The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

February 16, 2018
by Dan
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Book Covers of Note February 2018

I such good intentions to post more often this year. Ah well… Here are this month’s cover selections at least…


An American Marriage by Tayari Jones; design by Jaya Miceli (Algonquin Books / February 2018)


Building and Dwelling by Richard Sennett; design by Tom Etherington (Allen Lane / February 2018)


Eat the Apple by Matt Young; design by Edel Rodriguez (Bloomsbury USA / February 2018)


Feel Free by Zadie Smith; design by Gray318 (Hamish Hamilton / February 2018)


Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi; design by James Paul Jones (Oneworld / February 2018)

The cover of the US edition, published by Penguin last month, was designed by Jason Ramirez


The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert; design by Jim Tierney (Flatiron / January 2018)


The House of Impossible Beauties by Joseph Cassara; design by Sara Wood (Ecco / February 2018)

Sara wrote a great piece about designing this cover for Literary Hub


The Kings of Big Spring by Bryan Mealer; design by Keith Hayes (Flatiron / February 2018) 


The Line Becomes a River by Francisco Cantú; design by Grace Han (Riverhead / February 2018)


She Regrets Nothing by Andrea Dunlop; design by Rachel Willey (Washington Square Books / February 2018)


Sunburn by Laura Lippman; design by Elsie Lyons (William Morrow / February 2018)

I included the cover of Sunburn and Elsie Lyons’s cover for The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn (featured last month) in a recent presentation about the differences between US and UK cover design. UK editions of both books have a much more conventional genre covers. They signal very clearly to readers that they are thrillers.

The US covers on the other hand have a much more literary, sophisticated look. They both have a distinctive, individual appearance (although I suspect we may see covers copying the approach of The Woman in the Window very soon!) that suggest that these are not your average thrillers.

It is not that one approach is necessarily better than the other from a marketing perspective (although I can guess which designers might prefer!), but it is an interesting contrast.


Up Up, Down Down by Cheston Knapp; design Anna Laytham (Scribner / February 2018)


Woman No. 17 by Edan Lepucki; design by Michael Morris; illustration by Oliver Wilson (Crown / February 2018)

I will admit it was the photo-realistic painting that first drew my eye to this cover, but I also like that the blocky typography echoes the cover of the author’s previous novel California

January 16, 2018
by Dan
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Book Covers of Note January 2018

I was sure that 2018 would be different from 2017, and yet here we are… Happy New Year! 


The Age of Caesar by Plutarch; translation by Pamela Mensch; design by Catherine Casalino (W.W. Norton / January 2018)


The Book of Joan by Lidia Yuknavitch; design by Rafi Romaya; illustration by Florian Schommer (Canongate / January 2018)


Bloody January by Alan Parks; design by Chris Gale (Canongate / December 2017)

(I’m including this partly because I spend a lot of my professional life trying to explain the difference between the cover needs of Canada/US and the UK. This is a rare genre cover that — it seems to me at least — does a decent job for both sides of the Atlantic) 


Getting Off by Erica Garza; design by Zoe Norvell (Simon & Schuster / January 2018)


The Gist of Reading by Andrew Elfenbein; design by  Anne Jordan and Mitch Goldstein (Stanford University Press / January 2018)


Green by Sam Graham-Felsen; design by June Park (Random House / January 2018)


Heart Spring Mountain by Robin MacArthur; design by Sara Wood (Ecco / January 2018)


I Am Thunder by Muhammad Khan; design by Rachel Vale (Pan Macmillan / January 2018)


The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin; design and illustration by Sandra Chiu (G.P. Putnam’s Sons / January 2018)

This cover seems rather on trend to me. It is very nicely done all the same. 

(Something about the shape and colour of the leaves on black background also reminds me of the illustrations in Jon Klassen’s picture book This Is Not My Hat). 


The Job of the Wasp by Colin Winnette; design by Michael Salu (Soft Skull Press / January 2018)


The Ministry of Nostalgia by Owen Hatherley; design by Keith Dodds (Verso / January 2017)

OK. So I’m a year late on this cover. But I saw it recently on Twitter. The cover of the hardcover edition of The Ministry of Nostalgia designed by Andy Pressman was included in my January 2016 post and my annual round-up of notable covers that year.   

