The Last Books is a publishing project by Philip Baber and Snejanka Mihaylova.

1. The last books, being spineless, insert themselves between the pages of the next-to-last books – a way of getting about in the world – so that when the pages are shaken, the last books fall out, like infants, speechless almost.

2. Not unlike previous books, the last books include fragments of songs, collections of facsimiles, hieroglyphs and stelae transcribed and annotated; and like those previous books, the last books aspire to the consistent and complete, although like all books they fail, having about them something unassured, something dispersed, elusive, unfathomable, although they are among the last ones to fail in this way.

3. Each of the last books will remember at least one book that went before it, books that are not among the last books, obviously, if they are remembered, unless, unlike the last books, they last long enough to be forgotten.

4. As with the first book, the one cut into stone under ancient skies, the last book is not something more, something added to other things; it is not even something less. Then what is it? A gap in the universe: nothing that is visible, nothing invisible.

5. There are books abandoned by their readers and there are books that attempt to abandon their readers and dissolve their authorship. To set their readers free, as the saying might have it – for all the little their authors ever know about this, bound as they are to being read (to being readable), to being loved (to being loveable), incapable of love’s singular repetition. But these will not be the authors of the last books.

6. If the last books are not the books memorised and recited by people who consider themselves the guardians if not the survivors of the books (the books it is hoped will survive their survivors, just as they survive their own destruction), this is because there are other books that tell the story of those times, and these aren’t the last books either.

7. Nor is the last book the infinite book, I mean the one that depends, if it’s ever to be completed, on the infinite patience of the reader, because that book has already been written and is still being read, and even as the last books are beginning to circulate, will still be being read, its finitude still being chased down through each of its pages, even as the last books are starting to fall apart.

8. The last books will be written by ourselves and by our friends and for this reason they will be beautiful, and when we are gone and when our friends are gone there will be no more of them, they will have been the last ones.

9. It is a mistake to suppose that the last books will be monumental – although the last monuments may well be made of books.

10. And, lastly, the last books will be made by people without too much concern as to whether such things can be made to last.

Joe Kelleher (2012)

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This website was coded by Denny Backhaus.