On my occasional jaunts to the cinema my eye is inevitably drawn to the movie posters, particularly to those advertised as Coming Attractions. An art form in themselves—quite apart from their function of selling the films they advertise—I’m always struck by their individuality as well as how they sit with each other, rarely clashing but mostly complimentary.
In like manner I’d like to share with you this picture of some recent book acquisitions, perhaps the first in an occasional series (if I can be fashed). Now I shall blather on a bit about design and about content, and if you can bear it feel free to join me.
First, the acquiring: three (M R Hall, Kate Atkinson and Eva Ibbotson) are all secondhand bargains from charity shops, in decent enough condition. Of the other three, the Rowling is a present from a daughter and the Atwood and Campbell are from the local indie bookshop. This is a fair indication of how fiction usually arrives on my shelves.
Second, the attraction. M R Hall is a local-ish author who has appeared at Crickhowell’s literary festival a couple or so times, so I shall be saving this novel to read and review for Dewithon, the Wales Readathon scheduled for March; Jen Campbell is best known for writing about bookshops and bookselling, but I was drawn to this title’s promise of fractured fairytales. Meanwhile, Atkinson and Ibbotson are two authors I’ve previously enjoyed but these two novels are new to me. And having already eyed up the paperback edition of the Harry Potter playscript it’s good to have been presented with a copy!
Third, the appearance. The Coroner has a suitably chilly blue design as suits a murder thriller, the enigmatic silhouette and no-nonsense typeface accentuating both mystery and officialdom. The warmth of the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child cover forms a striking contrast to the Hall title, the nested figure and corvid wings suggesting symbolism yet to be deciphered.
More symbolism is inherent in Hag-Seed, Atwood’s retelling of The Tempest with, I assume, Caliban’s eye staring out balefully. A Company of Swans is Ibbotson’s tale of a wartime ballerina now repackaged for the YA market (the tale, not the dancer!) as this much less menacing photo of soulful young woman emphasises.
The sepia-tinged photo of an open door on the cover of Behind the Scenes at the Museum is subtly hinting at long-hidden secrets, surely, while the stylised patterned heart that sits amidst flowers and fishes on the front of The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night alludes to some of the many themes in this collection of short stories. (A review of this collection is imminent, by the way; the other titles will have to wait their turn.)
If you’ve enjoyed this preview (and I know a lot of book bloggers make such previews a feature in their posts) then I might be tempted to make it a habit. Have you read any of these? Do you have an opinion on their appearance, attractiveness or how they should be acquired? By your responses I’ll know whether to subject you to more of the same in the future!