You know you are having way too much fun doing homework when you are chuckling maniacally to yourself as you work on the assignment. But when I was charged with finding the worst covers I could possibly find and then redesigning them, I couldn’t help it. The originals are bad. So so bad.
I decided that this project would be even more fun, and frankly easier, if I chose books I own and have read. That also means I have to fess up: yes, I have actually read these books.
And the thing is, they are all GOOD books, high up on my list, though you would never know it from their covers. Trust me; hide their covers with a paper bag and read them.
And the very best part of this assignment? The originals are so awful, poor things, that no matter what you do, your version looks fabulous in comparison.
Here goes nothing:
Feeling Sorry For Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty
Does this cover appeal? I think not. Ugh, I promise you, there are no mournful girls staring out windows in this book. Libby, the main character, has a more than slightly eccentric best friend named Celia. Celia runs away to the circus, thus the stripes on my cover. The book is utterly charming because it is written entirely in letters and notes: notes from Libby’s mom tacked on the fridge, letters to and from her pen pal, letters to her divorced dad. And letters from organizations like The Association of Teenagers and The Society of High School Runners Who Aren’t Very Good At Long Distance Running but Would Be if they Just Trained. No insipid stock-photo-girls here.
The Mapmaker by Frank G. Slaughter
This is a good, old-fashioned 1950s action-adventure novel. There is Venetian intrigue, pining love, heroic escapes from slave ships, contests involving gold, daring-do at sea, and maps. As the New York Times says on the front of my copy, it’s “A seafaring yarn…fascinating.” How can you resist? One look at that cover, that’s how. One of my classmates asked me if he is wearing pants in that picture. No he is not. He is wearing tights.
The Alleluia Files by Sharon Shinn
I saved the best for last. As you very well know, I love this series, and the cover is the most embarrassing thing on the face of the planet. When I found this book at Powell’s, you and Stephi laughed so hard I couldn’t bring myself to take it up to the cashier. Stupid cover. It’s actually a really fun book, in a junk-food-for-the-brain kind-of-way (that was an excessive amount of hyphens, apologies). If you can believe it, it’s actually sci-fi. Ok, sci-fi-romance with angels. But at no point can I recall an angel flying aloft, naked, with a strategically placed bed sheet.
I realize my cover is excessively sci-fi. But, come on. I had to compensate for THAT.
Now I want to see the worst covers on YOUR shelves. I bet you have some doozies.
I’m sorry I’ve been MIA this week. I was lost to finals and I think my brain has melted. Once I’ve recovered I will write a real post!
I have been reading Wildwood by Colin Meloy and Carson Ellis this past week to keep myself sane. It is a lovely book! Thank you Katie for the recommendation. It’s set in an alternate Portland and the story feels a bit reminiscent of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Except instead of a wardrobe its a bridge, instead of England its Portland, and instead of a separate world like Narnia, Wildwood is part of our own. And there’s no Christian overtones.
Ok, it’s nothing like Narnia except for the talking animals in waistcoats and an evil queen (or dowager governess).
According to the map at the front of the book my house would be in the middle of the Impassable Wilderness. Should I be worried?
I know that complaining about PSU’s communication is soo last semester (I work at an academic press; I can still use the semester as a unit of time) but I’ve just received an email that I think demands some newly revised complaint.
The text is as follows:
This message serves as a follow-up to a recent email that you
received from Portland State University about opportunities to live on campus. In our previous email, we offered our congratulations on your recent acceptance to the University. Please note that the Admissions office is still reviewing your application at this time and will notify you by mail once a decision has been reached.
We apologize for any confusion that our email may have caused.
Now, I’ve been sending out a LOT of email campaigns at work, and the ways we flag certain names for certain lists is certainly problematic. Emails go out to the same person twice because the “Remove Duplicate Entries” function requires the address to be an exact match. So when the University of Puget Sound rebranded a few years ago and all our school emails changed from @ups.edu to @pugetsound.edu, all of our professors on Paradigm’s list would have gotten two messages of everything we sent, even though they routed to the same place. It’s a nightmare.
But at least all of the people on our lists have–at some point–expressed interest in the topic (even if they later ask to be taken off the list).
Now, admittedly, I DID express interest in PSU. But:
1. I WAS accepted to PSU
2. I was already notified by mail
3. When applying, I clearly marked myself as an “Off Campus/Commuter” student
4. I’ve deferred my admission for over a year, and the original email was in regards to Winter housing
And I’ve gotten regular emails from both PSU and NYU in the wake of my deferral(s). I found the orientation reminders silly and the agendas a little sad, but I understood, at least, why I made it on the those lists.
And clearly this email is pretty harmless. But if I hadn’t been accepted already–if I’d gotten the first email and reacted as if it had been an actual acceptance–it would have been very far from harmless.
Now watch as I tie this tangentially-related-to-publishing anecdote back to Breaking Book News.
Did you hear about the National Book Awards nominations? Lauren Myracle’s Shine was withdrawn from the list after it was revealed that the NBA staff misheard Chime by Fanny Billingsley. Yikes. NBA is donating $5000 to the Matthew Shepard Foundation in support of Shine’s cause, but the damage has already been done. (Just read the comments on the Publisher’s Weekly article for a taste of the outrage) And although the mistake is giving Shine a LOT of attention, I don’t know if it quite makes up for such a heartbreaking oversight. As an industry, we trade in the specificity of language and the eloquence of the properly chosen word. Nothing is perfect, obviously, but if I have to attempt some kind of resolution to this post, I guess I would encourage us to be attentive to such details inside and outside the covers of the book.
Or, PERHAPS, in non-book related situations as well.
P.S. I’m not going to lie, a big incentive for this post was the opportunity to put something in the “Grad School” category
It’s very disorienting to be back on a college campus where 1. It’s raining (I’m still use to SoCal weather) 2. I have no idea what’s going on. This isn’t undergrad anymore. I haven’t lived on this campus for four years and know every building’s courtyard and twisty back hall. Apparently, as grad students we are suppose to know what we are doing. Therefore our guidance from PSU has been pretty much nonexistent.
I had “orientation” (a couple hours of talks) on Friday. Let the first-day overeager meet-and-greet dance begin! You know, the mad dash to meet everyone and make friends with everyone. It goes something like this:
HI HI HI, my name is Kelsey! I’m new too! You’re in my class! I’m NICE! I promise! I’m NOT SCARY! Will you be my FRIEND? PLEASE? PLEASE? Look! Another NEW PERSON! HI! *repeat*
Oof, it’s exhausting.
I woke up at 6:30am this morning with a weird sense of déjà vu. That’s the time I use to wake up for high school. I am none too pleased about this schedule arrangement.
Fortunately my Intro to Publishing class seems pretty sweet. Though we do learn some publishing history background, it is mostly about modern publishing. You know, actually practical and applicable information. This means: Assigned blog subscriptions, discussion through class blog posts, twitter account required. Sounds like my kind of place!
Just for future information, the keystone to my publishing program is Ooligan Press, which is a completely student-run press. We had our first meeting today. Though all the information was overwhelming, it is amazingly cool to hear that “this is your press” and we should take it as seriously as a job. It is a real publishing house, though it may be an usual one! It was also heartening to hear from the outgoing program director that he believes this is the most exciting time to be in the industry because we can reinvent the publishing world. I tend to agree with my intro teacher in my reaction to that proposition: “Awesome. Horribly terrifying. But awesome.”
All in all, first day of Grad school? Exactly like all past first days of schools with its huge info dumps mixed with social confusion. Except for one major difference: everyone has chosen to be here.
Now I have to go do homework