Walking through the store the other day, a stack of books piled high in one arm and ready for reshelving, a bookseller’s eye was drawn to the cover of a book that was faced out on a shelf. She set down her stack and pulled the book off the shelf and investigated.
It’s a story told often, the draw of a striking cover discovered on a bookstore shelf. It happens to booksellers as often as it does anyone else. In that spirit, we’ll be highlighting some of the books that adorn our shelves with a striking allure every Friday over on our instagram feed. Here are a few covers that grabbed our attention this week.
Jacket Illustrations by Suzy Lee
In this evocative wordless book, internationally acclaimed artist Suzy Lee tells the story of a little girl’s day at the beach. Stunning in their simplicity, Lee’s illustrations, in just two shades of watercolor, create a vibrant story full of joy and laughter.
Cover Design by Colleen Cain
A comprehensive, deeply personal, and visually stunning guide to growing and cooking vegetables from Britain’s foremost food writer, with more than 400 recipes and extensive gardening notes.
In the tradition of Roast Chicken and Other Stories comes Tender, a passionate guide to savoring the best the garden has to offer. An instant classic when it was first published in the UK, Tender is a cookbook, a primer on produce, and above all, a beloved author’s homage to his favorite vegetables. Slater’s inspired and inspiring writing makes this a book to sit with and savor as much as one to prop open in the kitchen. The chapters explore 29 vegetables and offer enticing, comforting recipes such as Potato Cakes with Chard and Taleggio, a Tart of asparagus and Tarragon, and Grilled Lamb with Eggplant and Za’atar. With wit, enthusiasm, and a charming lack of pretension, Slater champions vegetables—through hands-on nurturing in the garden and straightforward preparations in the kitchen—with this truly essential book for every kitchen library.
Jacket Painting by Samantha French
Jacket Design by Kelly Blair
Maya is in love with both her boyfriend and her boss. Sadie’s lover calls her as he drives to meet his wife at marriage counseling. Gwen pines for her roommate, a man who will hold her hand but then tells her that her palm is sweaty. And Sasha agrees to have a drink with her married lover’s wife and then immediately regrets it. These are the women of Single, Carefree, Mellow, and in these eleven sublime stories they are grappling with unwelcome houseguests, disastrous birthday parties, needy but loyal friends, and all manner of love, secrets, and betrayal.
In snappy, glittering prose that is both utterly hilarious and achingly poignant, Katherine Heiny chronicles the ways in which we are unfaithful to each other, both willfully and unwittingly. Maya, who appears in the title story and again in various states of love, forms the spine of this linked collection, and shows us through her moments of pleasure, loss, deceit, and kindness just how fickle the human heart can be.
Jacket Designed by Jessica Handelman
Interior Designed by Hilary Zarycky
Darren hasn’t had an easy year.
There was his parents’ divorce, which just so happened to come at the same time his older brother Nate left for college and his longtime best friend moved away. And of course there’s the whole not having a girlfriend thing.
Then one Thursday morning Darren’s dad shows up at his house at 6 a.m. with a glazed chocolate doughnut and a revelation that turns Darren’s world inside out. In full freakout mode, Darren, in a totally un-Darren move, ditches school to go visit Nate. Barely twenty-four hours at Nate’s school makes everything much better or much worse—Darren has no idea. It might somehow be both. All he knows for sure is that in addition to trying to figure out why none of his family members are who they used to be, he’s now obsessed with a strangely amazing girl who showed up out of nowhere but then totally disappeared.
Book Design by Rob Steen and Colleen AF Venable
Every summer, Rose goes with her mom and dad to a lake house in Awago Beach. It’s their getaway, their refuge. Rosie’s friend Windy is always there, too, like the little sister she never had. But this summer is different. Rose’s mom and dad won’t stop fighting, and when Rose and Windy seek a distraction from the drama, they find themselves with a whole new set of problems. One of the local teens – just a couple of years older than Rose and Windy – is caught up in something bad… Something life threatening.
It’s a summer of secrets, and sorrow, and growing up, and it’s a good thing Rose and Windy have each other.This One Summer is a tremendously exciting new teen graphic novel from two creators with true literary clout. Cousins Mariko and Jillian Tamaki, the team behind Skim, have collaborated on this gorgeous, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful story about a girl on the cusp of childhood – a story of renewal and revelation.
Book Design by Pablo Delcan and Peter Mendelsund
Peter Mendelsund has enjoyed years as a much-sought-after book cover designer and art director. Among the many recognizable jackets he has created are those for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; collections of the works of Joyce, Kafka, Dostoevsky, de Beauvoir, and Foucault; the contemporary works of Martin Amis, Tom McCarthy, Ben Marcus, Jo Nesbø, and James Gleick; and many more. All have greatly benefitted from the care and touch Mendelsund gave them.
Cover abounds with Mendelsund’s completed book jackets along with ephemera from his previously unseen creative method, including jacket sketches, interior art and editorial illustrations, and scores of rejected drafts. These images are punctuated by Mendelsund’s reflections on his work and his process, as well as by texts from writers with whom he has worked and designed for.
Cover is a compendium of beautiful design and a beautiful design object itself; a profile and celebration of one of the publishing world’s most talented and prolific contemporary creators, and a brilliant showcase of his deft touch for balanced and innovative design.
With these words of wisdom from the masters of their craft, you can’t help but be inspired. And while inspiration itself has yet to be packaged and sold, this book is the closest thing on the market. Take a look inside and you’ll see what we mean.
Edit and Designed by Murray & Sorrell FUEL
This book is dedicated to the Soviet Space Dogs, who played a crucial part in the Soviet Space program. These homeless dogs, plucked from the streets of Moscow, were selected because they fitted the program’s criteria: weighing no more than 15 pounds, measuring no more than 14 inches in length, robust, photogenic and with a calm temperament. These characteristics enabled the dogs to withstand the extensive training that was needed to prepare them for suborbital, then for orbital, space fights. On 3 November 1957, the dog Laika was the first Earth-born creature to enter space, making her instantly famous around the world. She did not return. Her death, a few hours after launching, transformed her into a legendary symbol of sacrifice. Two further strays, Belka and Strelka, were the first beings to make it back from space, and were swiftly immortalized in children’s books and cartoons. Images of the Space Dogs proliferated, reproduced on everyday goods across the Soviet Union: cigarette packets, tins of sweets, badges, stamps and postcards all bore their likenesses. “Soviet Space Dogs” uses these unique items to illustrate the story (in fact and fiction) of how they became fairytale idols. The first book to document these items, it contains more than 350 images, almost all of which are previously unpublished, and many of which have never been seen before outside Russia. The rich and varied ephemera (from cigarette packets to sweet wrappers and children’s toys) of Soviet graphics will have immense appeal to the art and design market, as well as appealing to dog-lovers everywhere.
Cover Art: David Hammons
Cover Design: John Lucas
Claudia Rankine’s bold new book recounts mounting racial aggressions in ongoing encounters in twenty-first-century daily life and in the media. Some of these encounters are slights, seeming slips of the tongue, and some are intentional offensives in the classroom, at the supermarket, at home, on the tennis court with Serena Williams and the soccer field with Zinedine Zidane, online, on TV–everywhere, all the time. The accumulative stresses come to bear on a person’s ability to speak, perform, and stay alive. Our addressability is tied to the state of our belonging, Rankine argues, as are our assumptions and expectations of citizenship. In essay, image, and poetry, Citizen is a powerful testament to the individual and collective effects of racism in our contemporary, often named “post-race” society.
Book descriptions courtesy of the individual publishers.