Monday, March 03, 2014

Book Spotting Returns with More Beautiful Books in the Biblioasis Bookshop

It has been quite some time since I made a Book Spotting post. In fact, I think it might have actually been warm outside (you mean the thermometer climbs above the freezing mark occasionally? Above the negative double digits? And I had lost all hope of that ever happening again!) the last time I strolled the bookshop and photographed some of the beautiful books that come through the front door. Lately, there have been just too many lovely pieces of design in the shop for me to resist talking them up.
Perfect for your coffee table, next to your vintage tea set

First off, a book I've been admiring for months (we've had a few copies in and sold them, but it's back in store now in case you want to pick one up,) The Wes Anderson Collection by Matt Zoller Seitz (Harry N. Abrams, 2013). If they made the endpapers into wallpaper, I would probably use it to decorate my apartment. The illustrations are lovely, the colour pallet is wonderful (I find myself endlessly drawn to the colours in Anderson's films) not to mention the content itself, which features ephemera, full-page photographs and behind the scenes tidbits. 

Admit it, you'd buy it for the endpapers alone
This design has legs...
 Second on the list of books to which I've been gravitating lately is this new translation of Kafka's Metamorphosis by Susan Bernofsky (Norton, 2014). British Designer Jamie Keenan took what sounds like one of those great design ideas that fall completely flat in execution, and made it brilliant. The typeface is intricate while also clean, impressive even if it weren't masterfully nudged into the shape of a cockroach, complete with legs and antennae. What is so striking about this one is the way Keenan balances the elements of the design, which could easily become muddy or overwhelming, given the baroque nature of the type treatment. This is one of the best covers of the year so far (yes, I know it's only just March) and I'd hazard that it will remain a contender for my top spot even with all the releases to come in 2014.

Simplicity at its best
New Directions impresses again with these releases of short works that they call Pearls. The series is a lot of fun, using bold colours and simple geometric designs that grab the eye and also tempt you to collect the lot. Designer Rodrigo Corral has a great sense of how to make the minimal pop without slipping into the mundane.

Faber, Faber, Faber. Your books have this irresistible quality that make me feel like I just have to have them. Faber has re-released The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath with its original cover design by Shirley Tucker, but in a sturdy hardcover metallic gold edition (Ariel is also part of this re-release and comes in black and silver). I have a soft spot for Plath, but even if I didn't, the Faber back catalogue revival is enough for this one to draw me in.
Faber. I can't resist you.
My last two book choices share something in common, and it is certainly not the subject matter. First, Connecting the Dots: Tyree Guyton's Heidelberg Project (Wayne State University Press, 2007) is a work of art itself. The cover, uncluttered by title and author attribution, cuts straight to the artwork: the houses that make up the Heidelberg project in Detroit. The screened unbleached cover featuring one of Guyton's houses and a large pink spot remind me of Guyton's art of recycling and combining the unlikely into something unexpected. Without trying to compete with the interior in providing a representative cross-section of the project, the cover design instead acts like a pink front door, grabbing your attention and drawing you toward what's inside.
What's the book called? I don't care because I want it regardless.

What's in a name anyway?
Finally, Pedlar Press takes the same risk with Juanita Wildrose: My True Life by Susan Downe (2013). There's no denying that this is a striking cover and a beautiful photograph. Perhaps because most books have titles and authors listed on their covers there's something startlingly bare about this one, especially in the black and white, that makes you feel like you can't avoid those eyes. It's a daring move for sure, but I'd argue that it pays off because I can't get this cover out of my head. 

All of the above are currently available at Biblioasis (1520 Wyandotte St. E., Windsor, ON).
Look out for more Book Spotting to come!

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