The LATimes examines the numbers around the health and general viability of The Book and comes out saying, everything’s gonna be aw-ight. Why? Because we love to hold them. Aw.
Edward Tenner, visiting scholar at the University of Pennsylvania who spoke at the conference, said: “What’s valuable in a text is not just the text, but the way it is presented — the typography, the materials. The growth of electronic information puts books in a new light.”
And that light often is an exquisitely reverent one, embodied in the gentle contemplations of book fanciers such as Alberto Manguel. In “The Library at Night,” published this month, the Argentine-born author and bibliophile celebrates books as brothers, as crucial companions for a lifetime.
As information is digitized, the books that remain gripped between covers seem to be cherished all the more. Yet, that too carries some peril, as Bruce Hatton Boyer, associate professor of English at National-Louis University and a member of the Caxton Club, pointed out in a recent edition of the club’s journal.
“Will we have a world in which the only value books have will be those of the rare object, making all libraries in effect rare-book libraries?”
Schreyer hopes not. She loves her job, but she doesn’t want the “special” in special collections to make the books in her keeping seem arcane or untouchable.
“There’s an emotional rapport you get with an era by holding a relic that is hundreds of years old,” she said. “Part of the history of a book is — who were the people who touched this book at every stage in its life?”
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: “The Book” as a concept/object isn’t what’s in danger… “The GOOD Book”, however, is holding up two fingers above the choppy surface. It’s a numbers game. Like if all the cockroaches under the fridge in my old apartment on Bathurst had decided to rise up against the parade boots my girlfriend and I wore at the time, and which became our main offensive weapons. It would have taken them about an hour to munch us away to nothing in the bed.