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Wednesday, March 30, 2011


It is break time. But first I wanted to let everyone know about this perfect little planner from Jessica Hische.

CLICK HERE for more info and to purchase.

So cute! I've been a Moleskine girl since I can remember but this planner might lead me to stray.

And now, this blog is officially on a Spring Break of sorts. I'm heading to New York today with some friends to see LCD Soundsystem during their final slew of shows. I am going to be completely wound up in all of that madness and am not taking my computer. Posts should resume on Monday, hopefully with some NYC & book related things!

MORE NEWS !! I am working on a redesign of sorts for posting and little things around the blog. I feel like it is definitely time to give my posts a little more structure and consistency.

I hope everyone enjoys the rest of their week. See you all so soon.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Penguin Threads

I've heard so many rumors about this Penguin Threads collection. It is so nice to finally see the finished works by Jillian Tamaki.

My favorite is definitely the cover for "Black Beauty".

For more information on the amazingly talented Jillian Tamaki and Penguin Threads, visit her website.

(all images)

Penguin Travel

I am leaving for New York on Wednesday and could really use these Penguin Luggage Tags for my trip. I wish I would have found them sooner. There is no way they would arrive in time.

Click here to purchase!

More "No one belongs here more than you" covers

Check out all the different covers for "No one belongs here more than you" by Miranda July. The cover I own is still my favorite but it is interesting to see all the international versions. Also, read my review!


Review: No one belongs here more than you.

Apparently I have been reading this book for the past 5 months. It has been a good bedside book, there when I need it, but patiently waiting while I read through other books.

I really enjoy everything Miranda July does and that includes "No one belongs here more than you". In this collection of short stories, there were some that made me laugh, some that made me exceptionally sad and one I skipped entirely after reading the first paragraph.

My absolute favorite in the collection was "This Person". The entire piece is available to read on NPR's website and I encourage you to at least read that one story if you haven't yet.

Of course I also like the cover for this book, designed by John Fulbrook III. It is simple and bright, with Helvetica type. Perfect for this collection. I have a hardcover copy with a yellow cover, but the paperback is available in bright shades of pink, green, orange and yellow.

On GoodReads, I gave this book four stars but I almost wish I could rate each story separately. I think the problem I have with short story collections is that one story can completely overshadow the rest, whether negatively or positively and tint the entire book.

Overall, this collection is great. Miranda July is a wonderful story teller. She makes normal situations seems extraordinary and extraordinary situations seem normal. Even though the pieces are short, sometimes only a couple of pages, I attached to characters quickly and when was sometimes sad to end my time with them. I look forward to reading more by July.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Golden Book Gown

Wow. A gown made from Golden Book pages and binding.

To see Ryan Novelline's creative process that led to this work of art, CLICK HERE.

(all images)

My First Coralie Clothbound

Coralie Bickford-Smith's designs for Penguin's Clothbound Classics are pretty well known, and for good reason: They are beautiful. I mentioned them here just over a year ago, when the first series came out but now there are dozens.

And as of this week, I officially own one (yes, just one unfortunately). The clothbounds are usually $20, but I picked mine up for 40% off at a closing Borders. I actually already own a similar Dickens Christmas collection but I couldn't pass this up. When I left the store I felt like I had purchased a work of art by Coralie, not just a story collection.

Coralie is a senior cover designer at Penguin, and has a lot of other great work up on her website.

(cover image Coralie; hipstaprints mine)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Write More Good

I love the Fake AP Stylebook Twitter (@fakeapstylebook), created by The Bureau Chiefs. They just released "Write More Good", a phony writing guide.

I want it, I need it. It is clever and journalismy and (presumably) sarcastic. And, the cover is pretty great, too. 

Visit The Bureau Chiefs website for more info.

Review: Travel Writing

I grabbed "Travel Writing" from a shelf at Borders because of the spine. I loved the dots of colors and honestly, and mistakenly, assumed the book would be a collection of travel stories. And while there are a few pieces of travel writing in the book, Peter Ferry's "Travel Writing" is much more a mystery and a journey of people and of self than of cities or countries.

