Saturday, September 5, 2015

Get Lost!

It’s time to get lost in a good book.  September 6 is “National Read a Book Day”.  I seem to enjoy celebrating these contrived national days and this one is hard to pass up.  It’s slightly different from the recent “National Book Lover’s Day”, which is really more inclusive and easier since you’re not required to actually read the book on that day, just "love" it.   Which is great since we loved ourselves a Boukman’s daiquiri and attempted to open Bill Sheckel’s Book puzzle box (loved it!).  Now that it is “read a book day” it suggests there are plenty of other variations to come up with as well, and have enough for a “book lover’s” month!  Might I suggest, “favorite quote from a book" day, or “about the author" day, or “clever chapter names" day?  Or perhaps my favorite, “lost in a good book" day.  There’s already a fun novel with that name (see Jasper Fford) and I know the perfect puzzle box for it, too (surprise!).  

The Book (Zougan) by Akio Kamei
Akio Kamei of the Karakuri Creation Group (inspirer of many fine boxes and booze) made a series of special book puzzles with differing designs.  Some have geometric patterns with classic Yosegi marquetry wood inlay, some have cute stripes in alternating colors, and some have a beautiful “Zougan” style wooden inlay depicting lovely cranes.  Japanese woodworking is famous for its unique styles of wood inlay. Yosegi refers to a process of creating geometric designs out of thin wood sections arranged and glued together to form blocks, then shaved off in thin layers to be affixed over wooden crafts.  The Zougan style refers to the inlay process of creating pictures and shapes from solid pieces of naturally colored wood, and the technique is original to the Hakone mountain region of Japan.  The Zougan cranes on Kamei’s book puzzle were crafted by Haruo Uchiyama, a master craftsman of this style.

Beautiful wood inlay and page texture

Getting lost in Kamei’s book is really quite easy.  Once you discover the simple opening mechanism and reveal the internal compartment of the book, you might be tempted to stash something secretly in there.  Which is perfect, because it will have disappeared when you try to retrieve it again!  The book is a magic trick box puzzle box.  To complement this artfully mysterious monograph I have created the “Lost Word” cocktail.  The tipple is a tribute to the Last Word cocktail, a well known prohibition era potion which originated in 1920’s Detroit and was made famous by a vaudeville actor known for his monologues.  In the Last Word, maraschino liqueur is used to sweeten the drink.  I exchanged this for apricot liqueur, in homage to Kamei and Uchiyama who also collaborated on another puzzle box masterpiece called “Apricot”.  

The Lost Word Cocktail - it's the last word in book puzzle boxes

The “Lost Word” gives this classic cocktail a new modern spin and the result is highly enjoyable.  Try one and get lost in a good book – just don’t save the recipe in this book puzzle, you may never find it again!

The Lost Word Cocktail:
¾ oz gin
¾ oz green Chartreuse
¾ oz apricot liqueur
¾ oz fresh lime juice
Shake together over ice, strain and serve straight up with your favorite book

Get Lost in a Good Book!

For more information on Akio Kamei:

For more information on the Last Word cocktail:

1 comment:

  1. Having moved to a kindle and replaced all the books on my bookshelves with puzzles, I maybe ought to try and get something like this so that I have at least 1 "book" on display!

    After yesterday's gin festival I'm not sure I should have any more booze for a little while!