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Re: Book Objects

Just to give another point of view, for me the ultimate "book object" is a
book so finely bound and so impeccably printed that it is too intimidating to
be picked up and read.  I also include as book objects those books where the
quality of the binding is way out of proportion to the quality of the printing
and the quality of the text.

The most disturbing book I've ever seen was a copy of "Billy Budd" with an
intricately crafted brass cover.  The collector who owned the copy proudly
told me that the book could never be touched by the human hand because the
oils from the skin would permanently damage the finish.  White gloves, please!

I'm not saying that this binding is bad or wrong.  For me, it is just sad.
Imagine a book that can never be touched by human hands!  What word do you use
to describe impeding the essential nature of a book: the ability to share
information?   If we were talking about humans, the term would be

I've had wonderful opportunities to see, and in many cases handle, priceless,
exquisite books.  I've marveled at their beauty.  Still, there is something
unsettling about these books that are, to my mind, too well-crafted for their
own good.   Is a book still a book if no one reads it?  Of course, it is.
But I don't think it hurts to ask the question.

Personally, I like my books well-used, the pages thumb-worn, and the covers
dog- eared.  I like my books appealing, compelling, and well-handled.  There's
a reason books get worn out--people like ?em!  They are my kind of books.

Ed (Hutchins)

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