How to Avoid Ruining a Book


“The club had a lending library. I was delighted by a poster that described in detailed words and in pretty colored pictures how many ways there were to avoid ruining a book.” – Walter Benjamin

1. Any attempt to consider books must confront the impressive variety of objects that justifiably fall under that descriptor “books.” Volumes ranging from pocket dictionaries to table-sized atlases and from paperback novels to illuminated manuscripts bound in leather can all make a fair claim on being books. While it can be tempting to defer to a simple definition that rambles on about pages between covers, such an attempt to elucidate only proves helpful in the most boring of ways. After all, most people know a book when they see one. Though books come in a seemingly unlimited variety of shapes and sizes they, nevertheless, remain material objects, and as such they are not spared from…

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