Recently, someone told me a story about an ex-girlfriend who, in the course of reading, would tear out the last page she read and use it as a bookmark. I've never understood the desire to write on a page, or tear a book to pieces. It seems arrogant to me, because books are complete, finished texts, worlds in and of themselves. But I like Ireland. It's clever. The profile cut out of the cover and the layers of interior maps sliced away to reveal various countries as sections of the brain are reminiscent of old phrenology maps that doctors would use as guides to the bumps and indentations of the skull. It's one overblown artist statement away from being a visual pun, but the workmanship is attractive enough to give the piece value. Still, one of the first things I did in looking at Ireland was to crane my neck to read the title on the spine. The book's intrinsic bookness remains more interesting than what anyone does to it: It's a geographic dictionary.