When we were introduced to the friends with an old book exercise, I couldn’t really imaging how one should become friends with a book. For me it was a really abstract task and at first I had a hard time figuring out where this exercise was leading. I really struggled to build a connection with my book and having to change it half way through didn’t help either.
My final book “Pomponii Gaurici on Neapolitan Sculptures” is written in Latin, which i find a beautiful language, but one that i can’t understand without the help of a translation program. This language barrier made it difficult till the end to ever truly become friends with my book. Because of this obstacle this exercise taught me how to not get distracted by the things i don’t understand, and to filter out the useful information.
During the visit of the Werner Oechslin library I made my first contact with my new book. There we got the chance to have our book physically in front of us and to look through it. They taught us how to properly handle such old books, since it was the first time for most of us to hold such an old book. This experience was the most memorable part of this exercise. I blindly got a book i knew nothing about,since my original was not available and i think this made it that much more interesting. Slowly finding more information on the book I got to hold and look through.
I put in effort trying to become friends with my book, similar to how we develop friendships between people. But sometimes it just isn’t meant to be. There is understandment and respect for each other but it just doesn’t work.
It was a new approach to handling a book for me and changed how I feel about books. There is more to them than just the information in them, the informations about them can also be interesting.
All in all I learned more technical things during this exercise, like how to handle old books, where to look for information about them, how to turn book pages into a text document etc…