An excellent article at LitHub by Bradford Morrow, author of the just-published Prague Sonata, among other books. Really interesting look at a writer’s process and why he prefers physical note-taking to digital methods. Big thanks to reader Raymond for sending me the tip!
“My memory is good, but capricious at times. My scraps of paper get misplaced or wind up in the laundry. I don’t want to figure out dictation software. And my thumbs are hopeless, which is only part of the reason I hate texting. In an era of smart phones, palm-sized digital cameras, and featherweight laptops—also known as “notebooks”—the very idea of lugging around a heavy, folio-sized, hardcover Boorum & Pease record-ruled 9-300-R ledger or oversized black spiral-bound artist sketchbook, would seem at once masochistic and medieval. Yet, these behemoths, straight out of some Dickensian accountant’s office or landscape architect’s atelier, have served as my notebooks of choice for well over 20 years.”
Read more (and see lots more notebook images) at: Why Digital Note-Taking Will Never Replace the Physical Journal | Literary Hub
I’d love to see this in person– this art installation is a glowing flat circle that turns out to be made of thousands of recycled notebooks!
“Commissioned by Azkuna Zentroa, Luzinterruptus crafted Denboran Zehar for the 10th anniversary of Gutun Zuria (Bilbao Internacional Literature Festival) in April 2017. In light of the anniversary, the designers wanted to pay homage to the themes of creation and time.”
Read more at: Glowing circle made from thousands of recycled notebooks celebrate Bilbao’s book festival | Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building
This looks like a lovely book, full of travel sketches and notes on flora and fauna found in uncharted places: Explorers’ Sketchbooks.
“This remarkable book showcases 70 such sketchbooks, kept by intrepid men and women as they journeyed perilous and unknown environments—frozen wastelands, high mountains, barren deserts, and dense rainforests—with their senses wide open.”
Available at Amazon.
More notebooks from chefs!
“Fine-art photographer Jeff Scott won the 2012 James Beard Foundation Award in the Photography category for Notes From a Kitchen: A Journey Inside Culinary Obsession….
The book doesn’t contain any recipes, but instead aims to reveal the creative process for some of the top, young chefs in America. Shot documentary-style, Scott’s photos show the chefs at work and away from the kitchen as well as their personal notebooks where menus are planned and recipes created.”
Read more at: Jeff Scott Wins James Beard Award for Photography | PDNPulse
The books are available at Amazon.
This is an extraordinary story. But I hope it doesn’t happen to me someday!
The 148 diaries below were found in a dumpster. Many years later, a biographer named Alexander Masters tries to decipher the writer’s identity from their contents… to say any more would be a spoiler. It’s a must read!
Read more at: Diary of a somebody: could I solve the mystery of 148 lost notebooks? | Books | The Guardian
The full story will be available in book form in the US later this year: A Life Discarded: 148 Diaries Found in the Trash
I love these photos, from a blog post by Jackie Morris where she’s collected a wide variety of images of writers’ notebooks:
David Almond‘s notebook for Counting Stars:
Robert MacFarlane’s notebooks:
See lots more at Writer’s notebooks in pictures.
I love this image of the author/illustrator Lauren Redniss with some of the notebooks, sketchbooks and scrapbooks she used in the making of her book Thunder & Lightning: Weather Past, Present, Future.
“Ms. Redniss, who teaches at Parsons School of Design, walked a reporter through her bookmaking process, picking up materials laid out on an ornately carved table. She began by binding a blank book of approximately the same dimensions as the eventual published project, then pasting in bits of text and drawings taken from sketchbooks or made from photographs, playing with different arrangements.
She also drew from a personal archive of images clipped from newspapers and magazines and pasted into notebooks that she has kept for years.”
I wish I could flip through some of those sketchbooks, but I guess I’ll have to settle for the book:
Read more at: For the Author Lauren Redniss, No Such Thing as Bad Weather – The New York Times
I was so excited several months ago when I heard there would be a big exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum all about Jean-Michel Basquiat’s notebooks. I’d seen some of the images of the notebooks and pages and thought it sounded really cool, but then I read that the notebooks had been carefully disassembled so the individual pages could be displayed in the exhibition. Although the curators supposedly did this very carefully and claimed that the notebooks could be stitched back together into their original form, I kind of lost interest in going to the exhibition. The idea of all those lonely pages made me sad.
BUT! My interest was recently rekindled when I discovered that I could experience Basquiat’s notebooks in a something closer to their original form through this book:
This is not the official exhibition catalog, but it’s a sort of compilation facsimile of Basquiat’s notebooks. The format is just like an actual composition book, with some of the most interesting pages from his various notebooks reproduced inside. It’s published by Princeton Architectural Press.
From the publisher’s website:
||Brooklyn-born Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-88) was one of the most important artists of the 1980s. A key figure in the New York art scene, he inventively explored the interplay between words and images throughout his career, first as a member of SAMO, a graffiti group active on the Lower East Side in the late 1970s, and then as a painter acclaimed for his unmistakable Neoexpressionist style. From 1980 to 1987, he filled numerous working notebooks with drawings and handwritten texts. This facsimile edition reproduces the pages of eight of these fascinating and rarely seen notebooks for the first time.The notebooks are filled with images and words that recur in Basquiat’s paintings and other works. Iconic drawings and pictograms of crowns, teepees, and hatch-marked hearts share space with handwritten texts, including notes, observations, and poems that often touch on culture, race, class, and life in New York. Like his other work, the notebooks vividly demonstrate Basquiat’s deep interests in comic, street, and pop art, hip-hop, politics, and the ephemera of urban life. They also provide an intimate look at the working process of one of the most creative forces in contemporary American art.Review:
“This carefully reproduced facsimile edition of renowned visual artist Basquiat’s eight notebooks provides us a glimpse into the mind of a visionary artist. On nearly every page, readers will ponder over why and how Basquiat chose to string together these specific word marks and often bizarre phrases. The notebooks function as a sort of incubator for Basquiat’s artistic process as well as a finished product in their own right . . . a vital part of Basquiat’s legacy and an invaluable window into his ingenious and whimsical mind.”—Publishers Weekly
I absolutely love my Lynda Barry facsimile composition book and I’m sure I’ll love this Basquiat one when I get my hands on it too!
I just subscribed to a newsletter from French style icon Ines de la Fressange, in which she recommends various finds– mostly clothing, beauty products and housewares, etc., but I was also happy to spot this plug for a French bookshop that apparently has a great selection of notebooks! It’ll be on my list of place to visit next time I’m in Paris!
Without even realizing it, I am a fierce collector of notebooks. I don’t always need them but I can not resist. A good definition of neurosis? If like me you are addicted to books and notebooks, there’s no lack of them at L’Ecume des pages. It is open Monday to Saturday from 10am to midnight and Sunday from 11 am to 22 hours. Go there also to find the latest nugget from an author you can’t find elsewhere, they have everything!
174, bd Saint Germain
Tél: 01 45 48 54 48
Catching up on some old links I’ve saved, here’s a nice wrap-up of some books featuring the pages of artists’, designers’, and scientists’ notebooks, including the one below from Field Notes on Science & Nature:
“A typical notebook page detailing the thoughts and events of a day doing fieldwork at Olorgesailie, Kenya, with a personal note near the end of the page about the joy of being alone with rocks.” — Anna K. Behrensmeyer, Paleontologist, in the essay “Linking Researchers Across Generations”
See more at From Design to Street Art, 5 Looks Inside Great Creators Notebooks – Maria Popova – Life – The Atlantic.