Winter 2017

The ‘bookness’ of books

The Book: A Cover-to-Cover Exploration of the Most Powerful Object of Our Time

By Keith Houston
Cover design by David J. High
Book design by Abbate Design
W. W. Norton, $29.95, £18.99


Hundreds of books about books have been published during the past century. A complete bibliographic list would take up this entire magazine and induce coma. I have not read most of them (in fact, the ones I have read are factually pretty similar), so I will not claim that this one is the very best of all time. Yet The Book: A Cover to Cover Exploration of the Most Powerful Object of Our Time is possibly the best of our time. It is both full of insights and deeply researched, and Keith Houston’s prose style aims for a reader more discerning than the average book-production geek. The subtitle says it all: ‘the most powerful object of our time’. Okay, it may be argued that an atomic bomb is more powerful in the deadliest sense. But as a life-enhancing force, no other human invention has contributed more to our collective enlightenment and argument as the book.


Top: Informative and ‘meta’ cover design by David J. High for The Book.

Steven Heller, design writer, New York

Read the full version in Eye no. 93 vol. 24, 2017


Eye is the world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal, published quarterly for professional designers, students and anyone interested in critical, informed writing about graphic design and visual culture. It is available from all good design bookshops and online at the Eye shop, where you can buy subscriptions, back issues and single copies of the latest issue. You can see what Eye 93 looks like at Eye before You Buy on Vimeo.


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