Look at these gorgeous book covers designed by 100 artists from 28 countries gathered together in the collective DoeDeMee by Belgian design studio beshart. Even better, buy one of their posters for that bare wall on your landing; five euros from each one goes towards fighting illiteracy.
If there’s anything more fabulous than beholding a truly great book cover, it’s the shock and awe of wondering how a truly atrocious one ever came to be. (But maybe you never sat through the tedious hivemind that can be a cover meeting …) The Caustic Cover Critic is a new find I shall be revisiting regularly. I was particularly thrilled by its caustic coverage of these horrors inflicted upon Henry James by Tutis Digital Publishing. Never heard of em. I am baffled as to what happened here – the images in many instances bear absolutely no relation to the book’s content. They look like some error in translation. Enjoy! (More gems here.)
While we’re romping through awesomeness, also stop to take a look at Flavorpill’s 10 Books To Restore Your Faith In Print. Oo, ah, don’t you wish the Internet did pop-up books?
This Guardian story on Mark Twain’s inspiration for Tom Sawyer took me back to studying Huckleberry Finn for O level. I downloaded an ebook version, because it’s one of those books I ought to be carrying with me at all times, and in doing so realised it’s one of the first times I’ve looked at the book since I’ve entered mondo creative writing, and this time round I really noticed the magic of that voice. Tom Sawyer he hunted me up and said he was going to start a band of robbers, and I might join if I would go back to the widow and be respectable. Ah! Strange (or not so, I was well taught – thanks, Mrs Blakemore!) how lots of phrases were familiar. This was probably where the term dramatic irony was first explained to me, too, I reckon.
An intriguing take from The Week on Nigella’s new show Nigellissima, in which someone doing her PhD on sadomasochism and romantic love comments on the Nigella-baiting by mostly male critics. It’s a welcome take that goes delightfully too far in making a claim for her work as performance art. Nigella is one of my idols; I admired her for a long time, but then fully converted when, discussing guilty pleasures, she stated that ‘I don’t believe anything pleasurable should feel guilty’. Back off, haters. (Remember, Love not Envy.)
I forgot last week to mention that I’d seen and enjoyed Anna Karenina. It’s a sumptuous production, with some rich touches that I shan’t describe in case you have not seen yourself, or know nothing about its take (you should only read these articles from a Guardian supplement if you have already seen it). Have to admit that Anna has always reminded me of one of those annoying heroines from opera (not sure that’s a spoiler … not sure spoilers apply, do they?!), but Keira is very well cast and does a good job here. I am sure we could quibble about any number of things (some of the commentariat was griping that the actors had Russian accent; what did they want, for them to talk like meerkats?). But I just surrendered to it; sometimes I think it’s simply good to decide you’ll like a film, and I loved the central conceit and execution of this version. Enjoy the trailer below (note: spoiler-ish, though I had seen this without realising that that central conceit was revealed in it – but then I am sometimes really dumb).
But first: on a related topic, you might want to join some of my weekend reading: an old article by David Remnick from the New Yorker on translation, including various whys and wherefores of translating some of the Russian classics.