WWA III — THE BOOK

Manel Tinoco de Faria
workwithoutannette
Published in
3 min readJun 19, 2023
the one your kid probably hates

Books are a fascinating piece of man craft for paleontologists of the future. Bury a hard copy of a Dan Brown novel and future machinemen will commit halt and catch fire.

Still,

let’s travel back to a time filled with roses and wonder, when there was no such thing as a screen. Or anything even remotely close to a mouse or VR set.

Imagine your day without a fu#&ing book.

In 2023, that’s standard practice. Back in the 4th millennium BCE, you wouldn’t last a second without it. I mean, you would, because you wouldn’t even call it a book: allegedly, that would be a scroll.

Made of Papyrus plant, 14x52 feet wide. Imagine people then reading through The Washington Post or the most recent TimeOut berliner. This was just Class 1…

BOOK ON!

Flashforward to the 1st century CE, Romans came up with codices.

These are more similar (and certainly better than) the Dan Brown novels I mentioned before. Durable. Compact. Full of twists. Great character work. Made with parchment paper, wooden covers… now, the first proper bookworms flooded Mediolano, Taurinum, Potentia, Saxa Rubra. Yeah, the first two are Milan and Turin. The latter idk.

Read a book and tell me about them!

CTRL+P

So, what’s the earliest PRINTED book one could come across? Is there a Dan Brown 0.5?

Of course there is.

That would be Diamond Sutra, thought to have been crafted between 2nd-5th centuries CE.

DUDE… WORD UP!

Wait, that Dan Brown exquisite word within this magical plot twist does intrigue me… what does it mean?!

You couldn’t go to a dictionary back in the day… thank Richard Mulcaster for the invention, in 1582, of the first known Book of Words and Meanings.

SURF’S UP

Jump forward to 1935 CE, where for only six pence each (the 2017 equivalent of £1.27) you could pick up one of Penguin Books first glued paperbacks.

NOW, FOR REAL

Books are proper, books are safe, books will not come up with some fictional legal advice… wait, they will.

That’s what’s fascinating about them.

They’re vehicles of fascination and questioning.

They take you places. Ask nothing in return. Alright, you may had to trade few horses and pigs back in the 13th century, but… you could and still can be absorbed by images in words they provide.

The e-books and screens of today, some say, do this in a ‘less palpable’ or ‘more distant’ way. You can have an entire library in your pocket (Dan Brown, Ken Follet, pick your favourite!), just like Jobs put music in your pocket. But hey… you didn’t see anyone mocking his feat!

Yet, he changes the industry and shook the common mindset.

I think Books did for us more than Musk, Jobs, Gates, Zuck and the next-Chat GPT backender wannabe will ever do.

They taught us to think. Gave us room to debate.

From Shakespeare to Saramago, Homer to Tolkien, business, knowledge, artforms spawned out of their pages.

Homer was the first ‘known journalist’, some comm experts say.

Shakespeare was the first to mix proper ‘comedy and drama’, others will argue. Etcetera et al.

Whatever, whomever’s your jam at your nightbable, know this:

Flip ’em, touch’ em, have a go and a blast, you won’t regret it.

I know I never did.

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