"Congratulations! it's a.... ?" Joy of Zentangle Book Review

This summer, I received a somewhat confused email from a customer/blog reader who asked me why they would buy my new book coming out in November, if they already owned all my other books? It sounded, to them, like a rehashing of my previous material.

My response, even more confused, was "Huh? What book?"

And so it was that I learned, that, yes indeed - I had a new book coming out in November. I kept agonizing over what to tell you all. And I kept arguing with my editor over... well, let's just leave it at "I argued a lot."

I hadn't been able to think of a good analogy - it's like being told you're pregnant, but not actually carrying a baby... not parthenogenesis, not adoption, not kidnapping, not... what? In my mind I have been thinking of this book as "FrankenJoy." Cut and splice and grab a brain from any jar not cracked or marked "Abby Normal" and WHOOPS - there it is!

It's Alive!

Since the book is actually shipping now... and since the publisher finally changed the cover to read something about Suzanne, Marie and I being "contributing" artists (rather than the actual "authors")... I realized that it no longer mattered how I might have felt about this child in the past, it was here now and it had my name, my (type)face, and tons of hereditary tangles. I need to get over it and welcome it into the family.

It feels strange to review my own book, but I think it may make me feel better. First a few things that make me go "Wha?"

I have fuzzy memories of creeping into a friend's parents' bedroom searching for who knows what. What we did accidentally discover was an... um... eye-opening book called "The Joy of Sex". I believe it was the 1970's edition.  Since then, it is impossible for me to finish the phrase 'The Joy of..." with any other word. Sorry if I just ruined it for you! Or perhaps, the opposite is true and I just made it more intriguing? :-)

The irony is that this book is the complete opposite - very white-bread and squeaky clean. The tangle pages each have a rapturous testimonial to how Zentangle has changed each person's life and why everyone should become a CZT. I also have to say that I don't agree with all of the introductory descriptions and explanations of "how" and "why" and "what". But that doesn't bother me as much anymore since it won't be assumed that I wrote it. And, honestly, I don't really read the big blocks of text in these kinds of books.

Any of you who have met me, read my books, or read my blog regularly know my writing style is a little loopy. I grew up in the Addams Family (I was Wednesday) surrounded by body parts in jars, spent my weekends in my mom's dissection laboratory... anyway, you all will be able to tell in an instant that this book was NOT written by me. OK?

Ok, I think I'm done critiquing (I tried to keep most of the whiney stuff in my head). YOU want to know WHY you might actually want to buy this book to add to your collection. I'll make a list:

• It's a nice looking book with lots of pages.
• It is THE perfect book for someone just getting started in Zentangle. Very clear and covers the philosophy and materials and all that.
• The tangles are taken from previous Design Originals books, but they are plentiful and each has it's own page.
• The extra space on each tangle page is not wasted - there are the testimonials, and even better, beautiful sample images (that don't actually relate to the tangle, but are still nice work). Many of the samples are new to you (not from the other books).
• There are samples of projects taken from the other books too - but they do NOT have the instructions. You'll need to get the individual books to learn those secrets.
• If you like to simplify - and you want a good sampling all organized in one place - this is a great book.

If you can, I say get all the books. Suzanne McNeill, Marie Browning, and I all have very different styles, advice, projects, experiences and humor. Our individual books convey all that. This book has cleaned us all up. It's "quirk-free".

I just ordered a whole bunch to take to the CZT retreat next week and I am very excited to welcome this new baby. I just don't know what to DO with it. Do I list it on my Etsy shop with it's siblings?

Amazon is selling it practically at wholesale already! Do I have a book launch party? That seems weird... Do I scan the horizon for townspeople with torches? Kidding. I hope. Perhaps I will just treat it like any other book that I have work in, but didn't write.

Speaking of which - I have a bunch of Zendalas in Suzanne McNeill's new book Zentangle 7: Inspiring Circles, Zendalas & Shapes

. I hope you enjoy those - I especially love the black spinning one. Hee Hee. And I also have a trading card in Beckah Krahula's One Zentangle A Day: A 6-Week Course in Creative Drawing for Relaxation, Inspiration, and Fun (One A Day)

. I am really looking forward to this book! Beckah is quite a character and I'm curious to see how she integrates her own style into the whole process.

I want to hear what you all are thinking!