"Travel Writing" is narrated by Pete Ferry and essentially, the whole book is one long story being told to his high school English class. Pete tells his students the story of the evening he witnesses a fatal car accident and his obsession with the woman behind the wheel. His obsession takes a toll on his career and personal life, causing to re-evaluate his priorities. I don't want to give too much away because I think this book is great and absolutely recommend it, so let's talk about the cover.

The cover I own, and which, in my opinion is the best cover for the book, was designed by Alex Camlin. Presumably, the woman on the cover is Lisa Kim, the object of Ferry's obsession. I think the color-by-number idea is fantastic, as color-by-number is a process that slowly reveals a whole picture and Ferry is digging during the whole book to put together the puzzle of who Lisa Kim was.

A few more notes: 
One reason I did enjoy this book so much is it takes place in Lake Forest, IL. Since I cover Lake Forest-Lake Bluff for my reporting job, it was really interesting to read about locations and roads and a community that I am familiar with.

Another reason I was pleased with this book was it examined the limits of fact and fiction. The narrator discusses this with his class, and pushes the reader to think about it as well.

So if you're interested in reading something that is funny but also suspenseful, that blurs the lines of reality and is also a little bit about travel, I definitely recommend "Travel Writing".

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Handshake

Schuba's has become my favorite venue in Chicago. It is small, intimate and serves fantastic mac'n'cheese. A few days ago, the fine people at Schuba's tweeted about a new magazine one of their bartenders is creating, via Kickstarter project.

Dan Duffy says "The Handshake" will be simple. 

According to the Kickstarter page, each print issue will contain one conversation between two artists, writers, comedians, or musicians; one interview with a cultural icon of sorts; one experimental essay; one short story by either a well-established or emerging author; and one road trip in photographs.

There will also be an online version with lots of video goodies and blog posts

To learn more, follow "The Handshake" on Twitter or Facebook, and then visit the Kickstarter page if the magazine sounds like something you'd like to support.

Think Quarterly

Google recently made public "Think Quarterly", a small magazine they sent to their UK partners and advertisers. It is beautiful. I was actually a little overwhelmed by it.

On the "Think Quarterly" website, Google's Managing Director of UK and Ireland operations Matt Brittin explains: 

At Google, we often think that speed is the forgotten 'killer application' – the ingredient that can differentiate winners from the rest. We know that the faster we deliver results, the more useful people find our service.
But in a world of accelerating change, we all need time to reflect. Think Quarterly is a breathing space in a busy world. It's a place to take time out and consider what's happening and why it matters.

Our first issue is dedicated to Data – amongst a morass of information, how can you find the magic metrics that will help transform your business? We hope that you find inspiration, insights, and more, in Think Quarterly.

I've added some more pictures of the magazine under the jump. All of "Think Quarterly" is available on the website as well, where you can choose to read individual articles or view the magazine as a PDF.

(all images)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Christoph Niemann

Illustrator Christoph Niemann first caught my eye with his New Yorker covers.

I think his cover for this week's issue, concentrating on Japan, is especially good:

Niemann has also done work for a couple of books. Click below the jump to find out more.

(all images from Niemann's portfolio)


Dublin-based graphic designer Niall McCormack runs "Hitone: Vintage Irish Bookcovers". The site features bookcovers and more from the Irish state's first 50 years. I found so much awesome flipping through just a few pages of Niall's posts. Here are a few of my favorites:

I also love the simple design of the site itself.

If you have hours to spare, I recommend browsing the archives at Hitone.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Tom Allen

When I saw Jasper Fforde's "One of Our Thursdays is Missing" on NPR's Hardcover Fiction Bestsellers list this week, I recognized the cover art immediately. Tom Allen does some really fantastic work with vintage paperbacks.

