Essay by William L. Fox BURNING BOOKS & THE FIRES OF REINVENTION
. . . The thing is certain books in the hands of talented publishers can become more than a vehicle for text, and can become instead a complicated and “telling” artifact of our culture, an integrated object that provokes the reader to more actively participate in the meaning of the text. Such books breed loyalty across the culture, their titles passed along by word-of-mouth; they assume cult status and lead the edge of the culture as it propagates itself through time. . . .
There are only a handful of small presses at any given moment publishing such works. We are fortunate that Burning Books is among them. The press was started in 1979 by writer Melody Sumner Carnahan, as editor, and artist/filmmaker Michael Sumner, as book designer, a partnership that over the years has benefited from significant collaborations with typographer and book artist Kathleen Burch. Burning Books has produced only [twenty-seven books as of 2011] but they are important, affordable, and often sublime manifestations of text. . . .