Archive for Book Art

When they say “book bags,” they really mean it

If you’re looking for a nice satchel that has a “bookish” feel to it, check out the offerings from the Etsy site, Krukrustudio. These satchels are fitted with covers that look much like the covers of many people’s favorite books or at least of some general book by certain favorite authors. For example, Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice:

Satchel with a cover designed to look like a Jane Austen book,

Jane Austen satchel

This Austen is leather, while a second one is felt, and Agatha Christie also gets into the collection twice, once with the leather And Then There Were None and again with the felt Poirot. And the range is quite extensive, both chronologically and in genre. You can go all the way back to the Iliad

A leather satchel whose cover looks like the cover of the

Homer’s Iliad

…or you can come up to Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone or Robert Jordan’s The Eye of the World. There is one for Grimm’s Fairy Tales, or you can go with Pasternak, Pushkin, or Chekov. The creators and sellers are in Moscow, after all. This is probably one of the reasons why these satchels cost what they do–in addition to the labor involved and the materials.

But if you want to get something that will support your book addiction and also be useful, you may not be able to resist one of these. Especially since they take orders for other books if you prefer something else. I know I’m tempted!

Satchel with a cover based on the Russian author, Chekov.


Loving books first by cover alone

I saw a very interesting request on Facebook today: “Name a book you picked up because of the cover.” (The request was from Kepler’s Books, in Menlo Park, CA.) I have my own version of the request, which adds, “…which you ended up loving.”

I have definitely been influenced by book covers. My prime example of this is when I saw The Summer Tree, by Guy Gavriel Kay, with cover art by Martin Springett:

Original book cover for the book, The  Summer Tree, by Guy Gavriel Kay

I don’t know just what it was about that cover, but I saw it, and the various images made my heart absolutely sing. I peeked just briefly into the book, but bought it primarily because I Wanted That Cover. Here is a later version of the entire cover, back and front. The book I bought looked just like this, except that the title was positioned as in the first picture:

Back and front cover of the book, "The Summer Tree," by Guy Gavriel Kay

There was something magical about that cover — and it exactly matched what was inside. So this was a case where three things came together. The magic of the cover touched the yearning for that magic in me, and the story itself fulfilled that yearning. When I read the book, as I’ve often said, I felt like I had “light flowing through my veins.”

I loved the cover for this and the other two books in the Fionavar Tapestry trilogy so much that I have the three posters in large size, signed by the artist. And I once saw the originals (they’re really big) hanging in the author’s home. The goal of the publishers–that the cover should attract readers so that they’ll buy the book–was certainly successful in my case.

Publishers often change the covers of such books, eventually, to try to attract different readers and give the books new life. The next cover for this book that I was aware of was this:

Second cover of "The Summer Tree," by Guy Gavriel Kay

Do I also own the set of three books with this and the other two new covers? Yes. Would I have bought the book if this had been the original cover? Probably not, though I like the covers well enough. And would I have bought the book for the first time if the original cover had been the one below? Not in a million years. (I kind of think of it as the “What were they thinking?” cover. They did that ordinary, unimaginative, boring cover to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first Canadian publication??)

Twentieth anniversary Canadian cover of "The Summer Tree," by Guy Gavriel Kay

It’s fascinating what will attract us to a book so we’ll be ready to look inside it and find out whether or not we want to buy it.


This is a game of dominos I can get behind

Early in June, the Seattle Public Library did something wonderful to launch their Summer Reading Program. Two college students, Luke Greenway and Laura D’Asaro, came up with the idea of setting up a domino chain entirely of books and setting a world record. So the library staff and volunteers got together and set it up, while Playfish Media filmed some of the setting up process and the very satisfying knocking down process. Here’s the fun that resulted:

Note that the library posted this disclaimer with the video: “The books used to make this domino chain were either donated or are out of date and no longer in the library’s collection. They are now being sold by the Friends of Seattle Public Library to help raise money for library programs and services.  No books were harmed during the filming of this video.”

We probably could have assumed that they’d have seen to it that the books weren’t harmed. But don’t you wish you had been there?

Great collection of book-related tattoos

BuzzFeed hits it out of the park again!

50 Incredible Tattoos Inspired By Books

Some of these tattoos inspired by books are really wonderful. Take this one from A Clockwork Orange:

Tattoo of the one-eyed figure from the cover of

Or this beauty based on Mutiny on the Bounty:

laTattoo of a leaping whale, based on the book,

I can never get a tattoo for various reasons, but I tell ya, some of these could almost have inspired me to try if I could. Check out the rest of them at BuzzFeed, and don’t forget to scroll through the comments and see some others. Add yours there, if you’ve got one. Or here. for that matter!

(And don’t forget that BuzzFeed has done other great posts about book-related things. Like the Grafitti That’s Literate.)

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