Sunday, January 18, 2009

Fifteen Pounds

I gained 15 pounds during the Christmas holiday season. I'm not the least bit worried, though, because none of the weight is from fat. But it's not from muscle either. Nor is it from bone, brain, bodily fluids, or anything else the human body is made of. It's from cardboard, ink, and paper.

What I gained was a 15-pound book. So maybe it's more accurate to say that my coffee table gained 15 pounds. And even though I got it during the holiday season, it wasn't a gift, unless something you buy for yourself can be considered a gift.

Remember a few years ago, when I was thinking about buying a huge $200 book about the Case Study Houses? If you recall, one of the reasons I decided against it was because I figured I'd look at it once and then forget about it, just like I did with my $400 first edition copy of Luigi Serafini's Codex Seraphinianus.

The other reason, of course, was that I didn't want to spend $200 on something I didn't really need. Buying things I don't need and won't really use puts me in the category of people known as mindless consumers, which is a category I don't like to find myself in. But despite that, I feel the need to buy something every now and then.

So I picked up the Case Study Houses book. I got it from Amazon for $126, making the price per pound of the book somewhere around $8.40. I think that's a pretty good deal, especially when you consider that most hardcover novels are about $20, and they weigh a lot less than two pounds. I haven't actually ever weighed one, but just to give you an idea, you can get a hardcover copy of Paul Auster's Man in the Dark from Amazon for $15.64. According to Amazon, that book weighs 11.4 ounces, putting the price at about $21.95 a pound.

That doesn't mean you should buy the Case Study Houses book and not buy Man in the Dark, however. You should probably buy them both, especially if you have more than a casual interest in both modern architecture and contemporary fiction. But if you want to limit yourself to one or the other, I'd have to recommend Man in the Dark, or for that matter, any book by Paul Auster, such as Oracle Night or Travels in the Scriptorium.

The price per pound of his books might be sort of high, but you'll probably find them to be very engrossing. Of course, you might find the Case Study Houses book to be engrossing as well, but I can't say for sure. As a matter of fact, I can't even tell you if I find it engrossing, because I haven't looked at it yet. I basically just unpacked it and put it on my coffee table, where it has remained untouched for the past few weeks. I've been sort of busy with other stuff lately, but I'll get around to looking at it one of these days.