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Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Skinny Books and All

As indicated in the Proust (Book) Questionnaire I posted recently, the last book I bought (at the time) was Solitary Travelers, a slender, two-volume book in a slipcase documenting the work of visiting scholars at the Cooper Union School of Architecture in 1977. The book appeals to me for the content (contributions by Aldo Rossi and Joseph Rykwert, among others), but also for the fact it is a skinny (narrow and tall) book.

But what is the appeal with skinny books? Is it how they veer from the norm, often taller than most books on the bookshelf? Or is it the way the tall pages seem to spark interesting page layouts? Or is it the fact the atypical page sizes costs more to produce, therefore making more special artifacts? With just a tad of deliberation I realized perhaps it's how skinny books are architectural, like buildings on a skyline:

[Click image for a larger view of the skinny books in my library, each to scale. L-R: Highrise of Homes by James Wines, Thinking Architecture by Peter Zumthor, The Images of Architects edited by Valerio Olgiati, Deconstructing the Kimbell by Michael Benedikt, SITES 25 edited by Dennis L. Dollens, Sky High by Germano Zullo with illustrations by Albertine, Eleven Authors in Search of a Building edited by Cynthia Davidson, Sustainable Architecture White Papers from the Earth Pledge Foundation, Bunker Archeology by Paul Virilio, Information Exchange edited by Zoe Ryan and Raymond Gastil.]

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