Books On Books Collection – Lisa McGuirk

If Rocks Could Sing: A Discovered Alphabet (2011)

If Rocks Could Sing: A Discovered Alphabet (2011)
Leslie McGuirk
Casebound, glossy paper over board, illustrated doublures. H21 x W24 mm. 48 pages. Acquired from Paper Cavalier, 2023.
Photos of the book: Books On Books Collection, displayed with permission of artist. © 2011 by Leslie McGuirk. Photos in the book by Denise Ritchie.

Along the Victor Hugo-esque theme of “alphabets all around”, here is a beachcomber’s eye for rock shapes with which to construct not only a complete alphabet but also the images necessary for an abecedary.

Not only a b-shaped stone, but also one shaped like a bird. Likewise a c-shaped stone, but this time a miniature sofa to accommodate the resident stone with a shape to complete the phrase.

McGuirk has spotted stones for verbs as well as adjectives and nouns — all equally astonishing in their serendipity, humor and insight. Perhaps the last is best: the match of the z-shaped stone with a word beginning with z that matches a numeral-shaped stone that, arguably, reproduces the concept at its eroded center.

Further Reading

Abecedaries I (in progress)“. Books On Books Collection.

Robert Beretta“. 18 February 2023. Books On Books Collection.

Kenneth Hardacre“. 18 February 2023. Books On Books Collection.

Elliott Kaufman“. 21 January 2023. Books On Books Collection.

Ellen Sollod“. 29 December 2022. Books On Books Collection.

De Looze, Laurence. 2018. The Letter and the Cosmos: How the Alphabet Has Shaped the Western View of the World. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Hugo, Victor, and Nathan Haskell Dole, trans. 1890 (1895). Victor Hugo’s Letters to His Wife and Others (The Alps and the Pyrenees). Boston, MA: Estes and Lauriat.

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