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  • Jeff Somers 6:00 pm on 2018/07/16 Permalink
    Tags: , brave new world, , , , looking sharp, ,   

    The 10 Best Book Covers of All Time 

    We’d open this post with the obligatory joke about judging books by their covers—but we all do judge books by their covers. For better or worse, it’s our first impression of the author’s work—and a great cover will make us pick up a book as fast as a poor one will make us put it aside.

    That pressure to stand out inspires a lot of creativity among publishers, and every year, some truly amazing covers are designed. Yet only a few truly penetrate into pop culture to become iconic—perpetually recognizable, often imitated. Here are 10 of the best book covers of all time.

    Beowulf, translated by Seamus Heaney

    Whether you’re interested in a thousand-year old poem written in Old English or Seamus Heaney’s crisp, brilliant translation of what may be the oldest poem in something considered English, chances are you at least stopped to pick up this book when you saw the cover. The intensity of the image conveys horror, violence, and strangeness effortlessly, with the end result being that somewhat more people are familiar with this strange epic poem than before this cover hit the shelves.

    The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
    May this cover never to retired. Created by Spanish artist Francis Cugat for the book’s initial printing, it pretty much is the book now, visually-speaking. Its success stems from its haunting, haunted nature, its surrealism, and the way it captures the mood of the book: the sad, weary eyes floating insubstantially over what could be an overheated, decadent party.

    The Godfather, by Mario Puzo
    Simple and stark, this cover, created by S. Neil Fujita, conveys the rotten power Puzo examines, even as it intrigues the potential reader. It could just as easily be the cover to a horror novel—which isn’t actually that far off the mark, if you think about it. There aren’t too many book covers that create what’s essentially a brand logo, but that’s just what this one did.

    A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
    Not so much the cover of the edition featured here, which is quite nice, but this one, designed by David Pelham in 1972 to coincide with the film release. Supposedly banged out in a single evening, its use of bright, primary colors was startling at the time, hinting at the hallucinogenic nightmare within, and the use of a cog for an eye punned on the title, referenced the iconic film, and conveyed the sense of society being broken all at once. It’s brilliant on a level no other cover has quite been able to surpass.

    The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas
    Brilliant covers don’t have to be old; the cover to Thomas’ recent breakout novel, designed by artist Debra Cartwright, uses negative space in a bold, powerful way. Lead character Starr is depicted faithfully based on her description from the book—simultaneously fierce and terrified —and yet she is obscured by her message, which is somehow perfect. Like the subject matter of the story, this cover demands you look.

    Look Who’s Back, by Timur Vermes
    Speaking of negative space, is there a more brilliant use of it in publishing history? We submit that there is not.

    A Million Little Pieces, by James Frey
    We’re not here to rehabilitate Frey or his memoir-that-was-really-fiction. We’re here to praise the cover, and designer Rodrigo Corral. Whatever your opinion of the dark tale of addiction and the poor decisions behind it, the cover conveys chaos, confusion, helplessness—all the things that Frey either did or didn’t deal with in the course of his life. Its use of color is brilliant, and the wrongness of a hand covered in rainbow sprinkles clues you in to the nature of the story.

    The Stranger, by Albert Camus
    If your head spins a little when looking at Helen Yentus’ cover for Camus’ most famous book, you’re in the right headspace to start reading this disturbing, challenging story. The stark lines converging on the diffuse, cloud-like title creates a head-ache inducing optical illusion. Once you see it, you’ll never forget it; once you read the book, you’ll forever associate it nwith this powerful cover.

    The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
    Nothing against Elizabeth Moss, but the classic cover from the 1985 American paperback, which is still used for many versions of Margaret Atwood’s dark future vision, is the definition of iconic. The overwhelming wall, the apparently hopeless and random motion of the handmaids, and their iconic red costumes—these elements combine into one of the most evocative book covers ever.

    Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
    Brave New World has had a lot of covers in its time. A lot. But this one, designed by Gregg Kulick for the modern classics series, is stunning. Similar in some ways to the Camus cover above, it combines the absurd and frightening tone of the story with a simple, bold approach that draws the eye and holds it tortuously. You try to figure out what you’re looking at, even as the sneaking suspicion that you don’t want to know creeps up on you.

