The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim, by Jonathan Coe

•2010-Jan-1 • 1 Comment

There’s a new Jonathan Coe novel coming out, to be published by Viking (Penguin UK) on 27 May 2010. Here’s their somewhat curious cover design. I can’t decide if I love it or hate it…

No word yet on if/when Random House will get around publishing it in North America, but on past form I would guess they’ll bring it out a year late, with an ugly cover, and maybe even with the title changed to something deemed easier for Americans to understand. Thanks to The Book Depository, however, we need no longer concern ourselves with such aberrations.

Vintage UK Patricia Highsmith

•2009-Dec-13 • 1 Comment

Taking a cue from the slick covers coming out of Bloomsbury UK, Vintage (Random House UK) deliver some more beautiful cover designs for Patricia Highsmith reissues (design and illustrations by Liam Relph & Michael Salu).

Why England Lose

•2009-Nov-30 • Leave a Comment

Attractive cover design for the British edition from HarperCollins UK:

Boring cover design for the North American edition from Nation Books:

I also appreciate Nation Books changing the title to make it relevant to ME, Mr Joe Average North American. Nice touch…

Walter Benjamin, Sasha Stone & Penguin Classics: A ‘One-way Street’ to Brilliant Design

•2009-Oct-23 • Leave a Comment

For their new edition (new translation?) of Walter Benjamin’s Einbahnstraße (One-way Street) in the Modern Classics series, Penguin UK — no doubt realising that it would be near impossible to come up with anything better (no publisher that I know of has been able to do so in 80 years that have ellapsed since the original publication) — have wisely allowed themselves to be hugely influenced by the brilliant, classic cover design that Sasha Stone did up for Rowolt way back in 1928.


Compare with the 1928 original:


To be published in the UK on 29 October 2009 and in Canada on 24 November 2009.

See also: Random House Walter Benjamin by Peter Mendelsund

Tirza by Arnon Grunberg

•2009-Oct-13 • Leave a Comment

This isn’t the first time I’ve highlighted the cover of an Arnon Grunberg novel. Very much looking forward to Tirza (published by Actes Sud), which came out in France last week and is due out in Canada on 11 November.


Classic Design for The Classical World

•2009-Sep-11 • 2 Comments

In the face of any number of more or less unattractive cover designs for Robin Lane Fox’s The Classical World, Penguin have gone back to basics with special British (also available in Canada) and Australian editions featuring classic Penguin design.


See also: Penguin Celebrations & Penguin Celebrations Canada

Beowulf vs Hrolf Kraki

•2009-Aug-27 • 1 Comment

Following on from a previous post about coincidental cover designs, here’s another one:


Both LGF for their French translation of Beowulf and Penguin for their English translation of The Saga of Hrolf Kraki have gone with the same image to illustrate their respective covers. The coincidence is perhaps more readily understandable in this case, however, as both tales are derived from the same Germanic legend.

Penguin describes the image as follows

Detail from a bronze plaque showing a hero struggling with two bears found at Torslunda, Öland in the Statens Historiska Museet, Stockholm.

and LGF simply states

Deux loups avalant le vieux ciel. Cachet de bronze, VIe siècle.