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“Warp and Woof” are on the technical level, referring to the lengthwise and crosswise runs of thread in a fabric. I first came upon the term while reading The Book that Changed America by Randall Fuller. The quote read:

Such tiny relationships, such insignificant causes and effects, could be decoded; they were in fact the very warp and woof of nature, diverse threads woven together to create a beautifully complex tapestry of life

The phrase appealed to me on two levels. First, that connections are the flavor of life. Darwin recognized the interconnectedness of the natural world, and it brings me joy to discover that not only in the great outside, but inside the printed pages that I dearly love. Finding surprising connections between books that I may choose to read at random is a special experience, whether it is echoes of Shirley Jackson in the modern horror novel or the currents of the eldritch ancients that electrify books with superficially nothing more in common than tentacles on their covers. I find it impossible to read a book outside the context of all the books that have come before (and after.)

Sometimes these connections are intentional, sometimes they are Kundera’s “mysterious coincidence.” As he writes in his beautiful novel, The Unbearable Lightness of Being: 

 …it is right to chide man for being blind to such coincidences in his daily life. For he thereby deprives his life of a dimension of beauty.

The second level of appeal is that the word “woof” also references my other most dear obsession, which is dog. So a picture of a book and a dog is as close to that “dimension of beauty” as I can come. And they both make the world a pretty damn great place to live in.

 

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