As promised, I intend to get started on a few fix weekly posts on this blog, the first one being this: window shopping! Since I can’t buy books because of The Rules, I might as well mentally make my extravaganzas.
The first book I chose to mentally buy – after a lot of physically admiring and touching and internally weeping at the bookstore as I held it on my hands and wondered at the injustice of book prices – is Jonathan Safran Foer’s new book, Tree of Codes. Yes, the paperback costs 30 dollars. On SALE. And here’s why.
Having read Jonathan’s Eating Animals, I am aware of how brilliant a writer he is and, from what I’ve heard about his fiction novels, he seems to be a highly creative one as well. So when I saw Tree of Codes on the bookstore, I went straight to it with a determination that would scare Jonathan’s biggest fans. Only to have my jaw drop after opening it.
Safran Foer took his favorite book, Tree of Crocodiles, by Bruno Schulz, and cut out parts of it. Yes, cut it out. As in the-biggest-crime-and-most-horrific-thing-one-could-possibly-do-to-a-book. But he did it with good cause: after most likely going through hell to publish it, the book tells a story through what’s left of the original, and the result is shocking and brilliant. The price comes from the fact that every single page inside the book comes with holes from where the story was cut, leaving the rest of the printed words to sum up and tell a story. Here’s what it looks like:
I can’t be the only one in love with this, right? I kept looking at it and wanting to cry at the perfection. I couldn’t – and still can’t, to be honest – believe how innovative it was. This reminded me of why I will never understand people who prefer digital copies of books: paper is touchable, “smellable”, and gives our hands a pleasure that accompanies the one that the text produces on our hearts. Books like these remind me of why paper isn’t and, in my opinion, should never be dead. In the words of the author:
On the brink of the end of paper, I was attracted to the idea of a book that can’t forget it has a body.
So yes, I will have to stick to window shopping for a while. But I wish I could have this on my hands forever – because books, paper-and-ink books, are friends who will always wait, patiently, to be once again touched and discovered, to have the pieces you once missed be finally found. And, in this case, to have the pieces that are missing also become part of your story, reminding you that there is a lot more to a book than what is actually printed.