Wednesday, May 05, 2010

For The Love of Artifacts

There's a simple reason I eschew e-readers: there's no artifact. There's no weight of the book in your hand, no turning of pages to dog ear. What I would miss more than anything, though, is cover art. Collector of paperback editions that I am, cover art is where it's at. In honor of great cover illustrations, I chose a few from off my shelf to pine a bit. The image above from Stephen King's short story collection, Night Shift, is a real showstopper. I may not want to give it a high five but one look at that cover and I'm compelled to read the book.

I'm not even a Thomas Pynchon fan, but when I saw this paperback the other day, next thing I knew I was buying it. For three bucks you could do a lot worse than this little gem. V is Pynchon's first novel and the only one I've not read, so who knows, the Dali-esque cover might make me into a fan after all. The text at the top creates a nice balance and anchors what might otherwise be a weird concept.

Ah, Philip K Dick, my old friend. Here we have not only an arresting image of genuflecting freak man (he's the title character) but a title that demands your attention. When it comes to titles, Dick had a special gift. I like that The Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch is implied here (the stigmata is) by the halo and contrasted nicely with what appear to be Pterodactyl wings depending from his shoulders. This dude is not invited to my next party.

I saved the best for last. If not for the cover art on this paperback copy, I might have gone my life without reaping the enjoyment of Shirley Jackson's prose. She is a terrific writer and We Have Always Lived in the Castle is one of her best. This is also one of my favorite book covers. The black windblown tresses draw you right into that staring eye and give it incredible power.


Lidian said...

I like book covers (older ones, like these) too - and holding the actual book is lovely, too.

And I agree that Jackson is an amazing writer - she is one of my favorites.

FishHawk said...

Was the movie, "Night Shift," based on Stephen King's book? I can't remember who starred in it, and I'm being too lazy to look it up right now, but I do remember that it was quite entertaining. Speaking of such, "Night Shift," by The Commodores, is one of my all-time favorite songs.

James MacAdam said...

FishHawk, the movie has nothing to do with the book. I presume you refer to the Henry Winkler/Michael Keaton comedy directed by Ron Howard:

I remember liking that movie but haven't seen it for eons. The Commodores song, however, does get regular play around here.

FishHawk said...

No, the movie I'm thinking of was
very high drama (but not quite a horror flick) about a guy working the night shift in a morgue, with something about a dirty cop.