I grew up in a tiny New York City apartment, packed in alongside our four cats and my father’s immense personal library of some 3000 books. My father designed books for a living, and he revered them. His books were everywhere in the apartment, covering every possible surface in the house, the radiators and toilet tanks included. To my father, these books were objects of art: beautiful to hold, beautiful to look at, and beautiful to read.
Though my father’s outsized romance with books didn’t entirely rub off on me, he did instill in me an appreciation for the book as a technological invention, a remarkable piece of engineering whose importance is arguably like none other ever devised. And yet, given that at its core reading is nothing more than a tool, engineered around a set of compromises and constraints, it’s far from perfect./.../