Interestingly, the new cover for The Ministry of Nostalgia reminds me of Matthew Young‘s refresh of Pelican Books.

Being Ecological by Timothy Morton (Pelican / January 2018) is a recent example: 


The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce; design by Kimberly Glyder (Random House / January 2018)


Neon in Daylight by Hermione Hoby; design by Strick&Williams; photography by Marc Yankus (Catapult / January 2018)


Nice Try, Jane Sinner by Lianne Oelke; art and lettering by Colin Mercer (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt / January 2018)


Peach by Emma Glass; design by David Mann (Bloomsbury / January 2018)

David’s cover was adapted for the US edition by Patti Ratchford:


A Very British Coup by Chris Mullin; design by Dan Mogford (Serpent’s Tail / 2018)


The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn; design by Elsie Lyons (William Morrow / January 2018)

January 2, 2018
by Dan
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The Rest of the Best 2017

Happy New Year! Let’s hope it’s better than the last one, eh? But before we finally bid adieu to 2017 and toss it onto the flaming garbage fire, here’s are some of the other lists that looked back at the year in book cover design…   

Spine Magazine were ahead of the pack — as they have been all year — with their eclectic list of 50 ‘Book Covers We Loved’.

Designer and New York Times Book Review art director Matt Dorfman chose his ‘Best Book Covers of 2017‘ for the Times. Matt’s lists always have a lot of personality, and this one is no exception. I think it’s probably the list I look forward to most, and I suspect it’s also the list that matters most to many American designers too. 

At Literary Hub, Emily Temple asked 20 of her favourite designers for their picks for best book covers of the year. While Matt Dorfman’s cover design for Hollow by Owen Egerton was the top pick, Oliver Munday was the most popular designer with seven covers on the list. 

CMYK, Vintage UK’s design blog, also posted a short but sweet list of their designers’ favourite covers of the year.

I contributed to two lists (aside from my own) this year. I gave Vulture my two cents for their list of the ’10 Best Book Covers of the Year’.

And Danny Arter enlisted me as part of a panel to round up the best book covers of 2017 for UK trade magazine The Bookseller. Danny also took a look back at some of the cover design trends of the year for the magazine. 

You can find my round-up of the year in covers here, and my YA list for 2017 here.  

December 27, 2017
by Dan
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The Ghost of Future Book Sales

Tom Gauld for The Guardian.

Tom’s latest collection of cartoons, Baking With Kafka, is in stores now. 

December 20, 2017
by Dan
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Notable YA Covers of 2017

So here it is, Merry Xmas, everybody’s having fun, my YA (and middle-grade) covers round-up for 2017. This is far from my area of expertise (I mostly work on the adult trade side of things), but until someone else steps up to do a annual post on YA covers with design credits and publisher details you’re stuck with me. Sorry.

All the picks are, of course, mine, but thank you to all the designers who have helped me over the year with covers, suggestions, and credits, and special thanks to Erin Fitzsimmons at HarperCollins and Sarah Creech at Simon & Schuster who helped me with this post in particular. Happy holidays! 


Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson; design by Erin Fitzsimmons (Katherine Tegen Books / January 2017)


The Art of Starving by Sam J. Miller; design by Jenna Stempel-Lobell; Illustration by Matt Blease (HarperTeen / July 2017)


Autoboyography by Christina Lauren; design Laurent Lint; illustration by Allison Colpoys (Simon & Schuster / September 2017)


Between Two Skies by Joanne O’Sullivan; design by Matt Roeser (Candlewick / April 2017)


Caraval by Stephanie Garber; design by Erin Fitzsimmons and Ray Shappell (Flatiron / January 2017)


The Circus by Olivia Levez; design by Nathan Burton (Oneworld / May 2017)

Nathan’s cover for The Island by Olivia Levez was on my list of Notable YA Book Covers last year:


Dear Martin by Nic Stone; design Angela Carlino (Crown / October 2017)


Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy; design by Helen Crawford-White; embroidery by Jane Crawford-White (Pushkin Press / July 2017)


Done Dirt Cheap by Sarah Nicole Lemon; design Alyssa Nassner; illustration Amanda Lanzone (Amulet Books / March 2017)


Dress Codes for Small Towns by Courtney Stevens; design Heather Daugherty; illustration by Jen Heuer (HarperTeen / August 2017)


The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera; cover art by Dana Svobodova (Simon & Schuster / February 2017)


Everybody Hurts by Joanna Nadin & Anthony McGowan; design by Leo Nickolls (Atom / August 2017)


Good and Gone by Megan Frazer Blakemore; design by Katie Klimowicz illustration Thomas Danthony  (HarperCollins / December 2017)


Goodnight Boy by Nikki Sheehan; design by Edward Bettison (Oneworld / July 2017)


The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas; design by Jenna Stempel-Lobell; illustration Debra Cartwright (Balzer + Bray / February 2017)


The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas; design by Maria Soler (Walker Books / April 2017)


Here We Are Now by Jasmine Warga; design by Jenna Stempel-Lobell; illustration by Monica Ramos (Balzer + Bray / November 2017)


I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez; design by Connie Gabbert (Knopf / October 2017)


Jaya and Rasa by Sonia Patel; illustration by Zeke Peña (Cinco Puntos Press / September 2017)


The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo; design by design Natalie C. Sousa & Ellen Duda (Imprint / September 2017)


Landscape with Invisible Hand by M. T. Anderson; design by Matt Roeser (Candlewick / September 2017)


Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds; design by Micheal McCartney (Atheneum Books / October 2017)


The Memory Book by Lara Avery; design by Sinem Erkas (Quercus / January 2017)


Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu; design by Elizabeth H. Clark (Roaring Brook Press / September 2017)


Norse Myths: Tales of Odin, Thor, and Loki by Kevin Crossley-Holland; illustrated by Jeffrey Alan Love; artwork by Jeffrey Alan Love (Candlewick / September 2017)

The UK edition has a different, bright yellow, cover by Jeffrey Alan Love:


The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed; design by Alex Robbins (Simon Pulse / October 2017)


Now I Rise by Kiersten White; design Jet Purdie (based on design by Margaret Hope); illustration Alessandro Taini 

The cover is based on Margaret Hope’s design for And I Darken with art by Taini, which was on my list last year: 


One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus; design by Melissa Four (Penguin / June 2017)


Optimists Die First by Susin Nielsen; design by Joan Wong (Wendy Lamb Books / February 2017)

 
Race to the Bottom of the Sea by Lindsay Eager; design by Matt Roeser (Candlewick / October 2017)


Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy; design by Aurora Parlagreco; illustration by Daniel Stolle (Balzer + Bray / May 2017)

The cover of Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy; also designed by Aurora Parlagreco and illustrated by Daniel Stolle was on my 2015 list.


Release by Patrick Ness; design by Erin Fitzsimmons; photograph by Andrew Yuzko (Harper Teen / September 2017)


Release by Patrick Ness; design by Ben Norland; illustration by Levente Szabo (Walker Books / May 2017)


Retribution Rails by Erin Bowman; cover art by Teagan White (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt / November 2017)

White’s cover for Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman was on my list in 2015:


A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge; design by Rachel Vale; illustration by Aitch (Macmillan / September 2017)


Solo by Kwame Alexander with Mary Rand Hess; design Micah Kandros (Blink / August 2017)


Spurt by Chris Miles; design by Lucy Ruth Cummins (Simon & Schuster / February 2017)


Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman; design by Sarah Creech (Simon Pulse / September 2017)


10 Things I Can See from Here by Carrie Mac; art by Steven Wilson (Knopf / February 2017)


There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins; design by Lindsey Andrews; artwork by Sean Freeman (Dutton / September 2017)


This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada; design by Regina Flath (Simon Pulse / November 2017)


A Tragic Kind of Wonderful by Eric Lindstrom; design by Maggie Edkins (Poppy Books / February 2017)


Turtles All the Way Down by John Green; design by Rodrigo Corral and Zak Tebbal; lettering by June Park (Dutton / October 2017)


An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard; design by Lizzy Bromley (Saga Press / September 2017)


The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli; design by Sarah Creech; illustration by Chris Bilheimer (Balzer + Bray / April 2017)

The cover for Becky Albertalli’s previous book, Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, also illustrated by Chris Bilheimer was on my 2015 list.


