The Subtle Genius of Elena Ferrante’s Bad Book Covers by Emily Harnett [The Atlantic] With their sandy beaches and windswept women, the U.S. editions of Elena Ferrante’s novels look familiar even if you’ve never seen them. That’s because they look like virtually every other book authored by a woman these days—not to mention like bridal magazines, beach-resort brochures, and even “Viagra ads.” On Twitter and beyond, readers have described Ferrante’s covers as “horrible,” “atrocious,” “utterly hideous,” and as a “disservice” to her novels. At Slate, one commenter approvingly mentions a local bookstore’s decision to display one of Ferrante’s books in plain brown paper, reviving a practice used for Playboy and the infamous issue of Vanity Fair with a pregnant Demi Moore on the cover. The implication, of course, isn’t that Ferrante’s covers are obscene in the traditional sense—just obscenely bad. Previously.
"If there is an assassination planned for the meal, then it is seemliest that the assassin should be seated next to he who is to become the subject of his craft" - Leonardo da Vinci: head of the kitchen, designer of horse-pulled nut-crushers, inventor of napkins, and assassination etiquette expert.
This month Penguin launches a redesigned series of six classic titles, called Penguin Ink. But the ‘ink’ is not printers ink, but that of a more visceral kind.
"I am someone who has never taken an art class in my life...I didn't think I had an artistic bone in my body and never thought of myself as creative." Neat book art made with folds and an exacto knife from Isaac Salazar, who, according to his Flickr bio, is an accountant in New Mexico. [Via boingboing and Core77] [more inside]
You can't judge a book by its cover. But people do. if the 41st version of the cover of The Madonnas of Echo Park is this awful...how bad were the first 40?
The Obama presidential campaign was an innovation in American politics and American design. For the first time, a candidate used art and design to bring together the American people—capturing their voices in a visual way. The Design Director of the Obama campaign, Scott Thomas, has collaborated with artists and designers to create Designing Obama, a chronicle of the art from the historic campaign. Funded via Kickstarter, they have created a book and an iPad app. You can download the book in PDF format for free.
It's like a concert tour but with sketchbooks. Get a sketchbook, fill it based on a theme (you can pick one or have one assigned randomly) by a certain date, then let it go on tour and eventually be a barcoded, checkout-able book in the Brooklyn Art Library that you can track. I love this idea.
As Dieter Zimmer’s online exhibit "Covering Lolita" shows, it started with a plain green jacket. [Note: Some links include images which may be NSFW.] [more inside]
David Byrne has just published a new book about bicycles called Bicycle Diaries. A long time rider, Byrne muses on how the world looks and works from the vantage point of a cyclist. It's getting pretty good reviews. To launch the book, Byrne is touring the US and arranging public forums. Each event features a civic leader, an urban theorist, a bicycle advocate, and Byrne himself speaking about bikes in cities. Here’s a schedule of the upcoming events. He’s also designed some bike racks for his hometown of New York City. [more inside]
The Best Romance Novel Covers of the year - click on the winner of each category to see the Top Ten and explanations. Also the site doesn't avoid the snark with a worst cover category [The winner is Big Spankable Asses [maybe NSFW]].
book (design) stories: modernist book design in germany and switzerland 1925–1965 (and beyond)
Multinational food and pharmaceutical company Podrovka is cooking its books -- literally. Its latest annual report includes a section that must be baked in the oven before it can be read.
101 Things I Hate About Your House Advice on how to choose safe cleaning products for the home, create chocolate dessert recipes and book reviews. No, it's not Martha Stewart, but rather, helpful tips from interior designer James Swan.