Save Books with Book Safes by JJ Pomegranate for The Public Slybrary July 11, 2017 – Posted in: Center for General Hyperbolics – Tags: , ,

The Issue

Book safes save books? In spite of the fact that we repurpose books at the Public Slybrary, we celebrate intelligence and lament the seeming descent into Idiocracy unfolding before our eyes. We struggled mightily with this current endeavor in book crafts. Are we monsters for altering these venerable sources of human experience, creativity, and knowledge? Or as Holbrook Jackson posits in The Anatomy of Bibliomania (2001),

historic book safes used by my neighbor to hide pot in the 1970s

Two “ancient bindings…turn(ed) into boxes,” NOT by The Public Slybrary.

“But what shall we say of those ghouls, chiefly in France, who scour the auction rooms, the booksellers’ shops and the stalls, for choice and ancient bindings which they turn into boxes by gluing the pages together, cutting out the type area, and so translating books into receptacles for cigarettes, cigars, liqueurs, jewels, chocolates, bon-bons, or note-paper? And what of those who encourage this ghoulish trade? They are no better than body-snatchers, desecrators of the temple, vain, tawdry, callous, whether sellers of such monuments of destruction or buyers of them, biblioclasts and dolts to boot, necrophils of a sort…”


The Rebuttal

books I couldn't save

That’s a lot of friggin’ recycling.

In our defense, we primarily buy and save books from thrift stores. They routinely send books to recycling after a relatively short period of time. These are beautiful books that NOBODY seems to want, plus we conveniently contribute to the various thrift store’s causes. Also, the information in the books is invariably readily available on the internet, so our only hope is to repurpose these pieces of art into something useful and decorative. Would we be less ghoulish if we were to pass them by, relegating them to recycling? Consider also how many books we’ve chosen to preserve, admittedly to sell, but still. Our first line of defense is to find books that are desirable as is. Again, to sell, but don’t hate the player, hate the game.


The Conclusion

So, opinions like Jackson’s are completely understandable and were seriously considered here at the Slybrary. It may seem that our treatment of books is contradictory to our reverence of them. But dig a little deeper, the real problem is way upstream. And I think we all know who’s to blame here, no? There are more than a few bookstores rolling over in their graves right now…it’s this internet thing you’re gazing at right this very moment! When was the last time you’ve been to your local public library? I thought so. You know what’s even crazier? Some people put things like Kindles or phones (complete with audiobooks) in our book safes. Now that’s a nice piece of irony. Anyway, regardless of your stance, we encourage you to read more and support your local thrift stores (and the Public Slybrary while you’re at it, why not?).

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