Vanilla by Billy Merrell; design by design by Nina Goffi (Scholastic / October 2017)


We Are Okay by Nina Lacour; design by Samira Iravani; illustration by Adams Carvalho (Dutton / February 2017)


What I Lost by Alexandra Ballard; design Elizabeth H. Clark (Farrar, Straus & Giroux / June 2017)


When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon; design by Regina Flath (Simon Pulse / May 2017)


Wildman by J.C. Geiger; design by Maria Elias; illustration by Jeff Östberg (Hyperion / June 2017)

December 8, 2017
by Dan
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Notable Book Covers of 2017

Since 2010, I’ve posted an annual survey of the year in book covers. The post has expanded and developed over the past 7 years, but essentially it is a collection of the covers published in the previous 12 months that I found interesting or noteworthy in some way. As with the previous couple of years, the 2017 list is organized by covers (alphabetical by title), and by designer so that I can show a greater variety of work, and no one designer or studio dominates. 

Thank you to everyone who has supported the blog this year, and special thanks to all the designers, art directors, authors, publishers, and fellow design enthusiasts who have helped me with covers and design credits. My sincere apologies to the designers and publishers not on this year’s list and whose covers I have overlooked in the past 12 months. 

A post looking back on the YA covers of 2017 is to follow.    


Adult Fantasy by Briohny Doyle design by Laura Thomas (Scribe / July 2017)



Age of Anger by Pankaj Mishra; design by Matthew Young (Allen Lane / February 2017)



The Age of Perpetual Light by Josh Weil; design by Nick Misani (Grove Press / September 2017)



All We Saw by Anne Michaels; design by Janet Hansen; photograph by Jouke Bos (Knopf / October 2017)

Also designed by Janet Hansen:



Always Happy Hour by Mary Miller; design by Elena Giavaldi; art by Lee Price (Liveright / January 2017)

Also designed by Elena Giavaldi:



The Angry Chef by Anthony Warner; design by Steven Leard (Oneworld / June 2017)



Black Moses by Alain Mabanckou; design by Gray318 (Serpent’s Tail / April 2017)

Also designed by Gray318:



The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa; design by Peter Mendelsund (New Directions / August 2017)

Also designed by Peter Mendelsund:



The Cutaway by Christina Kovac; design by Laywan Kwan (Atria / March 2017)

Also designed by Laywan Kwan:



Don’t Save Anything by Jame Salter; design by Zoe Norvell (Counterpoint / November 2017)



England Your England by George Orwell; design by David Pearson (Penguin Modern Classics / March 2017)

Also designed by David Pearson:



English Uprising by Paul Stocker; design by Jamie Keenan (Melville House / September 2017)

Also designed by Jamie Keenan:



The Experiment by Eric Lee; design by David A. Gee (Zed Books / September 2017)

Also designed by David Gee:



The Fall of Lisa Bellow by Susan Perabo; design by Alison Forner (Simon & Schuster / March 2017)



The Futures by Anna Pitoniak; design by Lauren Harms (Lee Boudreaux Books / January 2017)

Also designed by Lauren Harms:



Ghachar Ghochar by Vivek Shanbhag; design by Luke Bird (Faber & Faber / April 2017)

Also designed by Luke Bird:



The Good People by Hannah Kent; design by Rachel Vale (Picador / February 2017)



The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood; art direction by Christopher Moisan; illustration by Patrik Svensson (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt / April 2017)

This HMH cover was my favourite of the new editions of The Handmaid’s Tales, but Noma Bar’s cover for Vintage UK was also nice.



