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“Libraries Give Us Power Books Make Us Free”

It may come as no surprise that I’m a sucker for well-designed books and book art. Or that I’m quite a fan of library advocacy. Put them together, and it’s like Kryptonite. Pretty, pretty Kryptonite. And you’re probably the same, since you’re reading Book Riot, where we specialize—among many other things—in celebrating bookish design and libraries.

Well, here’s a hunk of alien rock that’s totally going to drain your superpowers: LIBRARIES GIVE US POWER BOOKS MAKE US FREE, an awe-inspiringly awesome creation by British book designer Mina Bach. It’s like a commonplace book crossed with one of those amazing 1960s experiments (like The Medium is the Massage) that found new ways to combine word and image on the page. Bach brings together quotations, photos, essays, and other fragments in a wide-ranging and beautiful “celebration of the public library system, reading and books.” Indeed, full of surprising visual and tactile effects that play with readers’ relationship to meaning, Bach’s book is both an example of and an argument for the continuing wonder of paper and ink. Check it out:

Libraries Give Us Power Cover

 

Libraries Give Us Power Balzac

Libraries Give Us Power Books Books Books

Libraries Give Us Power Ulysses

You can see more from LIBRARIES GIVE US POWER BOOKS MAKE US FREE—as well as some of Bach’s absolutely gorgeous book covers—at her website. For just a taste, here’s her spare but affecting cover for Jack Kerouac’s ON THE ROAD:

Mina Back On the Road

 

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About

Derek Attig writes and teaches about book culture, technology, and history. In addition to writing a book about bookmobiles in American life, he blogs at Bookmobility.org. Follow Derek on Twitter: @bookmobility