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The intriguing thing about author-illustrator Keri Smith‘s books is that they’re activity books for adults. In “Wreck This Journal“, Ms. Smith invites readers to smush leaves on the pages, fold and launder them, and otherwise do things we’re told not to do to books — plus use it as a journal. You don’t just read one of her books, you complete it.

When I pulled Laura Cochrane’s name out of the hat (and she I!) I sort of drew a blank because we don’t really know each other. Gar told me she likes papercrafts and rubber stamping, and my mind went immediately to Keri Smith’s work. Her latest book, Finish This Book, intrigues me, and this is what I’m giving to Laura.

The author, who is currently enjoying her maternity leave, very courteously emailed me a description:

It is part mystery, part journal, part activity book. It begins like this, while walking home from the library one rainy night, I found some scattered pages in a park. I attempted to put the pages in order and decipher the text which was badly blurred from having gotten wet. The resulting book appeared to have been some kind of manual for a secret order and gave some instructions on how to create your own secret order. While I did my best to research and transcribe the book I found, I am now putting it out there for others to decipher and complete. By working with this mysterious book, the reader in turn becomes the creator. I also offer some “secret intelligence training” to help the reader develop some important detective skills before they tackle the mystery.

“Finish This Book” invites the user into a secret world of their own making. The only question is “What will that world look like when you are done?” You have to complete it to find out. The book does not exist without you.

After the break are some sample page spreads.







John Baichtal

My interests include writing, electronics, RPGs, scifi, hackers & hackerspaces, 3D printing, building sets & toys. @johnbaichtal nerdage.net


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