“The Open Daybook,” Edited by David P. Earle; Mark Batty, 384 pages
Sometimes, a book's appeal is obvious: delicious recipes, cute animals, local history. Sometimes, a book full of interesting information sits quietly on the shelf, just waiting to be noticed by readers. This week's title happens to be one of those "quieter" books.
If the term "daybook" suggests a journal to you, I can affirm that the content within "The Open Daybook" acts like a journal, with each page representing one day of the year. What makes it different from other daily chronicles is that instead of finding meditations or "it happened on this day" entries, you'll discover 365 works of art created by 365 artists.
Each artist was given this challenge: On an assigned day, create a work of art in 24 hours. Except for the constraint of being creative in a specific 24-hour period (sometimes, the artists chose the date; sometimes, the date was assigned by the editor), the artists were given complete freedom.
In an age when the marking of time through emails, tweets, blogs -- in other words, the ubiquitous digital environment -- commands so much of our attention, David P. Earle, the man behind "The Open Daybook" project, wanted to record the passing of a year through art. With so many artistic styles involved in such a project, it would be easy to assume that the book is a completely random compilation. But Earle wanted each month to have a certain rhythm. As he explains so well in the book's foreword, "curating this book was a bit like making a mix tape."
Described as both a perpetual calendar and a work of art, it is little wonder that categorizing "The Open Daybook" is complicated. With 365 creative designs, it certainly qualifies as an art book. But the day-by-day approach makes it just as interesting as a type of timepiece. Whatever the appeal, I hope that you will check out this special book. Sometimes, the quietest books are the most intriguing.
Jan Johnston is the collection development coordinator for the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.