I love reading. It's volume of information that books can hold that make me love them so much. I love all types of books, history, fantasy, biography and most of all art books. More specifically photo books. Books are one of the best ways for humans to connect to one another. We can put a part of ourselves into the written word that is more refined, more true to who we are then if we were just talking off the top of our head. When talking we often don't get a chance to really think about how we feel about a particular subject, but if we write about it we can revise, double check, and polish our final thoughts.
Reading literature is one of my favorite pastimes, I love to be absorbed into a different world, it allows me to empathize with other people in a way that simply listening to an experience just doesn't convey. I love the feeling of being inside someone else's head. I believe with enough context we can understand why even seemingly terrible people in the world do what they do. I've read two books about people with mental health issues, "The Soloist" by Steve Lopez and "The Minds of Billy Milligan" by Daniel Keyes. Both are true stories and both are of people that were on the fringes of society, demonized by others due to their actions. But since the book gave me their backstory, and put what they did into a larger context I was able to empathize and really feel as though they weren't entirely at fault for their actions. Something that other forms of communication just simply can't do because of their limited ability to fit in all of the information needed to understand such complicated issues.
I think book form is the best way to present a work of art, assuming the size it's displayed in the book matches the artists expectations. Some artists want to have massive works of art where everyone needs to stand twenty feet back to see the full image, which is fine, but it's not for me. I enjoy small prints, I love getting really close to the image to see the little details, but still being able to see how they connect to the image as a whole. I think books are superior to works presented in a gallery because books are cheap, lots of people can see a book where as relatively few people get to go to an exhibition and see a piece hung in a frame. People can share books, a single art book can cross hands, and potentially influence hundreds or thousands of people if it's stored in a library. I think my final goal in photography is to publish at least one really great book. One of my all time favorite photographers Fan Ho spent 10 years creating a single book of photographs, throughout his career he published three books, all of them with a decade worth of images, I only own one, but it's one of the most magnificent books I own. I will cherish it for a very long time.
I'd love to know what books you cherish, leave a comment on Facebook and I'll do my best to try to track down a copy and read them.