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.

Bloomsbury Group

•2009-Apr-24 • 2 Comments

From The Bookseller (via Bloomsbury):

Bloomsbury editor-in-chief Alexandra Pringle has put together a collection of brightly packaged, mostly comic novels from the first half of the 20th century and called it The Bloomsbury Group. All have been out of print but are being referenced with nostalgic affection on the blogosphere.

The list will launch in August with six paperbacks, including Frank Baker’s Miss Hargreaves, an “endlessly surprising fairytale from the 1930s”, Rachel Ferguson’s “charming” The Brontës Went to Woolworths, and Joyce Dennys’ Henrietta’s War, “a hilarious, wry, but moving social sketch of life in rural wartime Britain”.

Pringle said that she was struck by how many books being discussed on literary blogs were out-of-print period pieces. “Reading exchanges on the blogs set me thinking about what it is we like to read and how we find those books we know we will enjoy and treasure,” she said. “While the publishing industry chases the new, the young, the instantly commercial, readers are often looking for something else—for a kind of enduring quality.”

After conversations with bloggers such as dovegreyreader, randomjottings and others, Pringle and paperback editor Tram-Anh Doan turned to the London Library, Amazon and secondhand bookshops to locate copies of the books involved. Further recommendations followed from Bloomsbury executive director Richard Charkin, who suggested Wolf Mankowitz’s 1950s East End tale A Kid for Two Farthings, and from entertainer Barry Humphries, who rang Bloomsbury to recommend Ada Leverson’s comedy of married life, Love’s Shadow.

Bloomsbury will launch a website intended to become a home for more reader recommendations, and will promote with bookmarks, showcards, greetings card sets and seaside rock.

The first six titles will launch on 3 August 2009 in the UK. No word on North American availability at this point.

Penguin English Journeys

•2009-Apr-13 • 1 Comment

After Great Ideas, Great Loves and Great Journeys, April 2009 saw the publication of English Journeys, another beautifully designed pocket format series from Penguin UK.

Click on the covers for full size images

The series was published on 2 April 2009 in the UK (£4.99 each), and is due to arrive here in Canada on 27 May 2009 (CAD 9.99 each).

The Political Mind

•2009-Apr-9 • 1 Comment

This attractive paperback edition of George Lakoff’s The Political Mind is due out in May from Penguin USA, with simultaneous publication in Canada.


Notice how the paperback edition has dropped the references to specifically American politics found in the text and illustration of last year’s hardback cover design:


The paperback edition immediately captured my interest, while I barely even noticed the hardback when it came out. Obviously, the fact that I’m not American has something to do with that, but the striking design of the paperback is what really grabbed my attention.