Category Archives: By Its Cover

The Imaginary Library of Charles Dickens

It’s corny but true: Book people are always fussing with their shelves. Forget about the cliché of art books artfully arranged on the coffee table; forget about shoving that copy of Vogue underneath the London Review of Books when company’s coming. The tendency to be voyeuristic with one’s own home library and rearrange it now […]

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NYRB, Lit Up

I’ve long maintained that my love of New York Review Books extended only as far as the realm of print—that aside from the wise choices in backlist matter it’s their graphic presence, their savory cover stock and tasteful graphics, their perfectly portable size, their handfeel—that makes an NYRB Classic such a harmonious physical object. I […]

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The Best Template in Town: The Penguin English Library

Those masters of genteel cover design, Penguin Books, have come up with a rather lovely solution to those pesky old backlist titles. They’ve been repurposed as the Penguin English Library, a collection of what will eventually be 100 classics designed by the infallibly classy Coralie Bickford-Smith and issued in a lovely set of trade paperbacks. […]

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Are Bare Trees in Snow the New Legs?

I know every armchair book design critic remembers when it seemed like every other trade novel had a pair of legs as its main cover element. I want to say it was just a few years ago, but a quick search pulls up this Chicago Tribune article on the subject from 2003. And that makes […]

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Caturday

Does anyone talk about “Caturday” any more? It was such a good phone-it-in blog meme there for a while—nobody really cared if it was your cat, the neighbor’s cat, Maru, or a pile of teeny little kittens off of Cute Overload. Caturday was all right. I vote for bringing back Caturday, at least this once, […]

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11/11/11

11/11/11—It’s a minimalist kind of date. Maybe not so much as the first of this year was, or even the first of this month, but still. Today doesn’t take much in the way of fine motor skills. So in honor of minimalism, here’s a great series of minimalist fairy tale posters by Chicago artist Christian […]

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Dull Roar

Because Fridays in August really shouldn’t be that complicated, I give you Bookride’s The Joy of Dullness, a collection of books that are not just dull, but weirdly dull. Or as the Bookride blokes put it, “The collection is devoted to dullness mixed with the curious and the odd which includes the oddly dull and […]

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Transparencies

Chip Kidd has been getting a lot of positive buzz on his cover for Haruki Murakami’s IQ84, coming out here from Knopf in October. He talked a bit about his design concept on the Knopf Doubleday site: [L]ogistically the title is a book designer’s dream, because its unique four characters so easily adapt it to […]

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Pat the Penguin

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The designers at Penguin are evil geniuses. They’ve hit on a sure-fire way to seduce several generations of adult readers weaned on Pat the Bunny with consistently irresistible covers. We may not get actual fur, or Daddy’s Scratchy Face, anytime soon, but the distillation of design […]

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Good Taste: Penguin’s Great Food Series

Those people at Penguin Books have the right idea: The way to our bookshelves is through our stomachs. Their new paperback series, out in April, is Great Food, 20 examples of “the finest food writing from the last 400 years.” The usual suspects are represented—M.F.K. Fisher, Elizabeth David, Calvin Trillin—but also Alexandre Dumas, Samuel Pepys […]

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