Saturday, July 16, 2011

Book review - Real life journals - Gwen Diehn

Title: Real life journals : designing and using handmade books
Author: Gwen Diehn
Info: 180 p. (+ 2 extra booklets). - 2010
Finished: 13 June 2011
Acquired through:
Rating: 8.5 / 10

Wow! Wow! And wow again! This book has me stunned over the amount of information and inspiration it gives. I merely expected a book about how to bind books and that would have been more than enough for me, but Gwen Diehn takes it a lot further to prove again just how thorough a person she is. (Okay, I don't know her personally, but based on her books I would say she is a pretty thorough person).

Not only does she give all sorts of binding techniques. She has deviced a questionnaire that helps you choose the kind of binding that will suit your purpose, she has even added an extra booklet for that. She also added a second booklet that serves as a quick reference for the different binding techniques, so you don't have to drag the entire (quite heavy) book around. She also provides examples of custom made books and shares how the people who used them liked them (this goes pretty deep sometimes). She spends time explaining what are pro's and cons of the binding techniques. She gives ideas, suggestions and examples on how to fill your journal. She even adds a short history of journal keeping. She gives examples of current journalers and why they journal. And then there's a nice gallery of other people's journals at the end.

I found this book to be surprisingly complete, maybe even overcomplete, but I mean that in a good way. If you don't want to know all the ins and outs about making your own journal and extra info on journaling itself, but just want some simple instructions, this book may be a little too much for you to handle, but for the rest of you: get it, now! ;-)

Want to see how Gwen's journals look? Here's her real life journals blog.


  1. Thanks Caatje for the great book review! I'm off to Amazon to see more.

  2. Hi Caatje! I just wanted to say I completely agree. I've been revisiting my copy of it this past month and discovering that all this time I've been searching for the perfect handbinding book when it has been sitting on my shelf. I truly think it was because I wasn't ready for it til now. Glad to read you value it too. xoxo


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