Living with Books, Stories & Writing – an art project with recycling books

I grew up in a home that loves books. I was member of two libraries as soon as I could read. And at least once a month my parents took my brother and I to the biggest book store around – I think it was one of the largest in the whole country and it was an antiquarian bookseller as well. The people there kept books under the counter they thought my parents would like. In today’s world of ‘google it, get it’ that might sound strange, but back then it was the only way to get certain things.

So, up to today my dream home is the home of hundreds of books too. And they gather during the years, as the first and foremost rule my parents taught me bout books is – you never, out of no reason trash a book. No written word is simple or bad enough to just be discarded. Every story is worth to be heard in the right context. And the best are meant to live them. It might all happen in our heads, but who says that this is not real? (Well, the last bit I added and it is partially stolen from Dumbledore.)

OK, OK – I too have arrived in the age of e-readers. A good thing I did as in the now almost 5 weeks I visit my brother, SIL and niece in Michigan I read approximately 15 books and counting. They would most definitely have been hard to carry around. And coming back to throwing books away – my SIL is a librarian and more frequently used library books have a tendency to fall apart and need to be replaced. But my heart bleeds to see them go into recycling (though, it is a good thing that they end up in recycling and are not just dumped).

So, I asked nicely at Northville District Library and with their help and the help of Mission Based Books I got my hands on a very small share of these recycling books compared to the large amount there is actually. I then asked myself what I could do to give to them a story, reading and writing related afterlife. In the end I had so many pictures in mind and would have loved to design a whole room with the books. Alas, my time here is once again limited. So, here are the ideas I loved most and therefore created:

1)    OK, my slight addiction to certain TV shows, books and movies might have been mentioned on this blog and in my art once or twice. I do love stories. I do love to get evolved in them. I wouldn’t be me if I wouldn’t constantly analyze them. When I try to tune my brain down I like to spin them on. And yes, I do write my own stories. I am not so much into fanfiction, but I read a few good ones over the years. And what I like about them is that other than just consuming, people involved in fanfiction really grapple with characters, traits and story lines (at least the good writers). I’m all about using this grey matter we got between our ears. And though it is understandable that in difficult times, like the one we live in right now, people don’t want to be bothered with the daily problems in their escape bubble and tend to flee into fantasy, the character developments and interactions still give us something about personal development and turning lemons into lemonade if we just look beyond the superficial who jumps who.

Anyway, I think about fanfiction in the framework of transmedia storytelling as second hand stories. The writers use characters and their surroundings that don’t belong to them, but by either leaving them in their world or creating a new around them they tell their stories. Second hand stories do fit perfectly to recycling books on the search for a new commitment. With that in mind I choose some of my favorite stories – though made into major movies or TV shows they are all based on books – picked one fanfic for each of them (they are all on Fanfiction.net, but not all of them are rated PG, so take care) and illustrated them using the old books as a background and for the words.

The Saint in the Shadows by GCatsPJs for Bones by Kathy Reichs& others

An Angel's Kiss by drotuno for The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyers

Sometimes I'm wrong, Sometimes I'm right by pleasetakemeawayfromhereox for The Vampire Diaries by LJ Smiths&others

Words With Friends TMI Style by SierraPaige for the Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare

Guardian by gethsemane for The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

2)    I mentioned e-readers in whatever shape they might come. They are a competition to paper books. But they can go well together. I created a loading station for e-readers from the recycling books. And when the e-reader rests in it (and can be attached to its cable to charge), it is almost as if the words from the old books pass over on the direct way into the electronic device.

3)    As I said living with books and stories and writing around me is part of my personal paradise. When you open a book, it is like you enter a whole new world, a new fantastic arena of new idea. And to have books and stories as part of your daily life all around you is like living them. The written words are everywhere to point you in a new direction to venture and explore. So, I thought about ways to include them in unconventional ways into the interior by giving them new tasks as e devices take over their old responsibilities.

The recycling books I got in the beginning are all used up and my time here is almost over. There is nothing left to do for me than to declare this art project as done – for now. I hope the one thing or the other catches your eye and you like my way of recycling. You might want to leave a comment or a fanfiction recension 😉

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