    What’s your pick for the best cover ever?

    The post The 10 Best Book Covers of All Time appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Molly Schoemann-McCann 5:00 pm on 2014/07/24 Permalink
    Tags: aldous huxley, , , brave new world, , , , , , winds of winter   

    If Book Nerds Ran the World 

    Book Nerds

    Who runs the world? Book nerds! Well, okay, that’s not necessarily true. But shouldn’t it be? How much would book fans love to wake up one day and find ourselves in a world where everyone around us has the same burning devotion to reading that we do? Priorities would shift, rules would bend, laws would change. I’m telling you, it would be a brave new world, except not in a creepy dystopian way. Just trust me here. Here are a few ways the world would operate if book nerds ruled supreme:

    1. Huge, long-awaited book release dates would be national holidays so that everyone could stay home and read. (Winds of Winter Day, anyone?)

    2. Public transportation would have extra reminders at every stop to ensure commuters who are lost in a book don’t end up missing their stops.

    3. We would have sturdy, lightweight, waterproof books we could read in the tub. Come on, researchers! Forget flying cars for just a few minutes and bang this one out before the weekend! I know you can do it.

    4. Instead of having to sit through twenty minutes of movie trailers when you see a movie in theaters, they’d be mixed in with…wait for it…book trailers!

    5. Four words: Twenty-four hour bookstores. Because sometimes it’s 2 a.m. and you need a copy of Top Secret Twenty-One in your hands this very instant. I’m pretty sure we’ve all been there.

    6. “I can’t come to school/work today because I HAVE to finish my book” would be a totally valid (occasional) excuse at schools/workplaces across the country.

    7. You could be fined for saying something like, “Are you reading again?” and “Why read a book when you can see the movie?” Except that no fines would actually be levied, because no one would feel like saying things like that anymore.

    8. Moving companies would offer book bulk discount rates, because we all know moving is harder on book lovers. Especially when stairs are involved.

    9. People who dine out alone with a book would be stealthily high-fived, rather than scorned.

    10. When a book or series is being brought to the silver screen, we’d all get to vote on casting, because getting that right is important.

    11. Additionally, books being made into movies or TV shows would be required to rigorously adhere to important plot/character arcs or start over from scratch.

    12. Everyone would get the entire month of November off to do NaNoWriMo.

    13. Rather than being blasé or defiant about it, people would say, “I don’t like to read,” in the same hushed, apologetic way you might say, “When I was a kid I kicked a kitten once,” and it would merit the same kind of reaction.

    14. Authors would give readings at packed stadiums, just like rock stars. No more crowding! No standing in the back! Everyone gets a seat! Way better sound systems!

    What would a world ruled by book nerds look like?

     
  • BN Editors 4:30 pm on 2014/06/25 Permalink
    Tags: , , a lesson before dying, , a thousand splended suns, animal dreams, , , brave new world, , , , , harry potter and the deathly hallows, , , , , , , , , , one hundred years of solitude, , , , , sandman slim, , still life with woodpecker, , , the fellowship of the ring, , the glass menagerie, the mysteries of pittsburgh, , the things they carried, the watsons go to birmingham 1963, ,   

    43 Great Quotes From Literature We Forgot to Mention 

    TKAMLast week we collected 10 of our favorite lines in literature, but it appears we have forgotten some. Embarrassing! To those of you who weighed in on your own favorites in the comments: thank you. They were fun to read. And here they are!

    “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” —The Princess Bride (Sharon F.)

    “It is a truth universally that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” —Pride and Prejudice (Shelley H.)

    “Have a biscuit, Potter.” —Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Megan B.)

    “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” —A Tale of Two Cities (Mary Ellen R.)

    “My dear, I don’t give a damn.” —Gone With the Wind (Michelle C.)

    “Most men and women will grow up to love their servitude and will never dream of revolution.” —Brave New World (Amber D.)

    “By the time we arrived, as evening was approaching, I felt as sore as a rock must feel when the waterfall has pounded on it all day long.” —Memoirs of a Geisha (Sunny H.)

