I’d never heard of a blook until I stumbled onto a post by Mindy Dubansky, an American conservator and preservation librarian, who is deeply interested in collecting and conserving blooks. Well, what are they? I hear you ask. Blooks, and I’m quoting Mindy, are ‘objects made in the emulation of books, either by hand or commercial manufacture’. She says:
All over the world, for hundreds of years, people have been making, collecting and presenting book-objects that reflect their devotion and respect for books and for each other. There are countless examples; they include bars, cameras, radios, banks, toys, memorials, food tins, desk accessories, book safes, musical instruments, magic tricks, furniture and jewelry. Blooks embody the same characteristics as books and many take the form of specific titles and book formats.
Book lovers like me might prefer the real thing, but to Mindy and other scholars, blooks signify ‘knowledge, education, taste, power, wealth and more’. She explains her research as part of scholarly and popular interest in the ‘book as object’, which has grown as the codex has come to be perceived as an endangered object.
Mindy is head of the Sherman Fairchild Center for Book Conservation at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. She is in the process of preparing the first exhibition of blooks to be held in the USA. As far as she knows it’s only the second such exhibition in the world. Read more about it on her blog, About Blooks.