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Kim Kardashian attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating "Charles James: Beyond Fashion" on Monday, May 5, 2014, in New York.Evan Agostini

When it was announced last fall that Kim Kardashian would be releasing a book this year, the news was quickly met with derision – not at the reality star's literary aspirations, but rather that the so-called book would consist entirely of pictures (selfies, to be exact). Kardashian's narcissism notwithstanding, no one can deny she has become a singular icon worthy of a tome dedicated to her convention-busting beauty. The contouring devotee has, for starters, single-handedly done more for the makeup industry than many supermodels combined, while her famously curvy shape has redefined what much of modern society previously deemed to be the ideal body. The problem for many seems not to be Kardashian herself but the notion of a book sans words. Such a thing, of course, is not without precedent. There are thousands of them: books showing lush gardens, enviable closets and gorgeous plates of food; books featuring bridges and flatware and high-heeled shoes.

Even for those who love to read, books light on words (some of which are pictured on these pages) can be a breath of fresh air, a specific kind of open-ended aesthetic pursuit.

Whether it's getting an inside look at the history of a famed couturier or relishing the ridiculous notion of dogs sporting bowties, examining the objects that surround us is not only pleasurable – it's essential.

Taking in images without the weight of verbal description frees the eye to roam and hopefully see things it might not have noticed otherwise.

Pictures without words allow a personal dialogue to form between you and whatever is in your gaze.

In other words, they allow you to hear your own voice. As Roald Dahl notes, "those who do not believe in magic will never find it." So, look again. And this time, look closer.

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