My library.

Keeping with the theme of books and aesthetics, let's judge a book by it's cover (I had to). When discussing the place of the book in the digital age, one begins to either sound ancient or seem eccentric. I'm okay with that. I digress, I am a techno-phobe; let's just ignore the fact that I'm blogging from an electronic device. Besides paper-back & hardback books are just too pretty to look at; which brings me to the point of this post: Book art. Here are a few of the great ones (I own)...

The penguin classics edition of F. Scott Fitzgerald's books. Beautiful art deco-themed hardbacks, a must-have in any self-declared book collectors' library. Re-issued to mark the 70th anniversary of his death, the set includes new issues of Tender is the Night, The Beautiful and The Damned, The Great Gatsby, This Side of Paradise, The Last Tycoon and Flappers and Philosophers.

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

It's like the title and the cover art were just destined to be. It's simple and self-explanatory.

The Travels of Ibn Battutah by Tim Mackintosh-Smith & Saladin: Hero of Islam by Geoffrey Hindley

Some of the most epic stories set in some of the most epic times of human history and I love how that's portrayed in these persian muraqqa-esque inspired illustrations. Appropriately just if you ask me.

The Mad Ones: Crazy Joe Gallo and the Revolution at the Edge of the Underworld, Nelson Mandela: A Biography by Martin Meredith & The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X and Alex Haley

Well... who wouldn't like their face on a 200+ page written account of themselves?

Maus: A Survivor's Tale by Art Speigelman

A pure contour line drawing of a cat centered on a swastika convieniently positioned behind two fear-ridden mice overall reminiscent of a World War II poster. Not sold yet? How about the subtitle - "My father bleeds history"? No? But...but the bigger mouse is wearing a trench coat for God's sake!

Marvel & DC

& that's just the tip of the iceberg. Granted I do not currently own these valuable copies above but they are -- the top favorites. There's hundreds and thousands more to choose from like 'The Amazing Spiderman #539', 'Detective Comics #408', 'Avengers #76' and 'Batman #612' to name a few.

Honourable mention:

Fairest of All: A Tale of the Wicked Queen

Not necessarily a book I'd recommend you acquire to 'read' (hit or miss here) but... and it's a big but, the book cover deserves all merit. The book relays a fractured fairytale by Serena Valentino, a version of the classic story that has remained untold until now. Fairly simplistic and straight-forward, we have the Evil Queen on the dust jacket but then this comes off to reveal *drumroll* the Hag on the hardcover. [IN-GENIOUS]

Books by Derek Birdsall

A master of his craft, Birdsall is one of the most distinguished graphic designers in Britain today. His work is disarmingly simple and elegant. He's designed magazine covers, calendars, posters and book jackets for Penguin and Monty Python. He excercises the finesse of typography and how words should be designed to be read; the balance between image and type; how to move images and type around a given area; the value of empty space and quietness. All in all, a legend.


Now...I leave you with this:

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