Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Cutting Up a Book

I doubt I will ever buy a Kindle, or whatever may be or become its equivalent. I love books — the physical objects — too much.

Ah, but you say, Kindle is a reader, just another way into books.

You may be right. Or not. I think, not, although I acknowledge, respectfully, that Jeff Bezos at Amazon thinks otherwise. (He gives us here a hint on Kindle taking a bath, so to speak.)

Kindle can't give you the feel of a book in the hands, the way a book accommodates itself to a lap or a table or a body curled up on a couch. It can't visually simulate how the book looks up close, in its entirety, resting open or closed or on a shelf, a title carved into its cover, its typeface a "printer's jewel" explained in an endnote, its gorgeous papers soaking up ink become words become book become story you remember.

Kindle can't give you the experience of an act of creation made palpable.

And Kindle doesn't lend itself to the touch of a scalpel, not in the way fiction writer Maurice Gee's Going West lends itself to a scalpel in this video from the New Zealand Book Council, a nonprofit dedicated to the promotion of books and all things related to books.

The video uses stop-motion paper-craft (cut paper) animation. It's "gone viral", inspiring several hundred thousand viewings, more than 1,000 tweets on Twitter, and more than 400 blogposts (and now mine), and it's among the top 10 videos in viral video charts. It took eight months to make and required who knows how many scapel blades and Band-aids.

Watch this. Be surprised and delighted and inspired. And go pick up a book. A real one this time.


Glynn said...

And Kindle won't smell the same way in a used bookstore. Good post.

Joyce Wycoff said...

Maureen ... what a treasure! I can only imagine how much time it took to create that 2-minute video. thanks for sharing.

Sande said...

Kindle can never 'smell' like a book.

katdish said...

That was SO cool! And yes, you're right - a kindle will never replace the feel of a good book in your hand. But I still want one.

sarah said...

Oh how funny. I was intending to come here and talk about the smell of a book ... I am utterly addicted to that musty dusty aroma, was especially greedy for it while pregnant ... but I thought I'd seem odd saying so! And yet I am the third person to mention smell! And you can't write half-poems and sudden thoughts and shopping lists in the back pages of a kindle.

Louise Gallagher said...

Wow! That was fabulous. And I'm on the side of 'smell'. I love the smell of books. Of bookstores. Of libraries and lying in bed with a good book and a glass of good wine and a good ole evening of nothing to do but immerse myself into words -- big, fat juicy words that leap across the page into my imagination and stir up all kinds of trouble!

Ah yes. The heady aroma of a page turner any day.

Kindle? or is that kindle wood?

Marcus Goodyear said...

First, that was a seriously cool video. Thanks, Maureen!

Second, is this a bad time to confess that I have a Kindle? I don't see it as competition with books (yet), but as competition with shelves of books. As an editor, I need to be able to search my notes on multiple volumes quickly.

I should also point out that last night I read a book in bed, not my Kindle.

Don Kimrey said...

I don't even know yet what a 'kindle' is. In my day, it had something to do with beginning a fire in our old pot bellied stove (kindling? any relaltionship). I found you via our mutual friend, Bradley Moore, and am glad I took time to visit. It continues to amaze and amuse me how creative people find such varied ways to express themselves. If you ever have time, I do a You're welcome anytime you have the time or inclination! Joy to you! ~donkimrey