After cutting and folding the images from paperbacks, he photographs them to create stunning, and sometimes slightly eerie images. Here are some of my favorites:

And, here's a video Allen created about his work:

(Allen art via Foley Gallery )

Thursday, March 17, 2011


I think I'm still going through LOST withdrawls. Everytime I see anything related to the series, I get way too excited about it and every so often, I'll hold up my hand to a window and whisper "not Penny's boat".

Anywayyy, check out this book cover concept from Sean Hartter for a LOST choose your own adventure book.

Looove it.


(cover, character)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Portraits of the Mind

"Portraits of the Mind" is a book about the history of our exploration and understanding of the brain through images. The cover is simple and I like it, but I'm really posting about this book because I think the content is fascinating. Watch the video below if you don't believe me.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Uppercase is getting ready to publish "Work/Life: The Uppercase Directory of Illustration, International Edition", a follow up to "Work/Life" which featured the work of Canadian illustrators. The new "Work/Life" looks awesome so far.

Plus, there is an iPhone app and although I hate to admit it, I am a slave to my iPhone.

You can view the first "Work/Life" in its entirety on the Uppercase website, and by CLICKING HERE

I also recommend Uppercase magazine. When I have a more steady income, a subscription will absolutely be in my name.

(all images)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Lady René

Lady René is a typeface created by Laura Varsky for Sudtipos. To illustrate its use, she created this little book that really is a work of art.

Download the little book as a PDF by CLICKING HERE.

(all images)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Review: So Much Pretty

"You should probably leave, though. You should probably leave Haedan."

After finishing Cara Hoffman’s “So Much Pretty”, I wanted to take a few hours to consider what I had just read before trying to write up a review. Take some time to separate myself from the end of the story, so I could reflect on the novel as a whole.

I watched television, went to the gym, spent some time with friends and even went to work. But during all of those activities, I was distracted. My mind was still in Haeden, my heart was still heavy for Wendy White, Alice Piper and Stacey Flynn.

It has been four days since I finished “So Much Pretty” and I am quite honestly not over it yet.

The reason “So Much Pretty” has been such a weight these past few days is because although it is a work of fiction, the problems in it are all too real. “So Much Pretty” uses a haunting intertwining of character perspectives to tell the story of girls gone missing in small town America. It makes the reader confront issues like the abuse of women, rape and murder and the blind eye turned to all women’s issues.

In “So Much Pretty”, local reporter Stacey Flynn knows there is something more to the latest disappearances in Haeden, a town run by the local Dairy and the idea that “attitude is more important than facts”. “So Much Pretty” follows Flynn as she digs to uncover the truth behind the disappearances of Wendy White and Alice Piper.

I know this book sounds super depressing, and it kind of is, but is also one of the best books I have read recently. I don’t want to give any more of the story line away, because I really do encourage everyone to read this. I had trouble putting it down, especially toward the end, and when I finished reading it, “So Much Pretty” was all I wanted to talk to people about.

“So Much Pretty” is a book I hope to see on Women’s History Month reading lists. Cara Hoffman is confronting real issues that can’t be ignored any longer and she’s doing it well. 

To learn more about "So Much Pretty" and purchase your own copy, CLICK HERE

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Can't Unsee

I just saw David Brooks' interview on The Colbert Report. When I saw the cover for his book "The Social Animal" it reminded me of the cover for Steve Martin's "An Object of Beauty". They obviously have their differences but now I can't unsee the similarities.

This all reminds me that I still haven't picked-up a copy of "An Object of Beauty".

Writing Hut

Michael Pollan just keeps getting cooler and cooler. (In case I haven't mentioned it enough, he is the author of one of my favorite books: "The Omnivore's Dilemma"). He has a writing hut. How awesome. I'd love to have a little creative space like this.

(pictures, pollan)

Tuesday, March 08, 2011


I've already posted my review for James Frey's "Bright Shiny Morning" (recap: I loved it), but I wanted to do another post because of this latest and greatest discovery. You are listening to Los Angeles is an eerily beautiful website, and a total gold mine for journalism nerds who love the constant sound of a police scanner in the newsroom.

