Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Bored? (III)

You know all of those hideous books you have lying around? (No, not your secret stash of Harry Potter; I mean the good books you own that are rendered hideous by their very bad covers.)

I had to keep the "look inside" on Moby Dick just so that people would know it was real

This malady is most widespread among books with any hint of adventure, science fiction or fantasy, and it's especially deforming when any of these hints are combined with the so-called genre "classic" (see above). Deadly, also, when paired with anything that's been made into a popular movie.


And catastrophic when paired with the author Derrick Jensen.

Occasionally you'll come across a book that, although the cover isn't horrible, it just doesn't fit the book as well as it should. Penguin's Twentieth-Century Classics version of Alain-Fournier's Le Grand Meaulnes is a suitable example.

Not bad. But it's not likely to inspire any young people to read it, either. Which is a shame because that's who this beautiful book is best suited for (Alain-Fournier was dead by twenty-seven).

I decided to alter the cover in an attempt to make it into something I thought better represented the feel of the novel.

The novel is about longing, things lost, and unrecoverable places (physical, emotional). You know, Youth. Plot-wise it's about a young man who meets a girl and becomes haunted by her memory. And later in the novel he shows up with a mustache. So, for my cover I decided to show this young man―haunted by a woman, her face covered with flowing hair―with his face covered in darkness. And with a mustache.

* * *

Making your own book covers is a fun thing to do if you've never given it a try, and if you pick the right books you won't have to worry about making the covers worse off than they were before. Hardbacks can be turned into anything―they're much easier than paperbacks (it's tough to match the edges in paperbacks without it looking messy)―especially since you can buy clear, adjustable jackets for almost any size book. And while it's true that most hardbacks already look pretty good with their jackets removed, the fun is in the personalization. (Next I'm making a jacket for The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, and in lieu of summary or critical praise, I'm going to put Bukowski's poem "Carson McCullers" on the back.) I guess you could also use (or buy) a jacket for paperbacks, though I've never tried. And of course modifications can also be made, very easily, to DVD covers.

Here's a hardback version of Lolita my friend DJC made. He used an advertisement for Kubrick's film from a newspaper or magazine, which technically, I suppose, makes it a movie tie-in... But I think it's pretty perfect.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey it's DJC here. That LOLITA dust-jacket was made from a color xerox of the original Kubrick mini-poster (or lobby-card) for the film, circa 1961... A friend had made this for me some years ago and when I fell heir to the extra hardcover with no dust-jacket, I did a little scissoring & pasting, put 'em together & sent it off to U. And it looks GOOD. Thanks for showing it off.