Links from the Comments on “Books Are Not Sacred”

August 23, 2012

When my recent post, “Books Are Not Sacred,” ended up on Freshly Pressed, the sudden influx of new visitors brought a barrage of insightful comments and interesting discussion. Some of you agreed with my point and some of you didn’t, or did only partially, but I am glad for every single comment, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading through them all.

In the comments, several people shared links to websites and other blog posts on the topics of books, art, and where the two intersect. I’d like to share those links here, so you can take a look without having to scroll through all of the comments to find them (although I do encourage you to take a look at what people had to say!).

  • First, Kat Collins reblogged my post with her own commentary on the way that art forces us to look beyond what we expect to see:

I have books. Tons of them. Lining the walls of my home office, piled on the floor next to my bed, stacked on the floor and in a basket in the bathroom, in a magazine holder and on the table in the living room, on the dining room table, in boxes in the basement…it doesn’t end. Two years ago, I invested in a Kindle solely for the purpose of reading books and have loved it. If I had the physical book for every book I’ve bought on my Kindle, I’d have to rent a storage unit.  BUT that doesn’t mean I have lost the appreciation and reverence of holding an actual book. The smell of the pulp, the gleam of the ink, the intriguing covers. They still matter to me, but it’s not inherent that I have them, when I’m more concerned about the words contained within.

But could I physically destroy and re-purpose a book for art?

Read more…

  • L. Palmer shared her own experiences with deconstructing books so they can be used by students with disabilities:

In the disability services office of a public university where I work, chopping or slicing books is one of the services I provide.  With the sacrifice of a book’s spine, a world is opened up to students and people that never had the opportunity to truly meet and understand the book.

It is a happy, celebratory moment, and the beginning of the book’s second life.

Read more…

  • Aron commented on a recent case in the news, and the dangers of taking sacred feelings about books too far:

You may have seen people in movies throw books into fires for warmth, or tear them up and throw them around. The directors then don’t write in an angry mob to come and punish them for burning a book! No, because the idea of it is simply ridiculous. However, you may be saying though that the case in the news was a sacred book, the Qur’an, so this must surely be a more serious offence. Well, I don’t think so. Who is to say what makes something sacred?

Read more…

Outside of the comments, my friend and colleague Gerardo pointed me towards two artists who create beautiful, intricate sculptures out of books. The first is Guy Laramee, who carves sets of books into detailed landscapes. Readers often speak of books transporting us to a different world, and Laramee does the same in a different way. The second is Brian Dettmer, who “dissects” books to show us their contents in a new light.

Finally, I’d like to share with you a link of my own, something that was part of what lead me to writing and posting my defense of taking apart books to create art. Last spring, an anonymous sculptor secretly left ten sculptures in libraries throughout Edinburgh, Scotland. These pieces of art were all crafted from books and accompanied by notes that were more like love letters to books and libraries. As far as I’m concerned, these beautiful sculptures are a clear example of how creating art from books can be about loving books and trying to keep them alive.

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