Brooklyn is very bookish. If you walk the streets on a fair weathered weekend in certain neighborhoods, you will notice a system of informal and anonymous book-sharing. You will see piles of books lying on sidewalks or stacked on brownstone steps, available to any passersby looking for a good novel, or a cookbook from 1972.
This tradition is a testament to the limited storage of our homes, but also to the distinctly Brooklyn spirit of small-scale community interactivity that can be possible in a huge metropolis. It also speaks to a shared love of the written word -- as do our many bookstores, public libraries, and coffee shops filled with famous (or soon-to-be) writers at work.
But in our increasingly digitized age, the form that books take has changed, and so has the nature of ‘community’. Our laptops and phones and e-readers allow us to withdraw into our insular spaces, changing the way we interact with each other -- and how we experience the written word.
The 100 Story House is a piece of interactive public art. It is a miniature Brooklyn brownstone whose windows open upon shelves of books (about 100 of them), which can be borrowed by the community. House is a tiny lending library open to all and operating on the honor system -- take-a-book, leave-a-book.
This is an effort to celebrate the BOOK as a physical object, and the pleasure of holding it in your hand. Or better yet, placing it in someone else’s.