Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Big book, little book

A few years ago, when I was researching anthropodermic books for a course called "Technologies of the Text," I dreamt of a book that I asked to see at a used bookstore. It took two men to position it on a low table and turn the pages for me, because it was about 7' tall. I had no idea such a thing really existed! But soon afterward I happened upon a photograph of a man standing next to a book that was taller than he was. The image has not surfaced on the web, but photos of the similarly-sized Bhutan serve the purpose. And being a girl of extremes, I then went in search of the smallest book in the world and chose among the many candidates. The largest book I own is Albertus Seba's Cabinet of Natural Curiosities, which is sometimes heavier than I can lift and lives periodically on my dictionary stand (since I can consult the OED online). In fact, I'm resigned to reading books on stands any more - they try to fall out of my hands no matter their size, and the pages get harder and harder to turn without wrinkling...

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