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SP12 N385 Seeing Sideways

SS385 – How to “read” a book

Go to a library, bookstore, or your own book collection and look through the books. Please do not read any. Just pay attention to what catches your eye.
  • What is it that stands out to you?
    • On my own personal bookshelf, what stands out the most to me is how my books are positioned within the shelf. Some are positioned vertically while the bigger ones are resting on their sides.
  • Why?
    • Because of how disorderly it is. I can also see what looks to be dust on one of my larger books even when i’m sitting a few yards away from the shelf.
Choose a red book and open it to page 6. Close your eyes and put your finger on the page somewhere.
  • What did you find?
    • My finger landed on the word “Sessions”
  • If your finger landed on a paragraph, how many times does the letter P show up in that paragraph?
    • 24
  • If it landed on a picture, how many straight lines are in the picture?
    • n/a
  • If it landed on white space, what is the white space surrounding?
    • n/a
  • Can you imagine the white space as a sea and the other parts (words, pictures, etc.) as islands floating in white water or space?
    • Yes
Using your other senses, explain what the paper feels like.
  • Is it slick or rough?
    • I thought it was pretty slick which was surprising since the book is somewhat old.
  • What does the cover feel like?
    • Slick again with lamented paper edges that are slightly curled back
  • Can you feel the ink of the words if you close your eyes?
    • Just barely
  • Do different colors feel different with your eyes closed?
    • n/a
  • What else can you discover about the paper?
    • It’s in very good condition with a slight yellow-ish tent to it.
  • What about the cover?
    • I can feel the minor scratches that only show up whenever you reflect the book off of a light source. It’s not so much sticky but when i rub your hand across the book my hand slightly drags the book.
Without destroying the book, unless you own it and want to, see if you can figure out how the book was constructed.
  • Is it stitched?
    • I don’t believe so
  • Is it glued?
    • I can see a dark yellowish material just in-between the spine of the book.
  • Is there any cloth on this book or is it all paper?
    • All paper
  • Is it a hardback or paperback?
    • Paperback
  • Does it have signatures? (Hint: you may need to look up what signatures are in the context of making books…)
    • n/a
  • If it has signatures, how many pages are in each and how many signatures are there in the whole book?
    • n/a
  • If it does not, look at the glue on the ends of the spine and discribe what you see.
    • It’s a thin, dark yellowish material that resembles glue.
Flip through the pages and look at the end papers.
  • Is there any writing in the book, other than the printing?
    • Besides the print and the few pictures, there’s no writing to be found within the book.
  • If so, what does it say?
    • n/a
  • Why is it there?
    • n/a
  • Who wrote it?
    • n/a
  • If you do not know, then imagine who might have written it.
    • n/a
  • If there is no writing in the book then how does it make you feel to know you are the first person (possibly) to think about it?
    • A little happy to know that I’ve gone through a book that had a lasting impression on me.
Examine the book more.
  • Are there any stains on the book?
    • On the front cover there is a black residue that looks almost as if the lamented paper is being burned off
  • Are there any fingerprints?
    • None that i can tell
  • What do they look like?
    • n/a
  • How might they have happened?
    • n/a
Look at the pages of the book.
  • What is the color of the pages? I bet they are not really white.
    • There is a slight yellowish tent almost as if it was slightly imitating vintage paper.
  • How would you describe the color? Is it warm or cold? Bright or dull, etc.
    • It’s warm which gives off this inviting presence.
  • What other visual things can you explore with the book?
    • There are a few images that are black and white with text describing what’s going on within each of them.
Think about the history of this book.
  • Can you see any other evidence that someone else has handled this book?
    • On the back cover there is a faded price tag sticker
  • What are the edges of the pages like? Describe them.
    • When the book is closed they bend towards the front of the book
  • Can you imagine what someone else might have been thinking as they read this book?
    • They might have thought it was an interesting read that gave a new perspective on how to view dogs
  • Do you think anyone else has used this book like you are right now instead of reading it?
    • Possibly for a paper or something.
Flip through the pages quickly.
  • Can you hear the sound? If so, describe it.
    • While no where near as loud, it reminds me of a propeller on a plane.
  • If not, what is your experience like?
    • n/a
  • Can you feel the breeze?
    • Yes though just barely
  • Can you move something with the wind generated from the book?
    • Only small pieces of dust
  • Could you use this book to win a game you created using the book’s wind power?
    • Maybe if the game centered around blowing small scraps of paper or dust.
Drop the book on the floor.
  • What did you experience?
    • A thud from the book hitting the carpet and clapping sound that came from all of the pages closing quickly
  • Did you sense the vibrations the book made?
    • When i put my foot near the point of where i dropped the book i could feel the pulse from the ground created from the book.
  • Did you feel it in your feet?
    • Yes
  • Take your shoes off. Now drop the book. Was there any difference?
    • I could feel the vibration more with my shoes off than when they were on.
Hold the book between your hands with one hand on each cover and the book closed. Close your eyes.
  • Is the book cold? Hold it like that for at least one minute.
    • It was at first but gradually over time i could feel it start to warm up.
  • Now feel the cover. Can you feel the temperature change from where your hands were to where they were not?
    • When i place my hand on a part of the cover and then move it to an area my hand hasn’t touched i can feel a slight change in temperature
  • Have you ever been aware of this before when you were holding a book to read it?
    • No
  • If your heat transfers in this situation and you noticed it because I asked you to, why do you think you have never noticed it before?
    • Because i have never held it in my hands for that long and focused on just the temperature of the book.
  • If you have noticed the temperature of a book you were holding before, describe why you noticed it.
    • n/a
Smell the book.
  • What does the smell make you think of?
    • A combination of bread and old newspaper.
  • If you can’t think of anything, describe the smells you can sense. (Interesting fact: Did you know that I have friends [many librarians, actually] who choose their books partly based on how they smell? Honestly.)
    • n/a
I do not recommend tasting the book for health and safety issues… 🙂Now, finally, read the first page. If it is just pictures, read the story of the pictures. 
  • What is the title of this book?
    • The Other End of the Leash
  • Based on the first page, explain why you think the book was titled that.
    • The author wants the reader to understand what it’s like to live life as a dog and how they interpret things much differently than how we would assume they would.
Reflect back on this entire exericise.
  • What is your experience like with the book now that you have experienced it differently?
    • It makes me want to finish it so i can say that i understand dogs better than i previously did.
  • Do you still find books to be boring, assuming you did in the first place?
    • I think it depends on the type of book your reading and what exactly your trying to get out of the book. if your looking for an entertaining or learning experience then often times it’s hard to walk away from a book thinking it was a waste of time. If your exciting and slightly interested in the subject the book is portraying, then i think it would be rare to find too many books boring.
  • What, if anything has changed for you in regards to books?
    • I have gained a slight appreciation to the amount of work that is put into making the item sitting here in front of me.
Now think about this class.
  • How did I “fishbowl” this assignment?
    • Waiting until the last moment to work on it? I honestly forgot exactly what the phrase “fishbowl” meant…
  • What do you think the point is of this exercise?
    • To take a closer examination of a few of the objects we happen to come across on a daily basis?
  • What can you take from this exercise that might help you with future projects?
    • To attack whatever it is that i’m working on from all sides.


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