Whenever I start to feel resigned to the onset of ebooks, I get shaken out of it by some recalled reality. The feel of turning the actual pages; the way, after reading a particularly great passage, I’ll flip to the cover, then to the author’s picture to remind myself who conjured it.
An earnest fan of letters between authors (Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Bishop), author and editor (Sylvia Townsend Warner and William Maxwell) or editor and illustrators (Ursula Nordstrom), I get morose when thinking of all the contemporary writers not writing letters (George Saunders, Zadie Smith).
Then Flavorwire compiles this list of visual artists working with books. Some of these pieces work in tandem with the contents of the book, bringing to life the content and characters. Others use the book more for its form. All are incredibly creative.
I found myself of two minds when looking through these pictures. One thought them something of a tribute to the physical book and the pages within. The other suspected (irrationally) that the artists were mocking the books somehow, while showing their dispensability.
Of course I know that books will never die; they’ll always be around in some form or another, and even as I have considered buying an ereader (and sometimes read a bit on my iPhone), I wish that I could believe my kids won’t someday consider books fusty and old-fashioned while they flip through screens of their interactive novels, watching the characters interact and choosing their own endings.