Handling the Book - The Marks We Leave
These books focus on how we handle books and how this informs our perception of a book. When we read a book we leave marks which enhance or detract from the readers experience. You may have a favourite old book covered in creases or marks that you would never swap for a pristine new edition. Your old copy may link you to a time and place in your life when you read it. This quality of books can influence the experience of reading; it can enhance or distract from the narrative and gives the book a life of it’s own.
The text of the Marks We Leave asks the reader how they are holding the book: gripping it tightly or lightly touching the edge of pages. A group of volunteer readers read the book with inked fingers leaving clearly visible marks on the edition they read. Each of them hesitated prior to handling the book, a Western tendency where the visual sense is more prevalent than that of touch. Most of the readers commented about how unnatural the activity seemed.
The readers comments inspired, and are used in, the next book, It’s Unnatural. The gold silk cover suggests something valuable and precious, to be handled with care, which contrasts with the crumpled pages of the book. The comments draw the readers attention to the paper they are handling and how it seems ‘unnatural’ yet pleasurable at the same time. As the structure of the paper is broken down in the crumpling process it becomes soft and feels like silk.
In a series of three flip books a finger print spins round in the first book. In the second thumbprints appear below the reader’s as they flick through the book. The idea is too make the reader aware of their own action of handling the book. In the third flip book fingerprints appear all over the book as when slowly studying it.