As soon as I heard about this site and started listening, I thought immediately of "Bright Shiny Morning", Frey's novel about various LA transplants. The perfect combination.
This post may have inspired me to start a "READ & HEARD" series. We'll see...

(photo mine, screen grap)

REMINDERS: Colors and Cake

I saw both of these images within a minute of each other this morning. They match up so perfectly and I was instantly reminded of a childhood birthday party.

Now I'm craving cake.

See more reminders here

(cake, book)

Monday, March 07, 2011

A Collection A Day update

I've mentioned before just how much I love Lisa Congdon's website "A Collection A Day". Her collections are being put into book form by Uppercase books and a video preview was just released.

 The tin looks pretty cool and the book/tin combo is still available on pre-order for only $25. I need to remember to grab my own copy.

(video via Flickr)

Friday, March 04, 2011


I was inspired by this image of Andy Warhol's "A Gold Book" to do a roundup of some colorful (duh) Andy covers.

(1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, gold book, flowers)

REMINDERS: Warm Colors

The colors in this Kate Spade ad reminded me of this photograph from Zack Bent's title-removing series.
(ad, books)

Marcell the Shell

Today I read the most wonderful news. The "Marcel the Shell with Shoes On" video is being turned into a picture book.

The video, created by SNL cast member Jenny Slate and Dean Fleischer-Camp, is absolutely hysterical. In the video, Marcel tells us all about his life as a shell, the ups and downs and the routine of his daily life. It is adorable.

In case you haven't seen the video yet, you should watch it now:

According to Publisher's Weekly, the book, to be published by Razorbill, will feature oil paintings based on photos of Marcel. An interactive version of the book and a downloadable digital audio version will also be available.

(all images screen capped from video)

Thursday, March 03, 2011

World Book Day

Apparently it is World Book Day. Shouldn't everyday be World Book Day?

I'm heading to Michigan for the weekend, so although I suppose this should be a day of super-book blogging, it will not be. Instead, here is what I am currently reading.

Before bed reads: "No One Belongs Here More Than You" by Miranda July, "Fargo Rock City" by Chuck Klosterman
On the el reads: "20 Under 40: Stories From the New Yorker"
All the other times: "So Much Pretty" by Cara Hoffman

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Total Design!

"TD 63-73" is a pretty good looking book about good looking design.

"TD 63-73: Total Design and its pioneering role in graphic design" is a unique insider’s account of the evolution of Total Design, one of the most important and influential design groups in the history of visual design. Written by Ben Bos, it contains hundreds of images from the TD archive, and in Ben Bos’s text the reader is given an ‘up close and personal’ history of a design group that remains as important today as it did when it launched in the icy winter of 1963.
The book isn't available until April 2011 but if you pre-order it now, you can get free postage to anywhere in the whole world. Cool! 

(all images)

Carine Brancowitz

Carine Brancowitz has a really nice illustration style. I love the colors and patterns that fill her images. Plus, much of her personal work features books.

See more of Carine's illustrations under the jump.

(found via Supersonicelectronic / all images)

Tuesday, March 01, 2011


It's no secret I love graph paper. It's no secret I love graphs. It's no secret I can not stand Elizabeth Gilbert. All reasons I am having a serious love-hate relationship with the cover for "Spousonomics".

I have searched the internet high and low and can't figure out who designed it. Next time I'm in a book store I'm going to figure it out.

I just wish Liz would stop ruining things that have so much potential.

(cover image)

Book Cover Potential, V : Joe

This image is actually my friend Joe's profile picture on Facebook, but I think it would look pretty cool on a book cover. 

Here's why:
  • I love how grainy and pixelated the image is, especially because it involves drinking. Joe said the image is like that because it is a picture he took on is phone of one block on a photo strip.
  • The muted colors
  • The idea that the picture is so focused on one person. You can tell other people are in the background but just the subject is fully visible. I think this would work well for a biography or autobiography cover.
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