I speak of the book. The relationship to this object begins through intimate measurements determined by my body; notably my palms, hands and lap. I conjure a physical object with specific tactility and certain weight. The materials used in its covering, a texture for its central body, the number of pages, and even a perimeter size when closed can be imagined. When it lies open to receive me, I even consider the amount of effort required easing its spine. It has a scent that can relocate me to basements, library stacks or warm beaches. The object we all imagine may or may not have text or image. It may or may not present these systems together or if so it may make this arrangement synchronized or discordant. There may be blank pages with notes. There may be hand written margins and underlined phrases. Alternatively, scribbles upon the images that transform the picture and add to it the shadow of an imagist’s hand. This book connects to our physical and psychological self in ways few inanimate objects encounter. We negotiate with its qualities long before we decipher its content.
We regard the book with a reverence that most other objects never achieve—even those of more rare material and greater cost. We respect the power of the book and protect its vulnerability. We cherish its collection when it preserves what we believe and fear its destruction when threatened by those who believe differently. We place this object in such regard that to express an adverse view on any quality of the book might appear blasphemous.