Reading is one of my
activities, especially when outdoors. Yes, I take my everywhere, in the mountains, at the beach, sometimes even in the sea, I travel with them and they travel with me. (I am flying to St. Petersburg tomorrow)
I read them while eating (a difficult process admittedly), I read them drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes, taking breaks from crafting. I choose them as my companions on business trips to other countries and curl in their warmth on cold winter days. The majority of the ones I own are by far in perfect condition. Their pages are creased, some of them are stained, others have tiny splashes of colour and in a lot of them I have made notes in ink and have highlighted parts I liked. Despite the obvious damage I have caused them, I don’t think I have committed a major crime or sacrilege, of which I have been accused on numerous accounts. I see books as a form of art, that of writing primarily, which in order to be appreciated is in desperate need of the art of reading. I like books that look well read, devoured, I like books that scream ‘I have accompanied the reader in all sorts of places because they couldn’t put me down, I like books that bring back memories when I open them after years. My favourite will always be Toni Morrison‘s Beloved, not only because of the obvious intensity of the story, but also because it was the book I wrote my first essay on and now stands on my shelf, full of notes, post its and memories of a time gone. Funnily enough, despite the fact I loved the book, I got my worst grade in university time essays. I blame inexperience. 🙂
Books, however, are so much more than words printed on paper, no matter how masterfully put together are the stories they tell. Books breathe and live beyond words and beyond the moment, one turns their last page and places them back on the shelf. I’m amazed by how versatile books can be and how they can be molded into true objects of art in some people’s hands.
Who can look at Brian Dettmer‘s book sculptures and not admire them? Or Su Blackwell’s out of this world paper nature. These are two of the many altered books artists. A simple google search on altered books, will fill your pages with a fantastic collection of images.
And who can say that this is not the most welcoming entrance to the world of books? An artistically decorated bookshop entrance in Lyon.
I remember my surprise, when I stood opposite this building, again in beautiful Lyon. Although, it’s not decorated with real books, the medium is there transforming an otherwise dull and common block of flats into a giant size work of art.
I was very proud of my self for discovering this stand at this year’s London Bookfair. What an amazing idea to hang books from the ceilings and what a temptation just to reach out, grab one of them and relax by reading it. (Unfortunately, duty called, so the latter remained a dream idea, like all relaxation ideas during the fair)
Of course, there’s also me, because let’s face it this blog is about me, me, me. My flat is small, but also full of books. Don’t these hard back copies make a delightful little stand for my second-hand phone?
And for something a little bit more complicated and painstakingly, here’s my first attempt on altering a book*. It was made as a present for a good friend. It’s not perfect by far (the pictures even more) but still a very enjoyable process and the smile it brought on my friend’s face was all the reward I needed. Similar, I would say to the satisfaction of reading a good book.
The book as an object may change forms but the words will carry on living in the mind and the heart. They will always be there to be admired, they will always be there to be.
*The rubber stamps in my book can be found here.
Thank you all for following.