A course blog delving into the lives that books lead.

Category: Thoughts/Reactions

The Ties That Bind

First and foremost I would like to say that while I did not end up getting my version of the data (all of which we found using the Dissenting Academies Online) into Kumu (which decided it was just going to sit at 99% loaded and stay there, I really liked this assignment. Some of it was frustrating to get to work correctly, but working with all of those different sheets gives a tangible idea of how the final product is going to look. The constant reorganization of the same information allows you to think of all the different ways in which it is connected. I think that getting to see everything in color and being able to navigate through it really highlights the connections in a more concrete light and I am very excited to see how I can utilize this in my own project!

Connections are way more important than we give them credit for in my opinion. Every single way we react to anything and everything is a connection of some kind. Some of them are fleeting and are gone in seconds, but others last lifetimes. But we don’t every really think about these connections as being tangible things, strings we can reach out and touch. Sometimes we give them material objects like wedding bands, or do our best to document them with photos. However, what I like about the Kumu project is that it gives a visible representation of the actual connection. Rather than say a picture of someone with this book, there is an actual chart of a sort that shows the different lines and connections between people and books. Now, perhaps it isn’t as romantic or exciting as the types of connections that we normally have, but with a little creativity and ingenuity I think we could create some very cool representations of connections here.

Here there be the link to my Google sheet (which I will turn into embedded sheets as soon as I remember how).

The Magic of Libraries

“The books in Mo and Meggie’s house were stacked under tables, on chairs, in the corners of the rooms. There where books in the kitchen and books in the lavatory. Books on the TV set and in the closet, small piles of books, tall piles of books, books thick and thin, books old and new. They welcomed Meggie down to breakfast with invitingly opened pages; they kept boredom at bay when the weather was bad. And sometimes you fall over them.” 

― Cornelia FunkeInkheart


As I mentioned in the page describing this blog, Inkheart by Cornelia Funke is one of my favorite books. I love everything that it has to say about how books collect memories, how they tell you stories rather than you reading them, and how they have live’s of their own.  I love when Maggie describes Mo as a book doctor rather than a book binder. Mostly though, I love how the characters of Mo and Maggie and their relationship remind me of my dad.

I grew up spending time with my dad in an apartment perhaps not quite as filled with books as the house in Inkheart, but maybe that’s because we tried to keep ours off the floor. But make no mistake, several bookcases lined with two rows of books per shelf sat against the walls (just this December we brought the number up to 13), and we did stack books: on the coffee table, the side table, the table by my dad’s chair, the kitchen table, his desk, the top of bookcases, and even occasionally on the floor. Dad passed that love of the written word onto me and I spent my childhood with my nose in a book. (I regret nothing and I love my glasses.) So when I read Inkheart for the first time I was struck by how much the story resonated with me; a girl and her dad who live in a house more library than house, who love to read, and who go on adventures pertaining to books. It was perfect for the two of us.

The latest reading for the class, The Library at Night by Albert Manguel, made me think of all this when Manguel began recounting all of the various ways he tried to organize his own books and how most private libraries are catalogued in an order that is nonsensical to anyone but the owner of said library. Dad organizes the books in the living room the way most people do I suppose, by author and subject material, but my books are in a slightly more…abstract order. I order my books by feel; that is, I group books by how I feel about them or how I think the books themselves would want to be grouped. For example, even though Legion and The Emperor’s Soul and The Cosmere Collection are both written by Brandon Sanderson, Legion and The Emperor’s Soul hangs out by Among Others by Jo Walton and the Four and Twenty Blackbirds series by Cherie Priest, whereas The Cosmere Collection prefers to make its home on the second shelf next to The Great Book of Amber by Roger Zelazny. There is one bookcase dedicated to books that I are from my younger years as well as a few oddball books that don’t really fit anywhere else. There is one bookshelf dedicated to the small, squat paperbacks so that I have a nice line all the way across the shel, but even these are still ordered by my odd “sixth sense” arrangement. It may be nonsensical, but hey, I know where everything is.

While I know that this class focuses mainly on the physical aspects of the book, I cannot help but connect this to my personal feelings about books which is that they’re living things in a way. The video below is a remarkable little animated film which is another nod to my love of books as living things and also to the entire idea of libraries and what books do for people.

Source:  Moonbot Studios. “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.” 8 October, 2012. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4bJZZOJC34

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