"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." —J. R. R. Tolkien

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Pretty Books

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a great weekend!
I'm happy to report knee surgery went very well. I'm walking somewhat, though I have a bandage on my knee the size of a cantaloupe and I can't shower until Wednesday. Yikes! Yes, I'll be at home alone much of the time between now and then. My family has to love me no matter what I smell like.

So in my recovery time this weekend, I finished up THE MAZE RUNNER by James Dashner and read two more awesome books: BLUE PLATE SPECIAL by Michelle D. Kwasney and LIPS TOUCH: THREE TIMES by Laini Taylor. I so recommend all three books for various reasons, but especially the last two. They were beautiful, and I savored both.

Of course, while sitting with my knee up, I studied the books in full. Do you ever take the cover off a book and look at what's underneath? Look at all the beauty that went into the actual design and layout of the book? I love looking at how the hard cover is made. Is there gold foil lettering on the spine? Is the inside paper special? Patterned? Is the font unique? Are there symbols used throughout with special meaning to the story? Is there art?

The THEODOSIA books by R. L. LaFevers are some of my favorite naked books. Each and every detail was taken into account in the book design, down to the maps covering the front and back, the Egyptian symbols on each chapter, the old lettering of the title on the spine, and the fun cover art. As a kid, I would have wanted to read these books simply because I picked them up and looked at them.

BLUE PLATE SPECIAL stood out in that the paper cover was almost exactly mimicked on the hard cover. I say almost exactly because the plate is cracked on the outside paper cover but not cracked on the hard cover itself. Such a sweet detail that might not be noticed on first glance but makes the book and design that much more special.

Okay, and then there is LIPS TOUCH: THREE TIMES. I feel like I bought a piece of fine art when I bought this book. It is exquisite. The illustrations are so meaningful and beautiful yet simple in their colors. And once you read the stories, you'll go back and look at the drawings over and over again and get more out of them each and every time. The font color choices are unique in that page numbers and chapter titles are in red while the regular text is in a more standard dark grey. Normal blank pages have beautiful scroll work design, and of course the stories are magical.

These are the kind of books that make me treasure owning copies myself. What book designs do you love? And why?

And have a great week!

20 comments:

Kristi Faith said...

Ooh, great post. Very thought provoking. I think I have always felt drawn to the leather bound books with the lettering you can run your hands over and feel. Or the raised lettering and picture. I read a book one time when I was little *I don't remember what it was* but the cover had a braided leather set of reins sewn onto the cover. It was so unique, I loved it!

Anna said...

My husband always laughs at me for "undressing books" but I'm glad I'm not the only who does that! I completely agree with you about the Theodosia books - it's clear a lot of thought went into their design.

What did you think of THE MAZE RUNNER? Did the ending drive you a little bit nuts? :-)

Keri Mikulski said...

So glad you're doing okay. Sendings hugs. :)

PJ Hoover said...

Wow, Kristi, the braided leather sounds wonderful! I could totally see the fascination in collecting old, pretty books.

I do it more and more, Anna. Even in the bookstore :)
Yes on Maze Runner. A bit nuts. I don't a little crazy at how information was withheld and how kinda nothing much was resolved. But it is a trilogy, right?

Thanks, Keri! I'll take those hugs!

Solvang Sherrie said...

I love the Spiderwick books for the art and the detail, but also because they don't have a separate jacket. II hate paper jackets and usually take them off. The Benjamin Bartholomew Piff books also have the cover art embossed in the hard cover. I think it's brilliant and far less wasteful to design books that way :)

PJ Hoover said...

Spiderwick are a great example of pretty books, Sherrie! And I love the dust jackets but especially when they are hiding something pretty underneath :)

lotusgirl said...

I love a well crafted book. I especially love it when the paper is nice. There's nothing like reading a book and turning quality paper to advance the story.

PJ Hoover said...

I know, Lois! I love when the pages don't stick together and when the edges are maybe ragged or uneven like a bunch of old paper has been bound together. So nice!

T. Anne said...

Isn't it funny how as writers we romanticise (sp) the microscopic details of the book, right down to its scent? I'd love a bottle wouldn't you?

Heather Zundel said...

I have so many covers I love, it's hard not to pick just one.

Amy Allgeyer Cook said...

PJ--I don't know how I missed following your blog all these months. SO WEIRD, but I had knee surgery on Friday the 13th too, and also for a torn meniscus. It was the day after my birthday too. However, I was in Mexico nine days later, walking just fine. I'm sure you'll feel great soon.

Sorry for the off-topicness, but you won an Invisible Sister Spell Card and I need to mail it to you. If you can, pls email your address to:
amyacook(at)live(dot)com.
Congrats & hope you're feeling better in no time!

PJ Hoover said...

I'd love to drink a bottle of it, T. Anne. Like a fine wine :)

I have more and more each day I love, Heather! They are so pretty!

So weird, Amy. And then I won, too. It's like we're oddly connected. I'll email you! Thanks!

Miriam S.Forster said...

Is it sad that I don't often look under the paper cover? I think I need to take more time to savor books before I read them...

I'm glad surgery went well. Feel better!

PJ Hoover said...

you do, Miriam! As much as you read, there are probably some beauties you're missing!

Vonna said...

For Christmas this past year I received a new, illustrated edition of The Neverending Story. I had requested it because it had gotten great reviews for its design. It's very nice with the alternating colored text and the illustrated letters, but I admit I was disappointed that the end papers were plain and there were no maps.(I know, picky, picky.) I love maps for fantasy books.

Kelly H-Y said...

Oh my goodness ... I missed your Friday post and had no idea you had knee surgery!!! I'm sending 'healing' thoughts your way. Glad to hear that all went well!!! Take care!

ElanaJ said...

Hope you're feeling better, and hey! You can shower tomorrow!

I really need to get Lips Touch. It's been everywhere on the Interwebs lately. Thanks for the insights on covers. I adore covers.

PJ Hoover said...

I love maps, too, Vonna! Especially when I care so much about the world that I consult them often. Adult fantasy seems to be the best for this (Eddings, etc).

Thanks, Kelly! I think I got your healing thoughts. It's all going great!

So excited to shower, Elana. I'm feeling ripe :)
yes, read LIPS TOUCH!

Kelly said...

Whoa, knee surgery, but the bright side is you are forced to take a break and read!
Enjoy your shower tomorrow, I bet you are feeling so ready for it by now! (but be careful, don't slip!!!)

PJ Hoover said...

The forced reading time has been nice, Kelly! And the shower will be bliss. I can feel it already :)
Thanks!