Sunday Book-Thought 104

What is a book? Certainly it is not, or not only, a bound stack of stained wood pulp, or a papyrus scroll, or a sequence of ones and zeros on a microchip. It is nothing near so definite. I have called it at various times an action, an operation, an interference pattern, a parley, a playground, a parenthetical clause, a syncope, a séance, a Schrodinger’s cat, or a Trojan horse. It might also be helpful to keep in mind the obsolete noun ‘handfast’, meaning variously a firm grasp, a handle, the handshake that seals an agreement, or a contract or covenant, especially a marriage betrothal.
But for now let us say simply that a book is a situation.
Shelley Jackson, ‘I Hold It Toward You: A Show of Hands’, in The Bloomsbury Handbook of Electronic Literature, ed by Joseph Tabbi (London: Bloomsbury, 2018), pp. 13-38 (p. 14).

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