It’s Called a Manual for a Reason

The Shape of the Book

Here’s a drawing in response to a chapter in Alberto Manguel’s A History of Reading titled “The Shape of the Book.”  This section is a nice description of the power of the reader’s hand, as much as the author’s intention, in the shaping of the size and form of the book as object.  Also, I forget the role of the hands in reading; their presence is assumed (so natural) and therefore easily forgotten as active players in reading.   Reading is as much handmade as eye, heart, and brainmade.  This chapter is also good reminder of the full body experience of reading.   Thus, it makes sense, metaphorically speaking at least, to term struggling readers as “handicapped.”  And it offers a good explanation for why the folks working on the Kindle, iPad, and other tablet readers are so concerned with replicating the interface of the human hand in their products.