The Hearts of Men by Nickolas Butler; design by Allison Saltzman (Ecco / March 2017)

Also designed by Allison Saltzman: 



Heating & Cooling by Beth Ann Fennelly; design by Alex Merto; photograph by Gregory Reid (W.W. Norton / December 2017)

Also designed by Alex Merto:



Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado; design by Kimberly Glyder (Graywolf / October 2017)

Also designed by Kimberly Glyder:



Hollow by Owen Egerton; design by Matt Dorfman (Counterpoint / July 2017)

Also designed by Matt Dorfman:



How Will I Know You? by Jessic Treadway; design by Catherine Casalino; illustration by Henrietta Harris (Grand Central Publishing / August 2017)



I Am, I Am, I Am by Maggie O’Farrell; design by Yeti Lambregts (Tinder Press / August 2017)

Also designed by Yeti Lambregts:



The Idiot by Elif Batuman; design by Suzanne Dean; illustration by Aino-Maija Metsola(Jonathan Cape / June 2017)

Also designed by Suzanne Dean:



The Idiot by Elif Batuman; design by Oliver Munday (Penguin / March 2017)

Also designed by Oliver Munday:



Insomniac Dreams: Experiments with Time by Vladimir Nabokov compiled and edited by Gennady Barabtarlo; design by Chris Ferrante (Princeton University Press / December 2017)

Also designed by Chris Ferrante:



Jerusalem Ablaze by Orlando Ortega-Medina; design by La Boca (Cloud Lodge Books / January 2017)

Also designed by La Boca: 



Jerzy by Jerome Charyn; design by Alban Fischer (Bellevue Literary Press / March 2017)



Little Deaths by Emma Flint; design by Justine Anweiler (Picador / January 2017)

Also designed by Justine Anweiler:



Lotus by Lijia Zhang; design by Adly Elewa (Henry Holt / January 2017)



Manly Health and Training by Walt Whitman; design by Richard Ljoenes (Regan Arts / February 2017)



Midlife: A Philosophical Guide by Kieran Setiya; design by Amanda Weiss (Princeton University Press / October 2017)



Narcissism for Beginners by Martine McDonagh; design by Tree Abraham (Unbound / March 2017)



Nicotine by Gregor Hens; design by John Gall (Other Press / January 2017)



One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter by Scaachi Koul; design by C.S. Richardson (Doubleday Canada / March 2017)

Scott was also responsible for my favourite of the (many) Ninety Eighty-Four redesigns this season. 



The Parcel by Anosh Irani; design by Allison Colpoys (Scribe / September 2017)

Also designed by Allison Colpoys:



Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood; design by Rachel Willey (Riverhead / May 2017)

Also designed by Rachel Willey:



A Separation by Katie Kitamura; design by Jaya Miceli (Riverhead / February 2017)

Also designed by Jaya Miceli:



Sex & Rage by Eve Babitz; design by Kelly Winton (Counterpoint / July 2017)


Strange Heart Beating by Eli Goldstone; design by Jo Walker (Granta / May 2017)

Also designed by Jo Walker:



Swimmer Among the Stars by Kanishk Tharoor; design by Tyler Comrie (Farrar, Straus and Giroux / March 2017)

Also designed by Tyler Comrie:



The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See; design by Lauren Peters-Collaer (Scribner / March 2017)

Also designed by Lauren Peters-Collaer:



Vengeance is Mine, All Others Pay Cash by Eka Kurniawan; design by Erik Carter (New Directions / August 2017)

Also designed by Erik Carter:



Virgin and Other Stories by April Ayers Lawson; design by James Paul Jones (Granta / January 2017)

Also designed by James Paul Jones: 



We All Love the Beautiful Girls by Joanne Proulx; design by Jennifer Griffiths (Viking / August 2017)

Also designed by Jennifer Griffiths:



Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge; design by Greg Heinimann (Bloomsbury / June 2017)

Also designed by Greg Heinimann:



Why Poetry by Matthew Zapruder; design by Sara Wood (Ecco / August 2017)

Also designed by Sara Wood:



Would Everybody Please Stop? by Jenny Allen; design by Na Kim (Sarah Crichton Books / June 2017)

Also designed by Na Kim:



The World Goes On by László Krasznahorkai; design by Paul Sahre(New Directions / November 2017)

The cover of Sahre’s “graphic memoir” Two Dimensional Man is also great. 



