Musing Mondays

Musing Mondays is a meme started over on Should Be Reading that presents a different literary-themed question every week.

This week’s question is:

I read an article, this past week, about book covers, and the difference between print & digital covers; about how the digital covers have almost disappeared entirely, while publishers decide to just skip right to the content. 

What do you think about this? Do you think the book cover is “dead”? Do you care whether the “covers” on digital books exist or not?

If you have the time, read the article and then share your thoughts! 

While I find the above-mentioned article interesting, I don’t agree with many of its points. Perhaps this is partially a symptom of my vehement distaste for (and thus, ignorance regarding) ereaders. Yet I feel that the book cover is an integral facet of the reading experience that has and will continue to endure, regardless of the platform our reading material inevitably takes on.

Despite the axiom never to judge a book by its cover, I frequently find myself doing so, and I don’t think I’m alone. More often than not, this results in dragging me into a story whose substance doesn’t fulfill the promise of its beautiful cover art, yet whether the book is good or not, the important thing is it got me reading. Covers generate excitement. Venture onto any book blog geared toward young adult fiction and you will find yourself presented with a panoply of upcoming release covers. Enthusiasm is tangible the week of a cover release, and many bloggers vie for the opportunity to be the first to present a cover reveal. Cover artists such as Chris McGrath and Dan Dos Santos have become as recognizable in the genres they design for as the authors themselves. While more readers today are choosing digital formats for their books, that doesn’t mean that cover art is forsaken. Honestly, the majority of titles I stumble across in my searches for galleys have cover art; however, the quality of the cover is by no means a given. Unfortunately, self-published titles today can largely be pinpointed (and oftentimes ignored) due to the self-produced look of their covers. Still, even the ugliest of photoshopped covers represents an attempt to visualize the story that lay within.

While the author of this article seems to consider the eventual disappearance of cover art a foregone consequence of the increasing reliance on digital book formats, I personally haven’t witnessed a decrease in prevalence of cover art for the genres I read. If anything, I’ve noted a shift in the conception of cover art as a static medium to a dynamic one. For instance, the release of Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin earlier this year was accentuated by an enhanced, interactive cover for the digital edition. I’ve seen this phenomenon several times this year in young adult fiction and believe that it will soon make its way into other genres as well, particularly given the abundance of people who enjoy the tactile experience of utilizing apps.

I am an avid book collector. I enjoy being surrounded by physical books, displaying them in my home, and knowing that I can pull one off the shelf any time I feel the urge to delve into another world. For me, the experience of reading a book begins with the cover; it’s an art form unto itself. I don’t foresee cover art becoming obsolete, even if physical book sales continue to decrease. In any case, I have my fingers crossed.

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Meandering Around the Interweb

In my various hours of wandering through book blogs far and wide, I’ve come across some pretty fantastic posts lately, so I thought I would spotlight my favorites. Hopefully I can make this a semi-regular feature, although my laziness will test the bounds of my determination to do so, so stay tuned for now.

While I’m drowning in the tears that can only be brought on by The Reichenbach Fall, perhaps I’ll drink away my sorrows with some of these delightful Sherlock blend teas. I’m particularly curious to try Moriartea.

Heroes and Heartbreakers had some interesting television news this week. Apparently, come fall we will have a new Beauty and the Beast adaptation, this time with an update of the classic 80’s TV show. I can’t help but be rather disappointed with the trailer (and not only because I was an adamant Lana hater during the Smallville years). I’m sorry, but a little facial scar does not a beast make, especially when the monstrous attitude is replaced with a penchant for altruism. From the snippets we get here, it looks like he might become a tad more beastly when he’s in angry mode…but, no, wait- scratch that, he’s still handsome. Oh, well. At least we still have time to hope that the Anne of Green Gables modern update is better. But honestly, I’ll take Megan Follows and Jonathan Crombie any day.

The Piper’s Son happens to be my favorite Melina Marchetta, and Kat Kennedy over at the Cuddlebuggery Book Blog recently wrote a wonderful review that expresses all the reasons I love this book more eloquently than I could. In other Marchetta-related news, according to Goodreads, the fourth book in the Lumatere Chronicles has a name, and it’s…Ferragost. Thoughts? Do you think this the official title, as it doesn’t really fit in with the first three.

There’s some interesting discussion of late about just what dystopian actually means, and how it differs from post-apocalyptic fic.

I’m guaranteed to track down this Princess Bride-inspired wine pack for my next dinner party. And don’t worry, according to the website, the Inconceivable Cab holds no traces of iocane powder.

I can’t help but love reading Amber at Down the Rabbit Hole’s reactions to recently completing her first viewing of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. While I don’t agree with everything in her post about why Buffy and Spike are meant to be, she makes some good points nonetheless. I’m even more interested to hear what she has to say about her foray into the world of Season 8 comics, as I’ve abstained from them myself. Personally, I love how Whedon ended the show, and while I’m somewhat intrigued by what I’ve read of the comic continuation, I’m also too apprehensive to delve in myself.

The world lost a wonderful writer last week. As always, Neil Gaiman’s words regarding the love he held for Ray Bradbury’s work are beautifully poignant and a lovely tribute.

A Spell of Vengeance by D.B. Jackson

I’ve been salivating for D.B. Jackson’s Thieftaker since spotting the gorgeous Chris McGrath cover last year, and was so excited to receive an advance copy from NetGalley. The short story, “A Spell of Vengeance,” written for Tor.com makes me all the more excited to read it this weekend.

Once again, the scientific community has made a discovery that has gone shockingly unremarked-upon by the general populace. Bulgarian archaeologists have uncovered human remains from the Middle Ages with iron stakes protruding from their chests. These skeletons serve as evidence of actual vampire hunting back in the day. Beware, ye squeamish; the link leads to some relatively graphic images.

