The University of Michigan's library recently acquired a copy of American Cheese, 20 Slices, by Ben Denzer, a book made from shelf-stable, plastic-wrapped slices of American cheese.
The book had an edition-size of ten; the library's copy is number nine. It's the only copy in a library collection. The book is about cheese, but it has no words: the material in its construction is also its subject matter.
Denzer's other books include "200 one-dollar bills arranged in serial number order, and a tiny volume of Chinese restaurant fortunes."
The book was acquired by Jamie Lausch Vander Broek, the Art & Design Librarian at UMich, who spent $200 on the title, and who will keep it in "a special plastic container" and sent it out for examination by classes.
Some people—especially librarians, particularly book catalogers at other institutions—were mad when I bought the cheese book. This surprised me. I thought that people would laugh, or crinkle up their faces in bewilderment. Their anger reminded me of reactions to color field paintings; people seemed divided between “I could do that,” and “that’s an insult to books!”
All of this gave me a deep sense of satisfaction. If my job is to engender interest and even passion for the library and its collections, a book made of cheese was really getting people excited. Suddenly they had opinions! Even among my coworkers there were arguments about things we take for granted in other books. Is someone the author of the cheese book? What is its subject? Is it about cheese if it is cheese?
You Can Check Out an Actual Cheese Book at this Michigan Library [Jamie Lausch Vander Broek/Saveur]
When I was a kid, my whole circle of D&D-playing, science-fiction reading pals was really into Roger Zelazny's ten-volume Chronicles of Amber, but somehow I never read it; for years, I'd intended to correct this oversight, but I never seemed to find the time -- after all, there's more amazing new stuff than I can […]
I'm in the midst of couple of weeks' worth of lectures, public events and teaching, and you can catch me in Toronto (for Word on the Street, Seeding Utopias and Resisting Dystopias and 6 Degrees); Newry, ME (Maine Library Association) and Portland, ME (in conversation with James Patrick Kelly).
In 2017, Banksy painted a giant mural on a wall in Dover, England depicting a worker chiseling a star off the EU flag, by way of a comment on the Brexit vote; now, parties unknown have painted over that mural, whitewashing it. Banksy is philosophical about this development: "Oh. I had planned that on the […]
Studies have shown cannabidiol (more popularly known as CBD) to be effective in two main areas: Pain relief and stress relief. Both of those make the non-psychoactive, cannabis-derived compound a natural for topical creams. There’s no shortage of CBD products out there, but here’s eight of our favorites, all specifically designed for dermatological use – […]
If you’re part of the maker community, you know Make:. Though Make: magazine is off the shelves as of this year, the eBooks and resources put out by Maker Media are still a fantastic resource for the new generation of tinkerers, hackers, and robotics geeks. If you’re in that tribe, listen up: they’ve released a […]
Life isn’t getting any less hectic, and pressure cookers are a quick, healthy solution for a growing number of kitchens. But if you thought your Instant Pot was versatile, there’s a major upgrade on the market: The Yedi 9-in-1 Total Package Instant Programmable Pressure Cooker. If you’ve somehow never used a pressure cooker before, try […]