Writing Not Writing by Tom Fisher; design by  Anne Jordan and Mitch Goldstein (University of Iowa Press / July 2017)(University of Iowa Press / July 2017)

Also designed by Anne Jordan and Mitch Goldstein:



The Zoo of the New edited by Nick Laird & Don Paterson; design by Richard Green (Particular Books / March 2017)

November 14, 2017
by Dan
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Book Covers of Note, November 2017

It’s my last monthly cover round-up of the year! Watch out for my review of 2017 next month… 


After Me Comes the Flood by Sarah Perry; design by Pete Dyer (Serpents Tail / November 2017)


Basket of Deplorables by Tom Rachman; design by Josh Durham, Design by Committee (Text / September 2017)


Bonfire by Krysten Ritter; design by Will Staehle (Crown Archetype / November 2017)


Don’t Save Anything by Jame Salter; design by Zoe Norvell (Counterpoint / November 2017)


Dunbar by Edward St Aubyn; design by Julia Connolly; illustration Peter Strain (Hogarth / October 2017)


The Giving Light by Gavin Corbett; design by Niall McCormack (Cló Hi Tone / November 2017)

Niall also designs the excellent covers for Gorse journal. The latest issue, Gorse #9, is out this month:


Go, Went, Gone by Jenny Erpenbeck; design by Rodrigo Corral (New Directions / September 2017)


Gravel Heart by Abdulrazak Gurnah; design by Greg Heinimann (Bloomsbury / May 2017)

How Will I Know You? by Jessic Treadway; design by Catherine Casalino; illustration by Henrietta Harris (Grand Central Publishing / August 2017)

The cover of How Will I Know You? reminded me of Lynn Buckley’s 2016 cover design for Sex Object by Jessica Valenti…  

And I’m starting to think that faceless women might be a thing… 


Over the Plain Houses by Julia Franks; design Meg Reid; illustration by Jody Edwards (Hub City Press / September 2017)


The Parcel by Anosh Irani; design by Allison Colpoys (Scribe / September 2017)



The Poems of Dylan Thomas; design by Jamie Keenan (New Directions / November 2017)


Release by Patrick Ness; design by Erin Fitzsimmons; photograph by Andrew Yuzko (Harper Teen / September 2017)


Sing Unburied Sing by Jesmyn Ward; design by David Mann (Bloomsbury / November 2017)


They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us by Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib; design Two Dollar Radio (Two Dollar Radio / November 2017)


Time of Gratitude by Gennady Aygi; design by Eileen Baumgartner (New Directions / December 2017)


Toi Aussi Mon Fils by Jonathan Pedneault; design by David Drummond (Les Éditions XYZ / November 2017)


The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein; design by W. H. Chong (Text / October 2017)


Ultraluminous by Katherine Faw; design by Rodrigo Corral; lettering June Park (FSG / December 2017)


Where the Past Begins by Amy Tan; design by Allison Saltzman (Ecco / October 2017)


The World Goes On by László Krasznahorkai; design by Paul Sahre (New Directions / November 2017)

Speaking of Paul Sahre, his “graphic memoir” Two Dimensional Man was publishing by Abrams in September:

AND… speaking of László Krasznahorkai (as I know you all were), the cover of the UK edition of The World Goes On was designed by Harry Haysom:

It’s part of a series of abstract covers by Haysom for the Profile Books editions of Krasznahorkai:

November 8, 2017
by Dan
0 comments

Memoir, Chapter 1

Oh, Batman.

(Zachary Kanin for The New Yorker)

October 20, 2017
by Dan
1 Comment

Book Covers of Note, October 2017

I have steadily fallen further and further behind with my cover posts this year. There is some cracking work in this month’s round-up. But I can’t help feeling that there are some covers missing. Somehow it almost November, and I have run out of time. If I don’t post this now, I will never catch up! 


