Book or Object? A Reflection of Myself

Ulises Carrión in “The New Art of Making Books” questions the reader, “What is more meaningful: the book or the text it contains?” I think in many circumstances both the book and the text are equally important. There may even be times when the aesthetic of the book overrules the text that is inside, although this is clearly a matter of one’s own opinion. I believe that in most cases the text should always be more meaningful than the book itself. What if the book contains enticing imagery and words that do not need to be Shakespearean-esque? This proves the point that Carrión was trying to make within his work: there is no right answer.

My book is definitely a visual book more than anything else. I made it whenever I was in middle school and I continued to add little pieces to it as I got older. The lack of space was reason enough for me to decide that it was finished. I identify this as a book, because despite the inclusion of words and graphics the total sum is a representation of me and who I was when I was younger – who am I kidding, it still represents who I am today. Aside from that, I think that all books are supposed to represent the creator, whether it does so through personal references or just in the way sentences are phrased. If an author rewrites another author’s book, then it simply won’t be the same book written twice. There will inevitably be differences along the way. Representation of the author is an important factor that makes a book become a book.

Photo courtesy of Amanda Moyher

My choice of materials for this book was not planned beforehand. I simply started with different magazine clippings of people and phrases that I like and one or two corny phrases that I happened to handwrite myself. This is a reflection of Amaranth Borsuk’s musings in “The Book as Idea” where she says it’s okay for a book to have pages that are “torn or carefully cut” and my object happens to be a mix of precise and choppy clippings. It became apparent to me over the years that despite adding on to this object I never removed anything from it. To create something without making edits or changes is a daring feat, I must say.

These materials reflect how easy it was for me to access celebrity culture when I was younger and it even makes me think about how much easier it is to access celebrity culture now in 2019 with the internet. Making an object from the internet wouldn’t have been as fun, nor would it have been as concrete or creative as this piece turned out to be. The world I lived in when I was a preteen definitely revolved around famous people and what they were doing, who they were dating, etc. Referring back to how the world has changed from then to 2019 I think the world I live in now is still very obsessed with what celebrities are up to, so much so that their own lives seem unimportant and dull in comparison.

I would say that my object would attract someone is very desiring of pop culture just like I am. Although, I did put this object together before I knew I’d be using it for a future assignment I think that it speaks to an audience of people who not only who grew up around the time when things like the Jonas Brothers and Twilight were very “in”, but it also speaks to people who have a love for nostalgic things, whether it’s something I included in my object or something that they thought of from their childhood when viewing my object. I’d have to say that my imagined reader with this piece was and always will be myself. At the end of the day I know that I didn’t create this to get noticed or become “popular” as the young kids would probably say nowadays – I made this object as a reflection of myself and to express who I am and what I love and no one can take that away from me.

The Book by Amaranth Borsuk

The New Art of Making Books by Ulises Carrión

3 thoughts on “Book or Object? A Reflection of Myself”

  1. “Representation of the author is an important factor that makes a book become a book.” This is so true! Your book may not have pages, yet it incorporates a collage of pages and photos from other publications to create a new article all about you! This was a cleverly-executed idea. I especially like how you can perpetuate it by continuing to add clippings to it as you grow and change (or stay the same) with time!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your book looks so cool! I appreciate the shout-out to Derry Area High School! I was definitely a pop-culture crazed middle school student with a few too many Katy Perry, Jonas Brothers, Justin Bieber, and Taylor Swift posters hanging up in my room.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As you describe, your book presents a vivid case of the book-as-reflection-of-author: a “reflection” of your interests, concerns, and choice-making. Maybe most of all, it is a reflection of your growth; I love how it has accrued scraps over several years, and how some clippings obscure others, sort of like a collage version of a palimpsest ( Is it one face, or does it open, or turn over?
    I have to ask you, of your discussion in the first paragraph, where in your opinion does the “text” end and the “book” begin…in the case of this book object in particular? (“I believe that in most cases the text should always be more meaningful than the book itself.”) I would argue that your object, in particular, blurs those two categories. Also, isn’t the “book” itself a “text,” and can “text” be so easily separated from “book”? (I guess in the case of e-books, we might say that it can!)


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