Book Aesthetic

I’m not a book a day type of person, but I do read a substantial amount. The vast majority of my reading is dedicated to philosophy and philosophy adjacent books. Disciplines like anthropology, cognitive science, feminism, sociology, classics, and many others have a large intersection with philosophy, and so I am exposed, intrigued, and entertained by varied approaches to writing.

Philosophers have a history of relying on great works of literature and film to help them propel thought problems in new directions. I was exposed to writers like Aristophanes, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Arthur Conan Doyle, even J.K. Rowling because of their works being mentioned, used, and relied on in philosophical arguments.

Outside of philosophy however, my reading dossier is very limited. I can count on one had how many books I’ve read without taking notes in the margins and underlining what I consider to be essential points of an argument’s progression.

Toward the end of 2021 I was moved to add to that limited index. I committed myself to read one adventure book sans highlighter, pencil, and notebook each month for the duration of 2022. In addition I have agreed to follow the phenomenal trend of creating a book aesthetic for each month’s book.

I have to admit that I am a bit of a luddite, and so my exposure to internet trends and tech is limited. But the ‘book aesthetic’ trend is a trend that I can happily get behind. Essentially, after completing a book, you select and arrange photos that capture your interpretation, emotions, and the highlights of the book. Set those photos to some music that serves the same purpose, limit it to around twenty to thirty seconds, and send it out into the ether.

People who see the aesthetic, may be inspired to read the same book, or inspired to make their own aesthetic, thus inviting others to read and share what they’ve read, and on and on and on. There are some very impressive examples on TikTok and Instagram. Mine however will be a work in progress., but hopefully, there will be some noticeable improvement along the way. Time will tell!

For the month of January I read Apsley Cherry-Gerrard’s book The Worst Journey in the World. The book was terrific, it was refreshing to read with enjoyment as my sole intent. The book aesthetic doesn’t do justice to the story, but I enjoyed trying to put it together.

Here’s how it turned out in case you want to take a look!

For February I am reading Mark Synnott’s best seller The Third Pole: Mystery, Obsession, and Death on Mount Everest. Feel free to join me in embracing this trend, or join me in reading along, or join me in both. I’d love to hear your thoughts on these books, and I would also love to hear your thoughts on how these short videos turn out.

Carrot

87 Replies to “Book Aesthetic”

  1. Great idea!! I am not sure if I would be able to do a book aesthetic, but if I ever do one, it would largely be because of this blog.. cheers and good luck with your videos.. and happy reading

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Gimme real text, not social media Classics Illustrated pap. Long ago left facepages, never twittered or teeheed or tiktokked. Won’t. Conceptually, these are fine but in practice they represent and perpetuate the decline in intelligence we see today. And to make matters worse, everyone has a different social tool insisting on membership before allowing access. Kool Aide. Gimme Good Irish Whiskey.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Consider us pretty close on this philosophically. The stimulus to turn some pages is grand. I’m just not prepared to spend time digesting it afterward for someone dependent upon emojis, pictures, and sound bites. You understand I enjoyed the read? Had I not, I’d not have bothered to comment.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m a fellow Luddite and this book aesthetic business is new to me. While I won’t be joining in, I salute your new adventure.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Thank you so much for the well wishes…my biggest obstacle is trying to not read too far ahead, it is really tough to put an enjoyable book down.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I read the book a couple of years ago and discovered that I am not the adventurer I thought I was. They suffered immense hardships, my adventures are too controlled. I’ve never seen a book aesthetic, but you did a nice job covering the book. Maggie

    Liked by 6 people

      1. I just finished “The Third Pole”. It is not often I read a book in two to three days but this one had me intrigued. It started slow and kind of boring but then it had me not only reading the book but doing research on line and watching documentaries at the same time. Left me wanting to read more about the quest to summit Everest.

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    1. I think movies are also very good for increasing our knowledge and experience. As movies are made with very much sincere approach.

