Monday, August 1, 2011

On judging books by their covers.

Good Monday morning! I hope everyone had beautiful weekends with as much reading as I did. I didn't plan on continuing the book-themed design posts, but I had to post on some gorgeous book covers before moving on.

One of the six books I'm currently reading is Ann Patchett's State of Wonder. While I can't say I'm sold on the content yet (I'm 100 pages in and still don't have any emotional investment in any of the characters), the book itself is beautifully produced.


The author name and title are in lovely foils, and the intricate border on the peachy-cream paper is just vintage enough. So while I don't believe in the characters' relationships yet, I do at least love how the book looks on my bedside table.

Also on my nightstand is Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff. One of my best friends gave it to me for my birthday (thanks, Kate!), and it is another design win.


The picture doesn't do this one justice. The face in shadow may be a total cliche, but it's still a beautiful image, especially as it eschews the traditional Liz Taylor-as-Cleopatra look. The paper of the book has a deckle edge, too, which when done by a skilled printing press adds so much to a simple hardcover book. (deckle edge is when the pages are roughly cut at their edges to create texture and an uneven trim) Not everyone is a fan, but I like it on the right book. Now that I think about it Patchett's book may be trimmed (or, rather, untrimmed) the same way.

Example:



I've been working on Cleopatra for a few months now, as it's slow going and has yet to really grab me, but that's given me time to wade through the glory that is Mark Helprin's Winter's Tale.


The black and white cover is perfect for the content. The book is basically a love letter written to New York City, with the most poetic language and interlocking stories. As the content is so intricate, the simple cover is refreshing. I can't praise this book enough; it's absolutely dazzling. If you're a logophile like me: buy it. 

A very graphic-artisty cover I've fallen for is on this cover of Kafka's Complete Stories.


I'm also a HUGE Kafka fan, which helps, but isn't that amazing? I want it as a poster for my wall. Although going to bed every night thinking of "In the Penal Colony" probably isn't the healthiest idea I've ever had.

These next guys are posters for children's stories as seen from a minimalistic perspective, and they are so. effing. cool. Thanks to my coworker, Matt, for introducing me.



Right?? I know. See them all here

And now I'm off to continue helping make books at work! Nothing like some gorgeous literary designs to spark the senses and force my brain into action :)


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