Most Unusual Books In The World

"Words Create Worlds" by the Anagram Bookshop in Prague

Sometimes the most unique art comes from twisting one established form into something completely different.  In this case, a book becomes entirely unreadable. But then, that’s not the point.

Today I’m excited about this photoglut of art made from books. (“Photoglut” is a snazzy word that I thought everyone knew. Nope, turns out it’s coined by Stupid Ugly Foreigner, a funny and fascinating blogger. Pretty soon “photoglut” will come into common usage because it’s awesome.)

We use books so often, for everything—they become so throwaway. Martin Frost adds some mystery with his fore-edge scenes. Sometimes the paintings are not visible unless the book is open.

Brian Dettmer has no problem with slashing books. In really cool ways.

With a name like Robert The, he’s simply got to work with words.

An unknown artist thinks outside the box/book/bird…

Edit 6/6/11: Thanks to careful reader Jason Smith for noting: the above piece is not by Donald Lipski (now attributed correctly as anonymous). But Donald Lipski can, in fact, be found here with many more sculptures of books and other interesting things. One of his famous “book” sculptures is called “Good as Gold”—check it out, it’s cool. 


My favorite, Su Blackwell.

What do you think? Comments are welcome!

(This is an understatement. I sit at my desk anxiously refreshing the page in the hopes that you’ve left a comment.)

(This is only a slight exaggeration.)

(Help! Don’t leave me to drown in my own self-corrections!)


14 thoughts on “Most Unusual Books In The World

  1. Elena, you are my favorite blogger. I’m not sure whether I love ‘photoglut’ for its meshing of two words or hate it for its revulsive connotations. This art is awesome–especially the bug book and the picture on the side of the page! As well as the top one, of course, because it just looks wicked. So you approve of this demolition of books? Is it all for the sake of art?

  2. Thanks, you three. (thanks for catering to my shameless request for comments. :D) what can I say? you’re gems.
    I am glad you liked them; me too. I must be a serious bookaholic, if that’s a thing to be, since I never seem to get tired of discussing books in all their various forms… I guess it must look a little weird from the outside…
    Oh, in response–do I approve of the demolition of books? Normally, no. I actually have a hard time writing in the margins of the phonebook, which is going to be thrown away in one year, so normally I would declare the collapse of civilization when we destroy books. 🙂 But I thought all these artists seemed to be adding something to the book, making it new and come to life in a different way. For example, the gun book–it’s certainly unreadable. But the object itself is saying something profound that, when coupled with the title, is direct and forceful in a way that a whole book could never be.
    I think that’s cool. Thanks for sharing my sharing. 🙂 happy weekend!

  3. I am always in awe at things I would not dare to do.
    that kind of book art – word art is for highly detailed who cares what others think people.
    I can imagine working on a delightful artistic project like that for a long time only to have people walk by chewing a wad of gum and saying “oh cool”.
    Good find on the “cool” books Elena.

    • Ya gotta ignore the gum-chewing people. 🙂 But you’re right, I don’t think I could dare to do that either. It takes a lot of nerve to cut up a book, even in an artful way.

  4. I posted a comment elsewhere on the blog about the origin of the bird in a book sculpture. Love it! But I contacted Donald Lipski, and he wrote that it is not his. Just wondering. Thanks.

    • Wow, thanks for catching that! I’ve tried to research more thoroughly this time. Some of these pictures I found from a list at (with some other cool ones) but the bird-carved book was obviously misattributed. I’ve changed the link and tried to trace the picture, but it seems to be anonymous.
      If you ever do find the artist, I’d love to know who it is–it’s a beautiful piece. Otherwise, it’s my understanding that it’s under an open license to use. As far as I can trace it, it’s from Avi Abrams’ photo stream here:

    • Thanks! I really like them too. I’m interested in the art book field and wish I were talented enough to make some of these. (Okay, any of them.)
      Thanks for stopping by!

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