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  4. Very nice video and great music to go with photography. I love the idea but just don’t want another social media account. You can view the video without downloading the software. The photographer’s work sold me on the book. The idea is an excellent one especially for us visually motivated folks. Thank you Joni. Have an amazing weekend. 🦋

    Liked by 5 people

      1. Sorry it went too soon. I loved your “Book Aesthetic,” it was lovely and a great way to give an audience a peek at the books potentially reading for them. Social media does get overwhelming but I got in without downloading the app. Big hugs 🤗

        Liked by 1 person

  5. If you need suggestions for future reads and want to wax philosophically, I recommend that you consider David Roberts’ musings on “adventure” in one of his last books, Limits of the Known.

    Liked by 5 people

  6. The best teacher of philosophy is music. Why? Because it includes notes, tones and lyrics that make the narrative memorable. Once you’ve consumed the classics and know the fundamentals, you can turn on virtually any song and learn from the examples in the music. One of my favourite songs these days is “Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman because a woman with hope and ambition is trapped between choosing her freedom and her moral obligation to her family. It’s a bittersweet and beautiful melody sang with heart. It also causes you to think…

    Liked by 7 people

  7. I like the idea of the Book Aesthetic. Nice way to round off your vies and thoughts via a video etc. I like philosophical stuff too, however, I’m too consumed in my other goals as you’ve already read about. Maybe later in the year, after I finish my current project. Great Idea though.

    Liked by 5 people

  8. I love the idea, ‘Essentially, after completing a book, you select and arrange photos that capture your interpretation, emotions, and the highlights of the book. Set those photos to some music that serves the same purpose, limit it to around twenty to thirty seconds, and send it out into the ether.’, for it sounds so impressive. Although I ought to add apart this blogging site I am not on any ‘in’ site and I feel anachronistic most of the times. May be I will make a mental image of the activity and disburse that into the universe.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. I like the mental image option! You can read books just for yourself, no need to do a presentation of every single one of them. Although I do like to talk and write about books as well… So something in between maybe

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I like to share my thoughts on books too! And ‘force’ others to read were a book to blow my mind away. Something in between sounds perfect!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. There is the attitude I get where it’s like “I liked this book, you should like it too” but clearly that is just a faulty hope, so maybe this is a good way to meet people in the middle.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. You are right, hence I am extremely selectively about the people with whom I’d share a recommendation! And true, tastes change with time and develop and are remodeled. No wonder, I could never essentially connect with most of members from my book club.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. It’s weird, after putting this together, while reading a completely different type of book called Livewired, I kept thinking to myself how I would represent a chapter or section in a picture, it’s kind of fun having different reading methods bleed into each other.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Jennifer, thank you very much, I was and am pretty insecure about this little project, but reading comments like this really helps to keep the motivation stoked!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Beautiful books are a huge come-on to me. The most beautiful book so far has been The Invention of Clouds. Sadly, the physical actuality of this book made it hard to read, for all its beauty. Last year for the contest I judged I was landed with another incredibly beautiful book that, thank goodness, was also readable and important. Anonymous is a Woman by Nina Ansary. SO…a person can be blinded by beauty (Oh you knew that…) Another beautiful book, Umberto Eco’s History of Beauty.

    Two wonderful adventure books I’ve read in the past year are both set in Antarctica — both by Liv Arnesen — No Horizon So Far and Into the Bright Open. Really wonderful books. No Horizon So Far has a teaching component that I found inspiring. I also love Messner’s book, My Life at the Limit. Heinrich Harrer’s The White Spider combined with Krakauer’s Eiger Dreams… For years I’ve been struggling with Wade Davis’ Into the Silence. The aesthetic in that book is the writing which is often so beautiful I get lost in it…

    And now? I’ve been feeling bereft and lonely for conversation that I wanted. So…I got Kazantzakis’ book, Japan and China and got to rediscover that amazing thinker and writer. Just what I needed/wanted. (if this posts twice it’s not my fault)

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Great recommendations Martha, I kind of want to read all of them. I have shelves of books that are just waiting to be digested, and I suppose they could use a little more company. Thank you.

