First things first, this is the longest time I’ve spent actively with a book without actually reading it cover to cover. Strangely though, in discussions during this last task I found that I would often speak as though I had read it diligently and was an expert on the matter at hand – in my case roman catholic and protestant churches and building great domes. This was somewhat disconcerting as the connection to my book at that time and now still remains relatively weak.
If, say, the book was not a book but a person I don’t think I’d consider myself a friend of theirs. It is true that knowing where a person lives (perhaps this person lives in Einsiedeln), knowing when and where they were born (maybe in 1718 in Augsburg), knowing their parents (possibly a single father called Leonhard Christoph Sturm), and being vaguely acquainted with their friends is usually common between good friends. The important distinction though is that these pieces of information usually become available after or during the initiation of the friendship (i.e. the reading of the book.) Being in possession of this knowledge on a person while only ever having been formally introduced to them, it would seem more likely that I was a stalker, maybe a detective working a case, or perhaps an assassin. In any case a person with ulterior motives and probably not a very good friend.
It remains possible that this is a faulty analogy. Suffice to say I have mixed feelings concerning my genuine friendship with this book. I hope it can make better friends with the books that I have introduced it to.
One thing I will take from this experience though is the value in building a framework for older books from which a book can then be more easily understood and more enjoyably read. I also think that these exercises have been eye opening in respect to the amount of resources that we have access to via the different libraries in Zurich and through online platforms from the ETH.
On a different note I did enjoy being able to peer into a past world, especially noticeable while visiting the Werner Oechslin library in Einsiedeln. Making the journey up the Sihl and discovering the hundreds of years old book with its yellowing pages, cursive font, cryptic German grammar, and its beautifully drawn illustrations and plans was rewarding in its own way.