Every Friday, the staff at Literary Traveler gathers up relevant book news from around the web, bringing it together in a handy post for book lovers to peruse. Enjoy!
- Last Friday we sang the praises of visually-striking book covers. Today we have an article from the Guardian book blog on the importance of cover art – and the pitfalls of a truly bad design. Stuart Evers discusses his distaste for certain covers (which reminds me of my hatred for the hot pink-meets-high-heels formula that has become the norm for a certain type of “chick lit” novel) and the problems faced by publishers. “While one can understand the more commercial retailers wishing to stick to a tried and tested formula, I don’t believe this is helping writers or customers. By packaging everything in the same colours, fonts and images, we lose differentiation,” he writes.
- Similarly, the title of a book can tell us a lot about the contents – or, conversely, it can tell us nothing at all. Playing on this knowledge, a Twitter meme has recently cropped up, under the hashtag “Lesserbooks,” in which users create new names for old favorites. A few examples: Of Mice, White Dentures, Dante’s Impala, and my personal favorite, The Lion, The Witch, and the Walk-in Closet.
- Continuing on the same thread is yet another article from the Guardian on the rewriting of classics to include modern elements (like the incredibly popular Pride and Prejudice and Zombies). Instead of decrying the pop-culturally influenced remakes, Jonathan Wright suggests that this could be a valuable tool for getting people to read Great Books (much like Oprah’s Book Club!). To make things even more interesting, he nominates a few novels for revamp. It’s an interesting idea, but part of me wonders, why remake something as classic and stimulating as Nineteen Eighty-Four?
- Jeffrey Brown from PBS recently had the honor of sitting down to an interview with one of my favorite authors: Isabel Allende. They discuss her new novel, Island Beneath The Sea, which is set in the Caribbean in the early 19th century. To watch the full interview with the House of Spirits author, go here.
- And more good news for fans of magical realism: Allende’s novel has already made it to No. 4 on the L.A. Times bestseller list. Other newcomers to the list include Rick Riordan, Douglas Preston, and author of the Sookie Stackhouse vampire novels, Charlaine Harris.
- And finally, two fascinating articles to begin the weekend. First, a 16-year-old published author takes a moment to consider whether age matters in publishing, and to meditate on her own feelings of inadequacy when faced with even younger teenage prodigies. Second, the Rumpus ponders the first person narrator and praises the fallibly infallible Nick Carraway. Enjoy your days off, and happy reading!