Dreaming Novel Things is a feature in which I discuss book related subjects, but in a creative way. I’ll use interviews, narratives and lists to talk about book trends, book opinions and bookish matters. If you have any book related subjects you’d like to see me discuss just leave me a comment below!
Two Little Words
‘Book’ and ‘art’; two wonderful words that our society praises. Both inspire thought and creativity and both are considered vital to the world around us. Both can shed light on truth and both can teach the children of today from making yesterday’s mistakes. But put the two together to create ‘book art’ and the general result is outrage.
Wikipedia defines ‘book art’ as “works of art realized in the form of a book”. I define it as ripping a book apart to make something pretty. There’s many different forms of book art; some are mild and some are extreme. Each form causes the average bookworm’s soul to cry as they watch their beloved items ripped, torn and shredded. I’ll admit that I used to be against ‘book art’ in all shapes and forms.
“Ummm, Excuse Me?”
I had been traumatized at a young age when I went to a sleep over at a friend’s house. We had been instructed to bring a book for a ‘fun’ project and me being unable to even comprehend ‘book art’ was not in the slightest suspicious. I brought my favorite Daughter of the Moon book, The Talisman, and was all giggles as all us girls pulled out our books. The mom in charge of the sleep over (who insisted to be called Shelly, but at that age I was scared of uttering the name of adults and always referred to them as “ummm, excuse me?”) gave us each a pair of scissors, which I found odd, and then proceeded to tell us to start cutting out the pages in our book. I was sure I misheard the woman but then everyone around me started cutting out their pages, so my hand shot in the air. “Ummm, excuse me? You didn’t mean cut out the pages in our book, did you?” Shelly informed me that yes, that’s exactly what she meant. I couldn’t do it though and for that the other girls made fun of me and I came to associate ‘book art’ people with evil little girls (and women named Shelly).
Then I started to follow a lovely blogger by the name of Asti, who now resides at Oh, the Books. She does a feature in which she spotlights artists who create ‘book art’. My heart cringed at the idea but I read her posts and found many beautiful pieces. She got me so curious that I went to search for it on my own. I wanted to learn more about it; looking for reasons to hate it but finding none. I was beginning to truly appreciate ‘book art’ and started craving certain beautiful pieces for my room.
Candy and Controversy
Then the controversy with Lauren Conrad struck. Suddenly, the book blogging world had erupted into chaos. Angry posts started jumping up all over the place claiming that what she had done was wrong. Buzzfeed even went so far as to say that watching the video was like witnessing a murder. ‘Book art’; the two treasured words put together as predicted had sparked outrage. For those of you unfamiliar with the Lauren Conrad incident, it consisted of a (now deleted) YouTube video for a DIY project. Lauren Conrad was taking the spines of books to decorate the side of a storage container. The problem for bookworms worldwide was that to get these spines she had to destroy the books. (Source)
Here is where she went wrong: she didn’t use her own books. Lauren Conrad is the author of a series, L.A. Candy. Now, her intentions might have noble; she may have thought it would have looked like she was plugging her own books, but as they say: the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Here is where she REALLY went wrong: she used brand spanking new books. To rip apart an old, decaying book in the name of art is one thing. To take a book that’s fresh off the printer and rip it to pieces is hard to swallow. She made mistakes, no doubt about it, but do I think it was a murder of books? No, I don’t.
The Murder of Books
The murder of books is when libraries ban them for certain content. When we censor ages old classics or when we choose to see the movie instead of reading the book, that is the murder of books. Swapping out books for Ipads, never reading to your children and local bookstores forced to close down– these are the things that murder the idea of books. ‘Book art’ may permanently change the purpose of a book, but it still celebrates the idea of it. With ‘book art’ we inspire others to see the beauty of the written word. Take my books and turn them into art if it means someone else is inspired to read. I would gladly see my book re-purposed versus children never hearing a bedtime story.
So in the end ‘book art’ may be hard to swallow, but I find it harder to cope with the thought that in 50 years children may never know what an actual book looks like. Everyday our world becomes more and more steeped into the virtual world and I predict a time where physical books are all but extinct. Just maybe though, there might be a few pieces of ‘book art’ to remind people that we were once a society that praised the written word.
How do you feel about book art? Share below and happy reading!