    “Neighbours bring food with death and flowers with sickness and little things in between. Boo was our neighbour. He gave us two soap dolls, a broken watch and chain, a pair of good luck pennies, and our lives.” —To Kill a Mockingbird (Shirisha T.)

    “The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.” —The Gunslinger (Rob B.)

    “Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit em, but remember that it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” —To Kill a Mockingbird (Kristy E.)

    “And so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” —The Great Gatsby (Caitlyn S.)

    “I think of my life as a kind of music, not always good music but still having form and melody.”—East of Eden (Jessica H.)

    “Stay gold, Ponyboy, stay gold.” —The Outsiders (Laura M.)

    “And in that moment, like a swift intake of breath, the rain came.” —Other Voices, Other Rooms (Madalaine B.)

    “Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents!” —Little Women (Peggy C.)

    “When the day shall come that we do part,” he said softly, and turned to look at me, “if my last words are not ‘I love you’—you’ll ken it was because I didn’t have time.” —The Fiery Cross (Sharon T.)

    “Hey, boo.” —To Kill a Mockingbird (Theresa M.)

    “I believe there are monsters born in the world to human parents.” –East of Eden (JA R.)

    “I meant what I said and I said what I meant. An elephant’s faithful one-hundred percent!” —Horton Hatches the Egg (Carlie B.)

    “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” —The Fellowship of the Ring (Mel F.)

    “Tomorrow I’ll think of some way to get him back. After all, tomorrow is another day.” —Gone with the Wind (Carla M.)

    “If this typewriter can’t do it, then f@#$ it, it can’t be done. —Still Life with Woodpecker (Dan E.)

    “Sometimes you have to keep on steppin’.”—The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963 (Mary D.)

    “There are few people whom I really love and still fewer of whom I think well.” —Pride and Prejudice (Pauline S.)

    “Stories are for eternity, when memory is erased, when there is nothing to remember except the story.” The Things They Carried (Kristy C.)

    “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” –Anna Karenina (JA R.)

    “Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.” —Slaughterhouse-Five (Heather R.)

    “Marley was dead as a doornail.” —A Christmas Carol (Colleen D.)

    “Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aurelio Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon that his father took him to discover ice.” —One Hundred Years of Solitude (Janice S.)

    “What fresh hell is this?” —Jane Eyre (Katie D.)

    “Heart like shale. What you need is a good fracking.” —MaddAddam (Anna L.)

    “Always.” —Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Aimee U.)

    “Everything’s profound when there’s guns and zombies.” —Sandman Slim (Caroline R.)

    “To the person in the bell jar, blank and stopped as a dead baby, the world itself is the bad dream.” —The Bell Jar (Veronica F.)

    “For one last time, Miriam does as she is told.” —A Thousand Splendid Suns (Barbara W.)

    “And that’s all we are Jefferson, all of us on this earth, a piece of drifting wood. Until we—each of us, individually—decide to become something else. I am still that piece of drifting wood, and those out there are no better. But you can be better.” —A Lesson Before Dying (Emily K.)

    “As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.” —The Fault in Our Stars (Jen P.)

    “‘Nobody run off with her,’ Roscoe said. ‘She just run off with herself, I guess.’” —Lonesome Dove (Cindy A.)

    “At the beginning of the summer I had lunch with my father, the gangster, who was in town for the weekend to transact some of his vague business.” —The Mysteries of Pittsburgh (Arthur M.)

    “What keeps you going isn’t some fine destination but just the road you’re on, and the fact that you know how to drive.” —Animal Dreams (Liz M.)

    “He was dancing, dancing. He says he’ll never die.” —Blood Meridian (Reed M.)

    “We’re all damaged, somehow.” —A Great and Terrible Beauty (Caitlin P.)

    “He’s more myself than I am.” —Wuthering Heights (Cortina W.)

    “Life is pain, highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.” —The Princess Bride, Betty D.

    “You know it don’t take much intelligence to get yourself into a nailed-up coffin, Laura. But who in hell ever got himself out of one without removing one nail?” —The Glass Menagerie (chelseyam)

    What great literary quotations did we STILL forget?

     
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