Joe has been helping me prepare for a book project down the road by collecting old, tattered books with interesting titles and old-style covers. I'm not quit sure how this project will evolve, but I'm taking as inspiration Joseph Cornell's Manual of Marvels, recently published by Thames & Hudson in as accurate a copy as possible.
Here is Joseph Cornell's book, outside and inside:
What is instructive to me is that Cornell created his own art book of collaged pages from a found book written in French, which he did not speak. He seemed to like the elegance of the column design, the black and white illustrations intermixed with the text, the beauty of the typeface. So, his interest was the use of the book as a visual jumping off point, not in terms of written content as a connection. He used the columns of text as background elements and added found imagery and line work to the illustrations to create his own small tableaus.