      I was wondering what you think about something like this as an assignment for students in an intro ENGL class. I’ve always thought that book reports were a horrible way to get students into reading and writing, and was thinking of recommending something like this as an alternative to some of our English faculty…if I could do it in a way that doesn’t step on their toes. Any thoughts?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It’s worth a try. Book reports are usually (though there’s no reason they have to be) pretty reductive.

        I believe in showing rather than telling because real writing (meaning what the students might be asked to do) isn’t so much ABOUT something. Like Skiing Into the Bright Open. A book report might start with “This book is about a woman skiing solo from the middle of Antarctica to the edge.” That’s what she DOES that’s not what the book is ABOUT. It’s an important distinction for a good reader to make and your idea would certainly help with that.

        Your idea would also take the student into the actual WORLD of the book which, to me, is so meaningful (since writers make worlds or share worlds) and a lot of students don’t (through no fault of their own) have the imaginations to access that. It would help those kids develop that pretty useful tool. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      2. That was a nice way to put what I was thinking. I toss the idea out in case some faculty would be receptive to it, if not, no biggie. I am usually afraid of bringing technology into the classroom. Still just a dry erase marker and eraser for me, but more tech savvy folks may be open to it. I like the language you use to describe writing about books, that is a helpful way to look at it!

        Liked by 2 people

      3. I could see something like the future of poster presentations moving onto an interactive digital platform like this one day soon if they aren’t already there?

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      4. I used a lot of tech in some classes and not in others. It depended on who the students turned out to be and what I was teaching and where I thought they were likely to go progressing forward in their education and work life.

        I taught a summer business communication class in what I called the “Star Trek” classroom. All my students had laptops and brought them to class. We did everything — group projects, presentations, poster talks everything ended up in a techie kind of finished project. It was awesome. I loved it but got in trouble for giving too many A’s. (middle finger emoji)

        Other classes? Intro to Lit — chalk and a chalkboard. I don’t know why. It was the people in the classroom. They were just THOSE students and they were the same age demographic as the other class. But they LOVED when I wrote a poem on the board that I knew by heart. Somehow it was a beautiful show for them. One of them, of course, was Emily Dickinson, “We never know how high we are,” I told them they could laugh and then I’d keep going… But they loved that poem and that I didn’t have to look in a book. It made the whole thing alive for them. The next intro to lit class? I was teaching over-teched corpses… You never know. 🙂

        There are platforms that do what you are saying. One I’ve used is Prezi. It’s fun and can be turned into videos.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I’ve learned something new! Like you I pretty much only read books on Philosophy, Spirituality, Psychology and the intersection of the three with notebook and pen in hand! I used to enjoy fiction but have become so intent on the expansion of awareness and consciousness that I can’t seem to stop! HOWEVER, we cannot really discuss these higher notions without a firm understanding of human nature and life on earth and fiction is an exceptional way to expand our awareness of it. You’ve given me the kick in the butt I need to get back to including it in my diet. The book aesthetic is something new to me. What a concept! So new generation for the book aficionado. I will be interested to explore it more and look forward to yours.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Nikita, that is the nicest thing I’ve ever heard in my life. My past Lit professors might disagree, but you have just made my day. Thank you!!!

      Like

  11. I love how you’re exploring and reading new genres! This idea of ‘book aesthetic’ is honestly so intriguing, I think I might try it

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I like the classics as well, (preferably historical fiction classics) and I’m really enjoying historical, outdoorsy fiction by Walt Morey my new favorite author. Although I do read a good deal of non fiction. This was very inspiring and interesting, keep up the good work!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I read this with a gentle curiosity. It has been so long since I read for fun. Yet it is one foundational habit for all I have underwent and overcome in life. Thank you for this reminder!

    Liked by 2 people

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