A client of mine, who is a rare book dealer, pulled a paperback out of his coat pocket. It had the covers torn off and a number of pages removed. Slightly puzzled, and before I could start my “This is going to be very expensive” speech, he explained.
“When I’m finished reading a page, I tear it off and throw it away. The book is much lighter and easier to carry. I just do it with worthless paperbacks. Look, it is already half the size!”
I doubt any of us would have a problem with discarding an unwanted section of a newspaper. Or a notebook page.
But a book! Symbol of permanence, order, fixed sequence and immutable fact. His action was as strong of a comment on the nature of books as many destructive and altered artist books I’ve seen. Or is it a manifestation of our single use, disposable, throw-away culture?
I couldn’t do this to a book. Could you?