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Sunday, March 26, 2006

A Changed Man: Hardcover vs. Paperback

When A Changed Man came out last year, I posted the jacket for the hardcover (on the right, above). I and the majority of readers who commented weren't so fond of it. I think "way too Photoshoppy" was my eloquent comment. ;-)

A brief description of the book will show you why the tattoo idea is being used:

Vincent Nolan, a disenchanted member of the neo-Nazi American Rights Movement, walks into the New York office of the World Brotherhood Watch, a human rights organization, and declares, "I want to help you guys save guys like me from becoming guys like me."
I like the new one a bunch. Does anyone *not* prefer this to the hardcover? If so, I would love to hear why.

Our Town

Marion, Indiana: birthplace of James Dean and Jim Davis (creator of Garfield), and "location for the last organized lynching in the American north."

The author, according to the reviewer, makes the following argument:

Carr asserts "that there can never be a real dialogue in this country between white people and black people until those of who us who are white begin to tell our terrible stories." And most white people "come from something," she writes: "slaveowners, Klansmen, dissemblers, dehumanizers, averters of eyes."

It's a great review (in the Village Voice) and I love the cover. It's restrained (this could have been done in a much more sensational way) and the rope is just ominous enough. Do we need a noose? I don't think so.

The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil: UK version

Reader Chris from the UK sent this in: it's the cover for the UK version of Saunder's great book. Here's the US version.

Thanks, Chris!

Some Fun: Stories and a Novella

OK. I'm not a big fan of short fiction, so I don't know who Antonya Nelson is. Apparently, though, she's quite good, as she's won a bunch of awards. How do I know this? BECAUSE MENTION OF THEM IS PLASTERED ALL OVER HER NEW BOOK.

I did a little checking (but not much, because life is short): Guggenheim Fellowship? Check. REA Award? Yep.

And this collection isn't by Antonya Nelson. It's by "Winner Antonya Nelson."

Someone please leave a comment and tell me this is a joke. Or that I'm missing some Po-Mo meta blah-blah-blah. Please tell me this.

Body Brokers

The title and subtitle of this book are pretty clear; is the bracelet overkill? (Seriously, I can't make up my mind.) And I guess there's a market for hands with gangrene? Yuk.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Game of Shadows

Like the conversation we had about the photo used on the cover of American Ally, this photo makes me think about the process of photo selection and, of course, book cover design.

That's admitted-steroid-user Jason Giambi next to Bonds. Guilt by association?

I find this cover interesting because it could have gone several ways. I sort of expected a photo of Bonds glaring into the camera -- something not flattering, as in this photo of Hillary Clinton used on The Truth About Hilary. I more than half-expected at least one syringe somewhere. And a cartoonishly huge Barry Bonds wouldn't have come as a shocker.

In the end, though, this looks like a sports book -- like a biography of Lance Armstrong or Michael Jordan or whomever. And I think there's virtue in the restraint of the design.

The Weight of Numbers

Gorgeous. I would love to see this with warmer colors -- yellow, or orange -- instead of the green. But that's just me, and I'm probably wrong. Via the book section at

Apex Hides the Hurt: A Novel

"The protagonist of Colson Whitehead's briskly existentialist third novel is a nomenclature consultant...The book's title comes from a bandage manufactured to color coordinate with pigments other than Caucasian." (

I put this cover in the friggin' brilliant category.

The Mercury Visions of Louis Daguerre

I'm not a big fan of the old-timey cover, and this one doesn't change my mind. Does anyone else think this is just too cramped? Too much space given to the frame and matting is one of the bigger issues, I think.

Are You Happy?

One doesn't need to read the review to answer the question: "Um, no, not so much."

Sunday, March 12, 2006

A Fine Place to Daydream

Now this is nice. Wonderfully simple, and a great example of when to close Photoshop and open up Illustrator.

Never Let Me Go

The hardcover of Never Let Me Go really nailed it -- those who have read the book will hopefully agree -- and it looks like the paperback did a pretty good job as well (on the right):

Nice Big American Baby

Oh. Oh no. Tell me they didn't redesign Nice Big American Baby when they released the paperback. Please don't tell me that.

The hardcover:

What Jesus Meant

Yeah, I don't know either, but apparently he didn't mean for book covers to be very interesting.

The Trend Continues...

and I'm ready for something new.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

American Green: The Obsessive Quest for the Perfect Lawn

A book about the quest for the perfect lawn would result, for me at least, in a perfect yawn. With brilliant insights like "golf courses are 'the most intensively managed lawns in America,'" I think I'll take a pass.

Re. the cover, I don't know why the text is so heavily concentrated on the bottom of the shirt. Would you have tried to spread it out more? I would have...

My Father Is a Book

I'm not a type snob. Really, I'm not. But the "Y" in "My" is just awful and highly distracting.

Anyone know what typeface that is?

Fallen: US vs. UK

I like both of these designs for Fallen, "a spirited retelling of the creation yarn and the conflict between Cain and Abel."

Ultimately, though, it's the second -- the UK paperback design -- that does it for me.

Things in the Night

Oooh, spooky. And oooh, I like.

The Boy Who Fell Out of the Sky

A memoir written by the brother of a man who died in the PanAm 103 bombing.

I like this cover. I wonder, however, if playing with the size of the lettering could have provided a little depth and motion.

Rip It Up and Start Again

Is it possible to publish a book about punk w/o a deliberate tip-o-the-hat to Jamie Reid? Probably not. Oh well...there are other things worse than "Sex Pistols-pink."


"Allegra Goodman's novel is set in the world of high-stakes research."

Absolute Convictions

A memoir about growing up as the son of an OB/GYN who performed abortions in Buffalo, NY and who was the target of the lovely folks of Operation Rescue. I'm not a fan of the soft, watercolor-ish aesthetic that memoirs usually have; this one shows some restraint and is elegantly simple.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Slap Happy

Am I a wrestling fan? Not in the least. But damn, this is a rock-n-roll cover if ever I saw one. (No, seriously: it looks exactly like a band bio, doesn't it?)

Octavia Butler :-(

Octavia Butler died at the age of 58. Sad.

Wikipedia has a nice bio.