Tuesday, October 21, 2014

#whatwerereading: A List of the Latest Books I Just Had to Buy (and Why I Loved Their Covers)

I swear, for me, books are like crack. I just cannot pass them up. Even if I know I will most likely not read a book for many, many, many weeks - maybe even months or years, I still feel compelled to buy it. And I totally judge books by their covers.

Here are the books I just couldn't pass up of late (and I tell you why their covers intrigued me, in the spirit of one of the books I recommend). Let us know if you've read any of them and what you thought. The only one I've tucked into thus far is How to Read Literature Like a Professor (I'll tell you what I think of it so far below).

I've heard really good reviews of this book, and the cover, I mean come on. It looks like a Bell Jar for the new generation of high-waisted-jean wearers. It also makes me want to run out and replace the Docs I so mistakenly got rid of years ago.

If I'm being honest, this cover is a little underwhelming. But I really want to know what Bone Clocks are. That's enough to make me want to buy it. A snappy title. Why can I not impress upon my students the importance of a good title?
This book, by Peter Mendelsund (famed designer of over 600 book covers), amasses many of those covers alongside insight into how he designs them. I heard Mendelsund interviewed about the book recently on NPR and had to purchase it. He claims, for example, that we don't really picture characters' faces when reading books, but only their bodies/shapes/etc. I don't know that I agree with that. I can see Jane Eyre, for example, very clearly in my mind's eye. What do you think?

Where to start with this one? I'm drawn to Moran's in-your-face-but-in-a-daze facial expression. Then there's the grey streak, which suggests that she just doesn't give a f*@% about those, which is then counteracted by the fact that she's working a red polka-dot dress slightly reminiscent of Minnie Mouse and a very carefully sculpted eyebrow. I also was drawn to the tattoo-like script and the fact that it seems to be a companion piece to How to Build a Girl.   
I read about this book in my local paper, of all places (my local paper is not usually where you find intelligent conversation about much of anything. Instead, it's usually where I read about my former classmates' run-ins with the police and some 65-year-old man who thinks a woman's place is barefoot and pregnant). I like the premise, that we are losing touch with important recesses in our brain by relying on automation.

Honestly, put Neil Gaiman's name on a book, and I'll buy it. End of story.

Being a teacher of literature, I just couldn't pass this one up. I wanted to know what exactly it meant to read literature like a professor to Thomas C. Foster. Turns out, dude knows his stuff, although his attitude is a little off-putting. He constantly has sentences that read like, "Voila; I just worked my magic on you. See how I did that? I. am. The Man." Still, fun reading while I'm sitting waiting for Sophie to go to sleep. I've actually been reading it aloud to her. Maybe she's learning something? The fact that it usually puts her to sleep is not promising.

Horrible picture, great book. My mother actually bought this for me in Disney World. She also can't pass up a good cover. This cover is perfection. The dark wood. The evolution of Maleficent. Tons of great images from the original Sleeping Beauty and the Maleficent of today (even if I didn't really love that movie - did I ever post about that??? Where has my brain been?). I highly recommend it.

I received desk copies of these two books from Broadview Press to review for future use in my classes. The Fairy Tales in Popular Culture one is highly readable (even though an academic text) and is filled with visual texts and great contemporary fairy-tale revisions in song, poem, and story form. If you're interested in the evolution of particular fairy tales, the Folk & Fairy Tales book is a good one, tracing different versions of the same tale over centuries. I highly recommend both for fairy-tale fans.
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