December Lights

Although Winter does not officially start for another couple of weeks here, the first of December always feels like the first day of the season to me.

I love the changes of the seasons and, other than the excitement of waking up to a snowstorm, my favorite part of Winter, is of course curling up with a good book in front of the fireplace with a cup of tea.

And the long evenings allow us to indulge in this activity a little more often than usual.

I came across this fascinating art installation created in Melbourne last June to celebrate their “Light in Winter” Festival.  A group of artists called Luzinterruptus took books discarded by libraries and lit them from within.

The results are quite magical.

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images from: www.luzinterruptus.com

93 thoughts on “December Lights

  1. At first I didn’t like the idea of the books lying there, rather like a book burning. But as I went through the photos I could see how they would generate interest and maybe get taken home to be read. The kids looking at the books were wonderful. Great post, Letizia

    • Oh dear, a book burning! It’s funny, that idea never crossed my mind until you mentioned it. I agree, I just loved the photos of the children engaging with the books. In fact, all the ones of the people playing with the books. It really made it about the love of books and reading again which is just wonderful.

  2. This is wonderful, and how fascinating to read the different reactions to your post. I thought, on seeing your first photo, that the books were floating on water. I soon saw that they weren’t of course, but they continued to look to me like a river of books, a waterfall etc. There must be something there about books being essential to our wellbeing, just as water is…

    • You’re right, now that I look back at the photos, it does look like the artists made a ‘cascade’ of books; combining the themes of light and water. How wonderful! The idea behind the project was to celebrate reading. As they were giving life back to discarded books your point about water is right on point; water being a life source. So interesting!

    • I think these artists would say that light always shines from those words; that those books should never be discarded; that there is always a reading rebirth.

      Tim, you are a poet even in your comments; such beautiful writing!

    • Yes, it would have been fun to see in person, I agree! I love that it was open to the public and that people were encouraged to pick up the books and even take them home, giving otherwise discarded and abandoned books (by local libraries) new life.

      Happy first day of Winter (as we are both celebrating it today!)

  3. That is indeed incredibly magical. I could stand (or sit, I’m not picky) among these books for hours and still find myself mesmerized till the end. It seems to me that people can pick whichever books they want too?

    • Yes, people were welcome to pick up books and take them home. These were books that were donated by local libraries (otherwise the libraries were going to discard them, according to the website). So this project gave these books new life and was about a public celebration of reading which I just love.

      I think “mesmerizing” is the perfect word!

    • They are great photos, aren’t they? I think my favorite is the one of the little girl or the one of the steps, but in fact the whole collection together is interesting.

  4. Thanks for this lovely, moving post. Too bad there’s no “LOVE” button. This what Christmas morning should feel like. Imagine how this stumbling upon this scene could change someone’s life. Now that’s art.

  5. I love books so this was close to “heaven” in my mind. I can’t help but thinking that what we know as books will be considered, in the very near future, an antique or an art display. But I have great hope the stories and words will be always with us. No matter what format books will be in the next iteration, I know that they will still hold the magic that captured my heart since the first day that I read “Green Eggs & Ham.”

  6. Amazing! I’m really impressed by the concept behind this activity. There are just two doubts I have:

    1) How were they lit exactly? Did they attach a small flashlight at the starting and ending page of the book? Or perhaps LED’s? Be it any way, the outcome is fantastic!

    2) Did the Luzinterruptus artists donate these books? Or were they returned to their respective places? If they did donate them, could anyone choose any book from the lot? Kudos to the Luzinterruptus artists!

    Great post! 😀 🙂

    • From the website I read, I wasn’t clear on how the books were lit exactly, but it does look like little LED lights perhaps? Something small so the books weren’t damaged, or were harmed as little as possible.

      The books were books that local libraries had “discarded because they considered them to be obsolete” (I’m not sure what this really means, where do library books go to ‘die’?). But this adds to the beauty of the project as these artists gave a new life to these books, a new readership, as the people were encouraged to take the books home with them!

  7. Awesome. I’m glad it wasn’t raining that day. Or very windy. Wish I had been there to do some Christmas shopping!

    I’d love for libraries everywhere to do something like this with books they plan to discard. What a way to give them new homes!

    P.S. I wonder if that kid picked up that Stephen King novel nearby …

  8. This is AMAZING! Thank you so much for sharing, Letizia. If I were walking down the street and saw this exhibition, I would probably trip and break my face. I would be too overwhelmed by the magical display of my favorite loves.

  9. I absolutely love this! Seeing all those people so interested and engaged with books, books as art is fantastic. Magical is a word being used a lot by people and they are right, the light makes it seem all ethereal and almost like lights rippling on water in some instances. What a fantastic start to the month.

  10. I especially love the picture of the person who made a circle of books, stretched out, and piled a few on top of them. It reminds me of a kid building a fort out of pillows–a little methodical, and very exuberant.

  11. You said (in the above comment) its like a fort- it sort of is, isn’t it ? Reading a book with utmost focus does shield us from everything else that goes around. Its not voluntary, but its like we have a limited amount of attention and we choose to focus it all on the book ! Reading, if one does it that way, is magical indeed 🙂 Never knew about such events in Australia. Its inspiring 🙂
    PS- I watched this movie The Namesake yesternight. Its based on Jhumpa Lahiri’s book. The movie moved me so much that I think the novel is my next stop 🙂

    • I’m sure you will love the book if you loved the movie. I loved both. I like Lahiri’s works a lot (her short stories are very good as well). I thought that the movie was more centered around the mother and the book a bit more around the son, but perhaps that’s because the actress who played the mother was so good. It’s so rare to like a book and a movie equally and this was one of those cases!

  12. “My soul is in the sky.” ― William Shakespeare
    This work of art is soul-stirring – a visual representation of the light that literature shines into and through us. Thank you for sharing, Letizia – this made my dreary, rain-soaked December day (dreaming now of a warm December summer in Oz!)

  13. What a clever way to celebrate the written word. Every book picked up will always be remembered in a special way. The pictures truly capture the magic of the moment. What a wonderful experience.

    • It’s so cool, isn’t it?

      Winter has definitely arrived in Europe! My family keeps sending me photos of snowmen they have made. None in the shape of books yet but if they do I’ll post them 🙂

  14. I first saw this on bookshelfporn.com and was enchanted by it. The books were lit using LED lights. And if you haven’t checked out the website, you should. From their About link: “Bookshelf Porn is a photoblog created to allow people to indulge their love of books, libraries, bookstores and bookcases by showcasing the best bookshelf photos from around the world.”

  15. Reblogged this on vsvevg and commented:
    Books are my passion, comfort, reward, connection and affirmation. Reading Interrupted is to me what a fashion magazine is to a fashionista. Letizia writes about the what, where and how of reading. I look forward to her posts like I once anticipated Vogue’s spring issue.
    I share this beautiful and apropos post to wish you all a Very Simple, Very Easy, Very Merry Christmas.
    P. S. Need a last minute gift idea? The Man Who Quit Money, by Mark Sundeen was my favorite read of the year.

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