Sometimes we get so engrossed in the stresses of daily life that we need reminders of the larger-than-life worlds contained in books. That’s where these amazing book-inspired sculptures come in! This list contains only a fraction of the stunning pieces of art that exist around the world, from books wedged into the very building blocks of our societies to recreations of our favorite childhood stories. These sculptures welcome you to reading havens like libraries, or pop up in the most unexpected places (Lyme Park, anyone?) to inspire you to crack open a book once in a while.
Book Benches (Viral Nova)
An artist has in Istanbul, Turkey, erected these larger-than-life book benches around parks, bus stops, and other high-traffic areas. Best of all, each book is open to the “best” page so you can read a sample. An artist in London had the same idea, erecting colorful, illustrated takes on the book bench for the “Books About Town” project.
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Out to Lunch (Sunnyvale.ca.gov)
The Sunnyvale Library owns one of eight sculptures in the “Out to Lunch” series (the rest scattered around the country), which depicts a young man engrossed in a book of Spanish while absentmindedly eating his lunch. It’s a keen reminder of the importance of multitasking, and how a good book can completely absorb your attention.
The Walk of Ideas (Wikipedia)
During the 2006 FIFA World Cup event in Berlin, Germany, the city decided to run a campaign called Welcome to Germany – The Land of Ideas. Advertising agency Scholz & Friends came up with the six Walk of Ideas sculptures, including the 40-foot stack of books commemorating the invention of modern printing.
Mr. Darcy (Independent.co.uk)
What better way to recreate one of the most classic moments in literature than to have a 12-foot Mr. Darcy emerge, dripping, from the lake in Lyme Park?
Biografias (Quirk Books)
Alicia Martin’s installation captures the volatile quality of even the books we love the most–the stories we’re dying to share with other people even as we try to keep a literal wave of books contained within our far-too-tiny apartments.
Book Marks (Blog.Seattlepi.com)
In 2008, to celebrate being named by UNESCO as the third City of Literature in the world, Johnson County, Iowa, created the public art installation Book Marks. Sixty giant books (each measuring five feet high) were on display all around town and likely inspired many TBR piles.
Learning Curve (Gary Lee Price)
Sculptor Gary Lee Price says he was inspired to create this piece as a curve because of both circles signifying unity, and bridges that unite us–just like the best books!
You’ve probably seen the worldwide art project in which someone fills in holes and gaps with LEGOs… but have you considered that books could serve the same purpose? Ishmael Randall Weeks uses books in a variety of pieces, but this simple piece Concreto needs no ornamentation.
Life is an Open Book (My Modern Met)
For one, look at that impressive brickwork. For another, here’s a great reminder for kids of all of the adventures hidden in a book’s pages.
The Tree of Knowledge (Oro Valley)
The same is true for this literal tree of knowledge, rendered in bronze.
Catch a Book (Public Art Archive)
The intent of Joseph Bellacera’s massive sculpture is to remind people that books can barely contain all of their knowledge. But instead of trying to catch words, visitors to the West Sacramento Library are probably worried about the books themselves dropping on them!
Biblios (Guy Laramee)
If you aren’t too squeamish about artists using books for something other than reading, you’ll appreciate the way that Guy Laramee literally carves into old texts and excavates something new.
Pit of Books (Visual Fun House)
Now imagine Laramee’s work larger than life, and you have this pit of books, hollowed out for humans to precariously pick their way through (or can they?).
Book Man (Flickr)
Even robots love to read!
Quill Pen and the Writer’s Desk (Roadside America)
Many of these sculptures have focused on books as the final product, but Quill Pen and the Writer’s Desk brings you back to the first moment of creation–putting the idea on the page.