Previous generations had a different attitude towards natural light. Of course, some might say that it was because gas and kerosene lamps were expensive and unsafe. But I think I am beginning to understand why Tesla could not find any takers for his evilest invention (yes, eviler than the earth splitting device and the death ray) – the fluorescent lamp. Who would agree to work in an inhuman greenish glow instead of natural light?
Well designed early skyscrapers had plenty of large windows, even the factory floors were sun drenched. I’ve read in Henry Petroski’s “The Book on the Bookshelf” about library stacks that had glass floors, transparent enough to admit light to the lower floors, but opaque enough not to allow upskirt peeks.
Here’s a similar concept: store’s trapdoors that have little glass windowlets that admit light from above. I wonder what ripped so many of them out. I’ve seen other steel doors like that, and it seems to me that it’s pretty hard to mess them up. The thick glass is firmly embedded into steel and they are flush to the surface.
I’ve recently read a very awesome book by Henry Petroski called “The Book on the Bookshelf”. It’s a book about the culture of storing an collecting books. In it he mentioned a dinner party that he attended, where owners of a pretty big library served appetizers on Taschen art books (probably purchased for a buck or so). But many of the guests did not feel right about using book pages (no matter that they carried no value) in this manner. Even though it’s probably a cooler way to use these books than letting them mold in a used book pile somewhere.
Petroski also mentioned some readers who would tear pages out of cheap paperbacks as they were reading in order to lighten their bags.
I feel, that eating over a book (unless it’s a rare edition) is ok. In fact, I don’t really care if any of the ordinary books in my library have dog ears, food stains or water damage as long as they are still readable. I have no qualms even about throwing out crappy books. But still would refuse to use a book as a plate.
Now, here’s a project I have mixed feelings about: some ljusers wallpapered their library with book pages. It looks very cool. It will probably look like ass later, when acidic paper will start to completely deteriorate in sunlight. It’s somewhat cool. Maybe even a bit creative. I’ve seen this done with old newspapers in the Le Figaro cafe in the Village though. But still, something ain’t right about that.