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Saturday, January 16, 2021

Redefining the word “book”

The word “book” may seem stale or boring to some, but to Sandra Kroupa, books are everything but that. In fact, the books she accumulated over the 47 years as a book arts and rare book collector are nothing like traditional books.

The books she brought in to display at Wilson Library’s Special Collections room all stood apart from each other. Many of the books didn’t appear to be books at all, but rather appeared to be more aesthetically artistic, yet stayed compelling in the writings.

Kroupa said in her presentation on Tuesday, April 7, that the artists’ books can do a myriad of things, from changing your mood to making you feel certain ways.

Each book in Kroupa’s collection is a unique masterpiece artistically created by many authors and artists around the world. Kroupa said she seeks to acquire books that will fit in her collection rather than adding books that she found to be good.

A few of the different types of books Kroupa showed included books written on individual matches in a matchbook, books that looked like accordions, books that could be played like a board game, political playing-card books, Holocaust-feeling books and even books that looked like like various objects, like a box of white crayons.

Conner Celli, sophomore, said he expected a presentation on old books from the 1600’s, but what he saw wasn’t even close.

“I was surprised by how unique these books were and how interactive they were,” Celli said. “There’s more to a book than I assumed and there’s more than one way to create a book. It’s not just paper and a cover, it’s put it on a match and pull off a match and create a book.”

Grace Sutherland, sophomore, said she was prepared to not care about Kroupa’s collection, but actually found it interesting.

“In this day and age, with everything being digitized, there’s something about a physical book that can’t be replicated with a digital version,” Sutherland said. “I think especially with these books, there’s really no other way to do it except for just seeing [the book] in person, in its physical form.”

Sutherland said she was also surprised to see the unique collection and even recommends checking out the books.

“I didn’t even know these art books were a thing before this class, so I think [the collection] is really important because it’s a whole other way to think about books,” Sutherland said.

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