Book Covers

Funhouse
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Funhouse
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Joined: December 5th, 2006, 10:24 am

May 23rd, 2007, 11:49 am #1

There's a fascinating article here by former Penguin designer David Pelham who was responsible for a lot of their brilliant covers from the late sixties through the seventies:
http://www.creativereview.co.uk/crblog/ ... id-pelham/

Interesting comments about the cover for Barth's Lost in the Funhouse in particular. And a good story about his last minute overnight design for A Clockwork Orange which went on to become an icon. I have that edition and absolutely adore it.

I'm interested in the different editions that publishers put out for foreign markets. See my blog entry for On Chesil Beach for a comparison of the British, Canadian and American editions:
http://web.mac.com/b1b2/iWeb/blah/blog/blog.html

Anyone care to nominate some favourite cover designs? I'll suggest first up a novel that is totally designed: Gould's Book of Fish by Richard Flanagan. It has different colour ink for the text of each chapter, fantastic marbled endpapers and William Buelow Gould's actual fish images on the cover and before each chapter. I had a chat with Flanagan about the design and he insisted on total control over it and amazingly enough he got a mainstream publisher (Picador) to agree to that and to actually print it as he wanted it. Not only that, but it's a brilliant novel by one of Australia's finest authors. This is the cover:

?He wishes he had never entered the funhouse. But he has. Then he wishes he were dead. But he's not. Therefore he will construct funhouses for others and be their secret operator--though he would rather be among the lovers for whom funhouses are designed.?
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Pointsman
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May 23rd, 2007, 12:22 pm #2

The cover of Joesph Campbell's 'The Hero With A Thousand Faces' is one I always admired.

The interesting thing about book covers these days is the difference between european and american versions.

Not meaning to offend anyone on this forum, but american book covers are some of the ugliest I've ever seen. The Gabler edition of Ulysses anyone?:



Ugh....
Look Out Itchy - He's Irish!
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Docpacey
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Docpacey
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Joined: February 6th, 2007, 12:17 am

May 23rd, 2007, 3:08 pm #3



'Maps of the Imagination: the Writer as Cartographer' by Peter Turchi

The cover is not so exceptional, but the entire book is gorgeous. great paper, beautiful historical maps, graphs and illustrations. It's a book to be read in bits and pieces, like eating a box of chocolates.


The other end of the spectrum, as far as covers are concerned, would be any post-film-adaptation cover, whereupon the actors' images are placed. I avoid these like a plague.

If you can?t annoy somebody, there is little point in writing.
Kingsley Amis
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WilliamTwellman
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Joined: November 20th, 2006, 7:34 pm

May 23rd, 2007, 3:41 pm #4

Has anyone seen the recent run of Penguin books with covers done by famous comics artists? The Chris Ware Candide is exceptional. Frank Miller's one for Gravity's Rainbow was a little underwhelming. In general I like a really nice graphic design featuring a piece of art or a photograph that compliments the mood of the piece. I've always loved the photgraphic covers on the Vintage Black Lizard crime books for example.
These fragments I have shored against my ruins
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Mudfrost
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Mudfrost
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Joined: January 10th, 2007, 6:22 pm

May 23rd, 2007, 6:41 pm #5

WilliamTwellman wrote:Has anyone seen the recent run of Penguin books with covers done by famous comics artists? 
I've seen them and like some quite a lot.

Here's Paul Auster's (a trilogy I like very much):



Also like Dorothy Parker's:

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kline19
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May 23rd, 2007, 6:55 pm #6

I think "yiddish policemen's union"'s cover is pretty exciting.

The love hoarded all your life ... for the work, and his lips still moved silently over that last word - TR
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ions
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ions
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Joined: December 3rd, 2006, 3:11 pm

May 23rd, 2007, 9:54 pm #7

Again William and I are of opposing views. I rather like Miller's shot at Gravity's Rainbow. One of my favourites in fact.



The new release of Foucault's Pendulum is quite nice. Looks good sitting beside The Island of the Day Before and the The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loanna which are also swell.



The hardcover of Mason & Dixon is neat with the lucite slip on top of the dust jacket. In agreement with Mudfrost about The New York Trilogy and with kline19 about the new Chabon. The Chabon's dust jacket appears to be plastic, maybe made from recycled plastic. Interesting texture to it for sure.

Decent job on this Middlesex cover.



The Penguin Modern/Modern Classics look okay but it's a shame that they're always of such poor quality. The paper stock is coarse newspaper, spines crease from a gentle breeze and they yellow quickly as if from kidney failure. Fortunately the Penguin Classis Deluxe editions are well done, the Miller Gravity's Rainbow, East of Eden and Pevear and Volokhonsky's Anna Karenina for example.

The Vintage printings of Dostoevsky's work is very nice. Usually I enjoy Randomhouse's Everyman Hardcovers even though some of the earlier runs don't even have dust jackets. Immaculately made with acid free paper. The seams are always dead straight and they are just about perfect.

I almost forgot sweet Dolly's lips!



If you enjoy covers this is a fun site: http://www.covers.fwis.com/ which coincidentally is discussing the Miller Gravity's Rainbow. I submitted it weeks ago and they ignored me. Oh well at least it's up now.
Currently reading: "A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Periodically reading: Collected Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges and the Collected Works of Nietzsche
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ions
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ions
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Joined: December 3rd, 2006, 3:11 pm

May 23rd, 2007, 9:56 pm #8

Oh! Oh! This one too!

Currently reading: "A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Periodically reading: Collected Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges and the Collected Works of Nietzsche
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suzannahhh
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suzannahhh
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May 23rd, 2007, 10:01 pm #9

ions___

it's a beaut all right!
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brandon1025
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brandon1025
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Joined: March 15th, 2007, 3:59 pm

May 23rd, 2007, 11:44 pm #10

i don't like that penguin has changed their "classics" format lately... i liked the pale green spine more than the new black with orange stripe format they've gone to.

I really dug all the black and white covers on those older versions: Vineland, On The Road, etc.

I guess I'm a sucker for good black and white photography.

"The library, and step on it."
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