Jeaniene Frost and Ilona Andrews had a Twitter battle on behalf of their respective heroes, Bones and Curran. I think this speaks for itself.

Lynn Flewelling has written a short story in which Seregil from her Nightrunner series and Bast from Patrick Rothfuss’s Name of the Wind have a cage fight. I’ve never actually read Rothfuss (I know, I’m getting on it), but regardless, my money’s on Seregil every time.

And possibly one of the best things I’ve ever seen, Super Mercado has graced the world with Game of Thrones of Muppets. While they’re all super clever and fit in with the real cast surprisingly well, I think I stopped breathing when my eyes landed on Petyr Beakish and Dr. Varys Honeydew.

Showcase Sunday

Showcase Sunday is a meme created by Vicky at Books, Biscuits, and Tea to share new book acquisitions, whether bought, gifted, received for review, borrowed, or won.

It was a rather slow week book buying-wise, but that just means that I’ll have to make up for it this coming week. As it is, I am psyched to have been approved to review Thieftaker, one of my most anticipated debut releases this year. And just look at that stunning Chris McGrath cover; the man knows how to sell a book.

For Review

Thieftaker by D.B. Jackson

  • Thieftaker by D.B. Jackson (from NetGalley)

“Waiting On” Wednesday

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a meme created at Breaking the Spine to spotlight upcoming releases that we can’t wait to read.

 This week I’m so excited to finally see the amazing Chris McGrath cover for the last book in The Vampire Empire series, The Kingmakers by Clay and Susan Griffith.
There’s no summary available yet, but it doesn’t matter because this series is solid on every level: action, suspense, worldbuilding, character growth, romance. It’s got it all.
This title is released in September 2012.

“Waiting On” Wednesday

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a meme created at Breaking the Spine to spotlight upcoming releases that we can’t wait to read.

After months of waiting, we finally get to see the wonderful new Chris McGrath cover art for Ashes of Honor by Seanan McGuire.

Ashes of Honor by Seanan McGuire

There’s no summary available yet, but it’s a Toby Daye book, so it will inevitably be one of the best urban fantasies of the year.

This title will be released on September 4, 2012.

“Waiting On” Wednesday

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a meme created at Breaking the Spine to spotlight upcoming releases that we can’t wait to read.

A few weeks ago, I mentioned a brilliant author who, unfortunately at the time, had been involved in a serious car accident. Thankfully, she is home and recuperating now and even had the time to post the cover for the next book in her series.

I cannot wait to get my hands on Doubletake by Rob Thurman.

There’s no blurb yet, but honestly it doesn’t matter, because every book in the Cal Leandros series is golden. And this is probably the most beautiful cover Chris McGrath has done for the series to date.

Doubletake by Rob Thurman

Doubletake is released on March 6, 2012.

 

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created over at The Broke and the Bookish that allows us to list our top ten answers to a different question each week.

This week is a free week; the top ten list opportunities are boundless. But since I’m short on time and always happy for an excuse to post pretty pictures on my blog, I’m going to recycle a past top ten:

Top Ten Favorite Book Covers

Since I could likely fill an entire notebook with names of books whose covers I fancy, I limited myself to those that are currently on my shelves.

1. Wanderlust by Ann Aguirre

I love all the covers for the Sirantha Jax series. While they offer up an image of a strong heroine, as do many scifi/fantasy series nowadays, the drawn style is unique and never overly suggestive, which can’t be said for many of the series’s UF counterparts. I particularly love this cover since it actually bows to the story line, altering her appearance in accordance with certain events.

2. The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly

I adore intricate line work, so this paper-cutting style cover immediately drew my attention. The fact that the story incorporates countless fairy tales doesn’t hurt either.

3. Deerskin by Robin McKinley

Much like the story itself, this cover is at once hauntingly lovely and slightly eerie. My favorite of all of McKinley’s covers.

4. Clockwork Heart by Dru Pagliasotti

While the cover model doesn’t quite flesh out the descriptions of the story’s protagonist, I love how the artist’s choice in color palette and subtle details evokes the setting and atmosphere that are central to the story.

5. Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning

Honestly, there isn’t much more I can say about how much I love this series, other than to point out that this is one of my most prized books. The cover is beyond beautiful, a work of art in itself, and at the same time manages to be relevant to the story. And now I have an excuse to post it yet again.

6. Tithe by Holly Black

Honestly, I’m not head over heels for this series, but I can’t deny that the cover is great. Gritty and otherworldly, it sets the tone for the novel before you even turn the first page.

7. Late Eclipses by Seanan McGuire

My Chris McGrath love is already well documented on this blog, so I will simply pick out one of my favorites. Love that Toby’s dress matches her attire in the story, and that through it all, Tybalt’s jacket remains perched on her shoulders.

8. Wither by Lauren DeStefano

I’ll admit, I’m not quite sure what the presence of some of the items on this cover is meant to signify, but it doesn’t matter. The cover manages to convey the dichotomy that runs throughout the book, beauty and dilapidation side by side.

9. Alien Tango by Gini Koch

The cartoonish style fits this series to a T. It’s a pleasure finishing each book only to study the cover and pick out each plot element that went unnoticed at first. The only thing that bothers me about these covers is the fact that Kitty’s hair inexplicably changes color time and again.

10. Dreams Made Flesh by Anne Bishop

I love this one not because it offers up any truly stunning imagery; really, for those who hadn’t read The Black Jewels Trilogy already, I doubt many would be drawn in just by looking at the cover. Yet somehow, this cover manages to capture the indefinable setting of the Black Jewels universe so well for me. It is at once olden and modern, perfectly anachronistic yet utterly right.