All We Saw by Anne Michaels; design by Janet Hansen; photograph by Jouke Bos (Knopf / October 2017)


Bloodprint by Ausma Zehanat Khan; design by Micaela Alcaino (Harpercollins / October 2017)


Crossings by Jon Kerstetter; design by Matt Dorfman (Random House / September 2017)


The Dead Husband Project by Sarah Meehan Sirk; design by Jennifer Griffiths (Anchor Canada / August 2017)


George & Lizzie by Nancy Pearl; design by Gray318 (Simon & Schuster / September 2017)

(Someone on Twitter recently asked about current book cover design trends. If I had to pick one out for 2017, it would be crossed-out words)


He Doesn’t Hurt People Anymore by Dane Swan; design by 13Jupiters (Dumagrad Books / October 2017)


Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado; design by Kimberly Glyder (Graywolf / October 2017)


I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez; design by Connie Gabbert (Knopf / October 2017)


Ma’am Darling by Craig Brown; design by Anna Morrison (Fourth Estate / September 2017)


My Ariel by Sina Queyras; design by Ingrid Paulson (Coach House Books / September 2017)


The Naturalist by Andrew Mayne; design by M.S. Corley (Thomas & Mercer / October 2017)


The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed; design by Alex Robbins (Simon Pulse / October 2017)


Russia: A Short History by Abraham Ascher; design by Kishan Rajani (Oneworld / October 2017)


A Selfie As Big As the Ritz by Lara Williams; design by Janet Hansen; art by Nathan Manire (Flat Iron Books / October 2017)

Such great image selection from Janet on both these covers… and I love the restraint of the type. Beautiful stuff. 


Spectatorship edited by Roxanne Samer and William Whittington; design by  Anne Jordan and Mitch Goldstein (University of Texas Press / October 2017)


Stephen Florida by Gabe Habash; design by Micaela Alcaino (Borough Press / September 2017)

The cover of the US edition of Stephen Floridadesigned by Karl Engebretson with an illustration by George Boorujy, was included in my June round-up.


This Accident of Being Lost by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson; by design Alysia Shewchuk; photograph of ‘Mixed Blessing’ by Rebecca Belmore by Toni Hafkenshied (House of Anansi /  April 2017)


The Whole Beautiful World by Melissa Kuipers; design by Tree Abraham (Brindle & Glass / October 2017)

October 5, 2017
by Dan
0 comments

Blade Runner 2049

I am very skeptical about the necessity of making a sequel to Blade Runner, but I liked Denis Villeneuve’s previous movie Arrival a lot, and Peter Bradshaw’s review of Blade Runner 2049 for The Guardian has piqued my curiosity…

The sheer electric strangeness of everything that happens is what registers. Every time K finishes a mission, he is taken to an interrogation module to be … what? Debriefed? Decompressed? Deconstructed? He is subjected to a fierce kind of call-and-response dialogue in which he has to respond to key words… It is utterly bizarre, and yet entirely compelling, and persuasively normal in this alienated universe… The production design by Dennis Gasner and cinematography by Roger Deakins are both delectable, and the largely electronic musical score by Benjamin Wallfisch and Hans Zimmer provides a kind of aural neon: gaunt, harsh, angular, like the noise of machinery. It’s an incredible lucid dream. Weirdly, I had forgotten about one of the little-discussed pleasures of the big screen: the simple effect of dialogue, echoing in a movie theatre. This film’s scale is extraordinary. It places the acid tab of cinema-pleasure on your tongue.

September 29, 2017
by Dan
0 comments

It Is a Truth Universally Acknowledged…

Tom’s new book, Baking with Kafka, is now available in the UK from Canongate Books, and in the US and Canada from D+Q next month.

September 21, 2017
by Dan
0 comments

No Offense!

Argentinian cartoonist Liniers celebrating Steven King’s birthday today:

(I think it roughly translates as “I’m reading a scary book. ‘It’ by Stephen King… It’s about a clown monster with pointed teeth that appears to a chil… No offense!”)

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