Thursday, October 13, 2016

61 Books: #53

The project: to read 61 books, of whatever sort—short, long; literature, schlock; prose, poetry: you name it—before December 4, 2016.

The first ten books can be seen here. The second ten are here. Nos. 21–52 are below this post.

53. Marion Bataille, ABC3D (2008) (10/13/16)
When a few weeks ago I issued a Facebook request for recommendations of good short books, one friend suggested pop-up books. I immediately googled "pop-up books for adults." Little did I know what a vast, innovative world lurks out there, populated by creators and collectors of an art form that, wrongly, I had relegated to silly children's books. Nowadays, pop-up books are impressive feats of engineering, imagination, and erudition.

I chose an uncomplicated book for my first foray into the pop-up culture: ABC3D is an alphabet book, plain and simple—no text (not even a title page: the lenticular cover and spine do that job) aside from a letter or two (or in one case, four) on each spread. The letters stand up from the page in full three-dimensional splendor, or assemble themselves via clever sliders or transparent sheets. One of my favorite spreads features O and P, which are transformed into Q and R via an overlay of matching diagonal lines. Here, if you are so inclined, is a video that allows you to read it yourself.

Recently, NPR's Science Friday ran a short segment called "Engineering the Perfect Pop-Up," "about how pop-up designer Matthew Reinhart constructs paper cut-outs that can extend to nearly two feet in height, and how their underlying structures generate movement and depth." ABC3D is much simpler than that, but even so, some of the letters had me peering under and in to see just how the designer did what she did. Meanwhile, the website Best Pop-up Books, run by a couple in the Netherlands, presents reviews, interviews, and more on this specialized subject. There's a whole world out there to discover, and I've only scratched the surface.  

I will be seeking out more pop-up books, for sure. I'm considering The Pop-up Book of Phobias, as "reference" for an essay I'm working on—only it's expensive . . . Then again, I'm surprised these books aren't more costly than they are: what it must take to manufacture them!  

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