Prospectus

Books inhabit our spaces. As objects, they populate our physical experiences in nearly the same way that other people do, as beings with unfixed interior lives around which we constantly reconfigure ourselves. The daily interactions we have with books deserve scrutiny and consideration, and it may be that greater attentiveness will clarify and optimize these relationships.

In this site the habits, interrelations and generations of books will be observed and recorded with particular attention to their community-forming tendencies. Examinations of the ways people handle books, and cohabit with them and use them to connect with other people will be made. In this site the invitations books offer will be accepted, no attempt will be made toward perfection and no divergence or digression avoided.

The question guiding this inquiry will be simply this: how do books live with us? More succinctly, if all book-encounters happen within a physical context, how does that context, in particular a reader’s material habits, influence the way books are meaningful to us and direct our literary explorations and thought? The working hypothesis will be that mindful reading can have a dynamic impact on our experience of books and the way we integrate their content into our thinking. To determine the nature of this impact is the work of this site.

A search for strategies of mindful reading will require experiments, some of which will certainly fail, and so I’ll have to learn to embrace failure. It will require me to draw from my own environment, thereby exposing myself in uneasy ways. I’ll also need to visit the places books congregate and gather other personal accounts, and these things will require me to work past my timidity and get comfortable with feeling awkward.

I’ll post my findings every Friday in the hope that eventually patterns will emerge and this study of stacks will gain form and direction. But more importantly, it’s my hope that the act of writing about reading can open a practice that is so essentially solitary into a space where substantial connections can grow, and that you, reader, will become one of those connections.

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