Customer Reviews: I Wonder
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on November 1, 2010
I Wonder
By Marian Bantjes

Marian has incrusted her pages with decoration, linear curves married to straight lines, step-and-repeat patterns that mystify, tiny, multi-colored, and intricate, a synthesis as organic as lyrics and musical notes. Each page is a cornucopia of texture, and snuggled within are her words. Fresh, lucid, sage, and romantic that echo the decoration. Many words are light-hearted, some deeply personal, a few are set in a personal font, coded and decorative, titled "Secret," that are perhaps infused with romance (decoration in itself is a romantic idea). The chapter on the Griffth Park Observatory in Hollywood is a gem in the essence of the word. A jewelry collection whose existence is strange--in an observatory? One to rival the exquisite output of Julius Arthur Rosenberg. The chapter is worth the price of the book. Marian is a dear friend and rarely have I encountered written words that so accurately replicate an author's spoken voice. The book is beautiful and ideosyncratic, at first glance the binding appears to be simple, textured foil. A closer inspection reveals Marian's genius of densely varied curves that miraculously step-and-repeat, a baroque and subtle reminder that Marian's genius and kind, introspective heart is to be visited time, and time again.
--Doyald Young
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on October 20, 2010
While reading Marian Bantjes book I laughed and cried. I was provoked to think with my heart. For some chapters I needed a tissue, others, a dictionary. And I love that Marian is brave enough to cuss on the printed page. The texture, design and content is delicious and thoroughly entertaining.

I was grateful for the opportunity to look into another world and to be stretched. (I mean who thinks to critique the alphabet?) What a joy! My eyes darted from text to design and back again on every page, afraid I would miss something, as if it might disappear if I didn't understand it all at once. Lucky for me I could slow down as each page waited patiently for me to catch up, and read again. I was able to soak up the entire story and design before I continued all the while, knowing I will read it again, because there is more here than a first read can grasp.

Read this book with a notebook by your side, it is perfect food for rich conversations. Every chapter is a complete story and as much as I wanted to read it all in one sitting, it is better to savour this masterpiece. Like a piece of good chocolate, too much all at once would be opulent, but not obscene, after all I Wonder, By Marian Bantjes is the "good stuff".
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on October 23, 2010
This book is like holding a miniature treasure chest in your hands. From its lustrous cloth cover, with gold and silver foil-stamping to the gilt-edged pages to the purple, satin bookmark to the carefully considered folios to the thoughtful prose to the intimate disclosures to the labyrinthine patterns that keep you entranced for a very long time - I Wonder inspires. If you want to witness awe from Shredded Wheat and granola, read a design analysis of the alphabet, meet people lost and found like Ronnie & Sheldy, experience the relationship between honour and pasta, learn about the galaxy through precious-stone encrusted jewelry, see a writer exquisitely express gratitude and so much more - buy I Wonder by Marian Bantjes. And enjoy every little detail.
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on October 20, 2010
I just got this in the mail today and have just started skimming it. Well, I've read "Memory 2" which might be the last chapter... it is collected notes of her mothers. I have found it to be interesting. So far I think of this book as a "Free to be You and Me" of design books. It is kind of a personal journal with interesting observations. The graphics are eye catching. I don't know really what I was expecting this book to be, but it met my expectations as far as graphic stimuli.

If you are the kind of person who sometimes starts journals of your life, enjoys thinking about the simple but wonderful moments of mundane life, or are inspired by illustrious graphics, this book may be for you.

If you are looking for a tale of fantasy and wild imagination, this might not be the book for you.

But I am happy with this purchase and will enjoy reading her thoughts as much as I will enjoy letting my eye wander across the shapes and colors of the pages.
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on July 17, 2015
A fan of Marian Bantjes, but this book didn't do her work justice. The cover is beautiful, yes, but the contents need work. It's just not worth getting for many reasons. It's a very small sample of her body of work, and badly written. Honestly disappointed, was hoping it would be a better representation of Bantje's talent.
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on May 18, 2011
This is an incredible book. Not only is it visually stimulating, but it's thought provoking to anyone who struggles with the practical and economic needs of any project vs its visual potential. The idea of written words and the visual space around them is the central theme of the book. I understand why some people think these are just artistic ramblings, but once you get past the feeling of being lost in someone else's thoughts, it becomes apparent that these "ramblings" are examples of how the visual space around the words demonstrates what is being written. The section on the Stars is a lot more scientific explainations of stars than I ever wanted, but the photos of jewelry that was inspired by the stars described in the text creates a symbiotic relationship showing how the visual space around the writing truly enhances the subject matter. The section full of quotes debates what should and should not be decorated and to what extent. Rigthfully so, no conclusion is reached but shows the wide range of opposing opinions, each with its own validity. Overall, a beautiful book to awaken the senses and deepen our perception of what we are visually fed.
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on February 2, 2011
This book was purchased as a gift for a fellow graphic designer. I couldn't resist looking through it before wrapping it. WOW! Every page was a revelation of sorts. Although I immediately identified with her musings on typography and her beautiful and sometimes quite amusing adornments, I was really touched by some other sections. One of them was the pages of scribbled notes that her mom had written through the years, and then into dementia. Who wouldn't be fascinated by such personal and poignant momentos of a loved one? This book is a's the kind of roadmap of a psyche that I wish I could do for myself. Instead, I'll purchase my own copy, as well as a few for the truly special people in my life. Thank you, Marian for sharing this with us!
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on November 13, 2010
I think this is a very inspiring book for graphic designers who feel there's more than neatly wrapping the message for the audience. Very interesting illustrations though not all of them appeal to me. Beautiful cover!
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on November 26, 2010
Marian Batjes, "I Wonder", is beautifully crafted, The book itself is a piece of Art.
208 pages of different work, different styles and materials, different approaches and different levels of complexity for an exquisite reproduced manuscript. This kind of work makes me proud of my love and devotion for books, and it reassures me why books have a place in the digital era.
Marian Batjes, "I Wonder" is a must for those who think to have decent art/design library.

Marian is one of the very few contemporary scribes left in this world.
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on November 30, 2012
From the reviews I read, I thought I was in for a real treat, but what I got was a letdown. This book doesn't seem to me to have much to say, either in its words or in its illustrations. Then again, maybe my scope is limited. Or I just wasn't in a good mood that day. Either way, not my cup of tea.
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