as one so afflicted, here's a group for people who use books for mail art purposes or even just labor under the yoke of book addiction, those yearning masses who amass books intended for reading but which, mostly just pile up.

Members: 34
Latest Activity: Feb 22

Discussion Forum

Vertical or horizontal?

Started by Mail Art Martha. Last reply by Mail Art Martha Jan 10. 3 Replies

What is better, to have a Tsundoku pile or line up your books along a shelf? My Tsundoku are on the top of my chest of drawers, but I have also a smaller collection on a pile inside a bookcase. I…Continue

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Comment by Nancy Bell Scott on February 22, 2020 at 4:47pm

Richard, A Humument is incredible, yes, fascinating visually and I also try to "read" it. A multi-years project. Just a page or two takes me an hour. It's kind of like dessert, only better. Neil Gordon taught me the term Wabi-Sabi when I was trying to describe why decay is beautiful, and failing. Wabi-Sabi took care of that problem.

You must have been a really sophisticated child, Martha. My favorite author was probably E.B. White. I was still reading "Stuart Little" at 14 and laughing my guts out. 

Comment by Mail Art Martha on February 22, 2020 at 1:10pm

My favourite author as a child was Monteiro Lobato. A Brazilian educator of liberal tendencies who wrote a series of books aiming to educate through entertainment. They are fantastic. He was not liked by the Establishment. I met Ulysses through him.

He said that books of no consequence should be printed on something edible so you eat them as you go along. Lobato would have approved of tearing up certain books to make Mail Art. Mmmm...

Comment by Mail Art Martha on February 22, 2020 at 1:00pm

I realized you were joking Richard! I wasn't though. Sometimes I read the ending to see if I can read/enjoy/stomach a book. That is if it is a novel. Mostly I prefer non-fiction, no danger of finishing crying.  

Comment by Richard Canard on February 21, 2020 at 6:33pm

21.O2.20  Dare Ficus S., yes, ...this group  is another "feather in your cap".  & Wow!  Do you speak Japanese? The only word I seem to know is "Wabi-Sabi" or something like that......& to Ms. Mail Art Martha, ...I certainly bow to your point of view. My commentary about Ulysses was intended to be a joke on myself & the classic everyday line that goes "don't tell me how it ends --I don't want to spoil ending". Obviously,  poorly presented.  I can only assume that  a film about an ancient Greek hero  & a contemporary  book by the author James Joyce have little in common other than perhaps an intricate & complex journey. SinCelery, Richard Canard

Comment by Mail Art Martha on February 21, 2020 at 7:40am

Yes! thanks Fike for forming this group.

Nancy, you are right; when a book falls apart it is OK to re-birth it as art. The only one that did so for me is Cannery Row. I picked it up to re-read it  and I was so sad when the paperback fell to pieces in my hands. It seemed natural to use it. Back to Ulysses, I do not feel such an oddity now, but must say that reading it on the tablet I can, when finding something beyond my understanding, invoque Google and some kind soul would have explained whatever it is. Of course it makes Ulyses even longer but the pleasure is in the journey. Only I need several parallel lives.

Richard; my policy is the reverse of yours. I do not to see the movie before I read the book, I do not want to be told what to think. As to spoiling endings, I seem to be inmune. I have read detective stories many times over, knowing 'who done it'. Back to enjoying the journey! I think what I enjoy the most in a book is the authors handling of the language rather than the story. Anybody can tell a story but the telling is what matters for me.

Jayne; you would love to visit Beckenham. It used to be a village, now submerged in the sprawl of London, but the High Street retains its character reasonabley well. There are around a dozen charity shops and all sell secondhand books, among other stuff. The temptation is huge.

Comment by Richard Canard on February 20, 2020 at 9:52pm

20.02.20 ....As a child, I was taught to take especially good care of books & certainly not to write, etc. in books. I spent countless hours entertaining  myself with trips to & fro & in the library. Still yet, after all these years, books , libraries, Barnes & Noble, second-hand bookstores & the  "Goodwill" book shelf remain a central concern in my day to day. But also... long ago, I was privileged  to witness occasional books (children's books primarily) that contained markings, drawings, underlined sentences, commentary in the margins , etc., etc. &  I begin to see that the book could serve a multitude of possibilities of expression beyond its original format.The foremost proponent in this realm that I was most impressed with is the British artist Tom Phillips & his adopted  book "A Humument" ( I think the title of the original book was "A  Human Document"). Several year ago, Mister Josh Rosen (I.U.O.M.A. member) put together a mail art/book project (involving many mail artists) that I thoroughly enjoyed  & thought to be most successful. His project was entitled "Revising The Century". The other day I went to the local recycling center  . They had bins for all manner of materials including books & paperbacks---of course,the public is not allowed to pilfer thru the contents. & finally, ... I saw the movie "Ulysses" with Kirk Douglas years & years ago---so, was never attracted to all the hoopla about James Joyce  & his "Ulysses"---- as it is my usual practice not to "read the book before  I see the movie" as I don't want to spoil the end of the movie.

Comment by Jayne Barket Lyons on February 20, 2020 at 8:59pm

Fike, so glad you formed this group! In my studio old books and magazines abound. I should stop buying, but I can’t stay away from used book sales and thrift stores! 

Comment by Nancy Bell Scott on February 20, 2020 at 4:33pm

On tearing books: After feeling like you, Martha, for many decades, I now find it almost easy, using only old books that are literally falling apart. If they're not readable and not salable, why not give them new life? Is how I see it now. I'm in love with them (and also with the ones on my shelves -- or in piles, yes -- which are not falling apart and not to be used in art.) Still, there IS pain on discovering a book in its death throes! But then the rebirth in other forms takes that away.

I found Ulysses both funny and heavy, and loved Molly's ending soliloquy most of all. Could never read the whole book again, however. ... 

Comment by Mail Art Martha on February 20, 2020 at 10:52am

Yes that is the general consensus Judi, but then I am  peculiar. Probably it is the length of it that puts people off but as I am reading it in my tablet I do not notice. Until the tablet falls on my nose when I fall asleep reading in bed.

Comment by Judith Dagan on February 20, 2020 at 10:25am

Strange.... I found Ulysses kinda heavy.  Pun intended


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