My immediate impulse when considering my favoritely made books was the infamous box head, issue 36 of McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, but when I thought about it, I realized, I hated that head. I just liked the idea of putting a number of different books in a box, and the books inside that box were, in fact, interestingly made books like the fortune cookie one that Kevin mentioned in class last week. Then my mind jumped to one of my favoritely made books I own, handmade with love and delight at the Harry Smith Printshop at Naropa University, Ginsberg’s Mind Writing Slogans, but there’s nothing terribly interesting about that book. In fact it’s simpler than most. So the conclusion to which I seem to have come is that I like my books to be books and my art to be art. Who am I to judge the validity of a book’s bookishness? I mean, I think that a sculpture or a diorama is a sculpture or a diorama and often beautiful and always art, but, no offense, I kind of got the impression during class that we have gone so darn creative that literally anything can be a book. I think that’s wrong, not that it’s morally wrong, but if you hand me a roll of paper towels that you have cut hole in, unless you’ve also written on it or cut words or pictures into it, I’m not going to call it a book. Basically, my favorite book designers are people who make books that I can actually approach and hopefully read.
Having said this, I think the art which has often and somehow fallen into the category of book is freaking awesome and beautiful, and I’d be happy to talk about one that I love. I cannot for the life of me find it. Big surprise if you type in most combinations of “tattoo” and “book,” you end up with books about tattoos. I once read about, however, a man who wrote and had tattooed upon him an entire book. In any case, I’m back to McSweeney’s and boxes, but I’ve really moved onto http://www.hiderbooks.com/ and their boxes. Because I like things with more than one purpose, and if a book is not to be read, it should at least serve an additional function to being looked at, such as holding keys to secret places, like story books do in a metaphorical way. If you can make me a literal book that is not really a book but is metaphorically completely the same as a book, I’ll take it.