Recommended Reading: Clare Beams writes for Ploughshares about the effect of reading a story in which someone reads a story.
“Creating a unique package for a book is really about making potential readers see the book as a singular thing in a sea of sameness. Something that has a soul.” Jason Booher talks with Slate Book Review about the process of designing book covers in general and the cover of Forensic Songs, dubbed “the most awesome book cover of the summer,” in particular.
As an appetizer, consider Rick Poyner’s take on the work of Pierre Faucheux, a book designer Richard Hollis called “the single most important figure in French graphic design after Cassandre.” For the main course, check out this incredible Book Cover Archive edited and maintained by Ben Pieratt and Eric Jacobsen. Finally, as dessert, nominate your favorite book designs from 2011 for Design Observer’s “50 Books/50 Covers” contest.
Comics fans will know that a new Marvel storyline may — just possibly — reunite Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson. This has, understandably, produced a range of reactions, not least of which is this piece by Ta-Nehisi Coates, who argues that the two embody a healthy marriage. “[Their] marriage was a rejection of the macho ideal of romance—which reigns even among nerds—and it mirrored and confirmed my own budding sense of what love was at a very young age,” he writes. You could also read Paul Morton on the character of Peter Parker.
“White Americans do not realize how black they are,” writes Andrew Sullivan at the Daily Dish. If, upon reading Sullivan, you find yourself questioning your racial identity, try the blog Stuff White People Like–sure, most of it is really stuff that dinks and yuppies like (class trumps race, as Walter Ben Michaels explains at the LRB), but it might help you brush up on the ways and loves of white folks: camping, pea coats, hating your parents, Wes Anderson, diversity, sushi, standing still at concerts…