Cover image for A book of books
A book of books
Morell, Abelardo.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Boston : Little, Brown, [2002]

Physical Description:
107 pages : illustrations ; 31 cm
General Note:
"A Bulfinch Press book."
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TR655 .M67 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize

On Order



Although we may have been taught not to judge a book by its cover, photographer Abelardo Morell reverses the old saying and delightfully shows us how to relish a book by its look. This inventive and clever photographic ode to the printed word captures all the powerful possibilities contained on the page. A Book of Books gives us images that range from formal studies of shape and texture to the joyously whimsical.Most luminous are the sculptural renditions, fluid pages curving over their spines like majestic mountains in the distance. The abstract pattern of a dictionary takes on the enigmatic characteristics of crop circles, while a water-damaged book shows itself as a twisted organic form. An aging book slowly decays in a stark image of paper so fragile it has practically turned to dust. Library stacks seen from above become a labyrinth through Morell's lens. Includes a lovely preface by Nicholson Baker. Perfect for any book enthusiast. (52 duotone photographs) --J.P. Cohen

Author Notes

Abelardo Morell was born in Cuba in 1948. His work has been exhibited and collected by the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, and over forty other venues worldwide.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

It's hard to imagine that innocent objects like a pile of dictionaries or the first page of A Tale of Two Cities would inspire sensual musings, but Morell's lush photographs of books do just that. With these 52 8" 10" duotones, Morell, who teaches photography at the Massachusetts College of Art, chronicles literary matter in its physical state at all stages of its existence: intense closeups of ink and paper fibers; sunlight falling in dots on a blank book's open pages; Escher-like details of impossibly angled landscape engravings; thick, water damaged volumes whose pages seem to undulate. "You're in the book," writes Baker, author of Vox and Double Fold: Libraries and the Assault on Paper. Book-related quotations from Nathaniel Hawthorne, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Francis Bacon and others appear in large type on facing pages, filling out this splendid portrait of the book's life. (Oct. 12) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

In a superb display of talent, renowned photographer Morell provides a magical experience for the bibliophile and soothing engagement for photography enthusiasts. Morell transforms everyday objects-book spines, pages, illustrations, typeface, and shelves-into memorable conduits of our long connection with reading and the book. This invigorating work reaffirms the importance of books and serves as a reminder of their fragile but enduring presence in our history and psyche. Nicholson Baker, author of the controversial Double Fold: Libraries and the Assault on Paper, contributes a fitting preface; an engaging and beautifully written piece, it reveals the writer's sincere love for books. However, the stars of the volume are, undeniably, the books on which Morell focuses his camera. If they could talk, those books would thank him for rediscovering them and adding, through his genius, such grace and sentiment to the essence of their existence on the pages of yet another book. Recommended for public and academic libraries.-Edward K. Owusu-Ansah, CUNY Coll. of Staten Island Lib. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.