Friday, June 4, 2010

This is Not a Book

"This object does not exist without you," reads the back of Keri Smith's This is Not a Book. "You will determine the content and the final product. All will be shaped by your imagination. You must go out into the world in order to bring it to life and complete the assignments."

It's a 221-page workbook to help readers engage their creativity, stretch the limits of their imagination, and play.

The book is written entirely in Smith's own hand and is illustrated with her drawings and photos. Each artfully composed spread contains an exercise which enjoins the reader to transform the book into something else: an action sculpture, an imaginary place, a celebration, or a random adventure. Each exercise challenges our preconceived notions and forces us to see the object and concept of a book from a different perspective.

The sheer number of exercises in This is Not a Book is a testament to the author's own creativity. As I read through exercise after exercise, I wondered how Smith did not simply run out of new ways in which to look at the object and concept of a book. And therein is the book's genius: showing how external limitations push us to new levels of creative endurance and inventiveness.

In This is Not a Book, Smith challenges us to go further and dig deeper, but above all to keep alive the spirit of creative play. It's a wonderful source of creative inspiration.

Available on Amazon here.

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