Difficult Reads


Some books are hard to read.








Book 4 by Lucas Samaras at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.


I wasn’t able to open the book as it was in its display box (to protect the book or perhaps to protect us).


However, the gallery label explains that the book contains a series of short fictional works written by the artist.  It goes on to say that “each thick amoeba–shaped page contains surprises, such as pop–ups, pockets, interlocking layers, foldouts, and hidden pamphlets.”


Of course, you have to get the book open first.

Some books are hard to read.



69 thoughts on “Difficult Reads

  1. I love this kind of art, it makes us think, specially because he is writer too. Very interesting book, now I want to know what he wrote. Will look it up on the internet. Like this post very much :). Have a wonderful week!

    • It was a small object in a very big room but got my attention right away (well, of course, because it was a book) but also because it forces us to look at something so familiar in a different way. Have a wonderful week too Doris!

  2. Oh, my! I’m guessing it’s a murder mystery. A very GRUEsome murder mystery! And though I never read murder mysteries, I HAVE read books that feel this torturous, they’re so bad lol Of course, I no longer read bad books if I can help it 😀

  3. I actually reviewed this book once. I cited the author’s “razor wit” and noted that she “really nailed the ending.” In an unrelated note, this is the highest selling Cyber Monday item at PerfectGiftsForYourEx.com. For a limited time, it comes with a free tetanus shot.

  4. Clever! I was getting ready to rant about Moby Dick being a challenge but this is much more fun, I would like to see inside the book but I don’t have any of those thick industrial gloves so will wait for movie instead.

  5. It’s kind of unfair there’s stories in there you can’t read… Maybe the book should come with a long handled reading tool, with which you could flip the pages, and have a taped-off perimeter warning you to get no closer. Or maybe have the book inside a box with special gloves, like a bio-hazard containment unit?

  6. Great dialogue – as usual, my dear Letizia, I have found that when we are told a book is forbidden or inaccessible, we have a greater urgency to read the contents. Humanity is driven by curiosity.

    Having said that, there are books that are very, very difficult to read. Once we open those pages, we will be forever changed.

  7. Wow that’s taking hard to read to a whole new level – I love it! Ironically it makes me want to read it. I love it when books get 3D (or is it 4D?) Reminds me of that book Ship of Theseus, or S, have you read it?

  8. Could this piece be making reference to Guy Debord’s book that was bound in sandpaper so that it would abrade anything placed next to it on a shelf?

    • Somehow I think Debord’s Mémoires is even more clever as it slowly effaces the book covers around it, irritates the reader’s hands and plays on the theme of memory of effacement. But both are playful metaphors and I wouldn’t be surprised if this was influenced by Debord!

    • I believe the book is part of a series so I assume the artist made a few others that are similar but the others were not on display at the MoMA. It would be interesting to see them all together.

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