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Monday, November 30, 2009

Favorite Book Covers of 2009, Part One: WORD, Brooklyn, NY

As announced a few weeks ago, I've asked three independent bookstores to contribute to this year's Favorite Covers of 2009 coverage. Here are the selections from the staff of WORD in Brooklyn, NY. Three more lists (including my selections) are on the way.

The only guideline I asked the good folks at WORD to follow was to limit their selections to books published this year, so I was glad to see them include some YA and children's books -- I don't get around to discussing either genre very often.

I couldn't chase down all the design credits, so if you know something I don't, please set me on the right track so that I can give proper credit for this fantastic work. And of course correct me if I've gotten something wrong.

There's a poll at the bottom of the post: vote for your favorite. The top three vote-getting designs from this list will eventually join the other favorites from the upcoming lists in a final poll.

Lastly: each title is linked to WORD's online store. Something tickling your fancy? Support indie bookstores and buy from them.

WORD's favorite covers of the year, in no particular order, are:

Wuthering Heights, design by Ruben Toledo: "This is our favorite of the three covers Toledo did for Penguin Classics Deluxe Editions."


The Sickness Unto Death, design by David Pearson: "This is really a shout-out to the entire line-up of the newest installment of the Penguin Great Ideas series, though this is probably our favorite cover of the bunch. These are some of the most irresistible book covers I have ever seen. They're all embossed. Almost everyone who looks at them touches them and then moans ecstatically."


There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor's Baby, design by Christopher Brand: "This made our top 10 last month, probably solely on the strength of the cover."


The Stories of Vladimir Nabokov, design by Barbara de Wilde: "We love the new Nabokov covers, and this is our favorite of the bunch."


Seven Nights, design by Rodrigo Corral: "Love this so much that I continually re-display it just to look at it."


Pure, design by Cara Petrus: "a teen novel about purity rings and the girls who wear them (and a girl who breaks her pledge). "


The Book of Fathers: design by John Gall, collage by Nicole Natri: "The men and the arms on the cover are raised. It's possible we just like this because it looks like the art of a former employee. Didn't love it at first, but it has really grown on us since it came in, to the point that now we love it."



Che's Afterlife: The Legacy of an Image
; design by Mark Abrams, cover image by Jim Fitzpatrick, original photo by Alberto Korda: "There could be no better cover for a book about history's most reproduced image."


The Children's Book, design by Stephen Parker, "adapted by Gabrielle Wilson" (per the jacket): "A beautiful cover that only gets more beautiful after you've read the book."


(I snapped this to show some of the detail; there's a much better photo here):


The City Out My Window: "The only die-cut we will ever like in this store (we hate die cuts because they inevitably rip on the floor, no matter what you do with them, and then nobody wants to buy them). But this one is thick cardboard, and obviously a perfect choice of a book of window pictures."


The End of Food, design by Mark Robinson: "Love when the paperback is way better than the hardcover."


The Lion and the Mouse, designer by Saho Fuji: "Not sure if this one counts, but we love it."


The Most Beautiful Book in the World, design by Emanuele Ragnisco: "Even though it feels kind of busy on this cover, the image is just so great."


Never Smile At A Monkey: And 17 Other Important Things to Remember, design by Scott Magoon, illustration by Steve Jenkins: "Even though it kinda scares me."



23 comments:

Robin said...

These are all gorgeous. Of course I am partial to "The Children's Book" because the dragonfly is a corsage ornament (titled "Femme-libellule") by one of my favorite artists, René Lalique. But the Nabokov covers are also unspeakably wonderful. I think it's high time I read more of him than just Lolita!

Sébastien Hayez said...

The cover of "The Most Beautiful Book in the World" is taken from the french movie filmed by the author of the 8 novellas, Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt.
So for me the design work is not so great, it's a cut and paste from the movie poster. See here

Eugenia said...

Pure looks very beautiful!

E said...

Assuming that people here are choosing using criteria other than "I like it".

What are the criteria?
If only design related criteria why only books in English?

Joseph said...

E: I did not provide anyone with a list of criteria. These were chosen by bookstore employees, so I'm guessing there are many criteria: appropriateness of the cover w/ respect to the book itself (these folks certainly read more than I do); customer reaction; and yes, they like them.

Cintia de Sá said...

I prefer the "Che's Afterlife" because in my opinion, a cover that does't need a title is a big one!

Night Garden Design said...

It pleases me that the designer of the Nabokov cover knew that Nabokov was a lepidopterist. It's an elegant wink to a brilliant author (who wrote in various genres and various languages, as hinted at by the various font styles). Nice work, Barbara!

Joseph said...

More Nabokov: http://observatory.designobserver.com/entry.html?entry=11597

shelly said...

Cara Petrus is an amazing designer!!

Tom Nissley said...

Never Smile at a Monkey was designed by Scott Magoon (with an illustration by author Steve Jenkins).

KN said...

thanks so much for spending so much time and effort to bring us these kind of entries every year. enjoy these covers so much and wishing / dying / crying for more!

Dan K said...

The Children's Book is so lovely and perfect. And The End of Food is brilliantly simple and well executed. Those are the real standouts, to my mind.

Brian - Kafkacotton said...

"Never Smile at a Monkey" for sure. It's near impossible to make such a hilarious title funnier but that devious little monkey does it. He does it good.

Kristin said...

I love Pure's simplicity and the clever use and positioning of the cherry. Such a great cover - this designer has pure talent.

Renee said...

Why wouldn't the cover of The Lion and The Mouse not count? Hopefully, not because it's a picture book. It's stunning!

Holly Bacuzzi said...

PURE! What a stunningly simply and beautiful cover which very cleverly alludes to the story itself. BRAVO!

Dave said...

Pure's cover is clean, quite stunning, and very much to the point. (In addition, the spine features five chastity rings -- the book's subject matter.)

Anonymous said...

That hand model on Pure really earned her pay. I want to see what her face looks like.

Grayson said...

cara petrus is 5 kinds of awesome.

dvestv said...

Nice covers. For me, I wanna choose all but only one could be voted. I chose Wuthering Heights.

Tampa Bay Fail said...

I like the jacket illustration by Matteo Pericoli on "Let the Great World Spin." It looks like a great old Boni and Liveright cover.

Anonymous said...

I was under the impression that the medical reference THIS WILL KILL YOU had won one of these awards. It should have been included here.

Anonymous said...

Designer for The Lion and The Mouse is Saho Fuji.