BOOK BY ITS COVER

Well, we have lots of pretty books for you to feast your eyes on today. I for one am picking out my summer reading this week and deciding how many books I can feasibly read in ten days. So if you need some inspiration for your holiday reading list, check out these delights…

Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussmann (Picador)
Just buy this book. Not only has it got an awesome cover that perfectly captures the sultry post-World War II glamour of the East Coast, but it’s a cracking debut novel to boot. At the end of the war, cousins Nick and Helena, who have grown up sharing lazy summers at Tiger House on Martha’s Vineyard, head off to begin their new married lives. But neither finds the life they imagined and the summers that continue to be spent at Tiger House take a decidedly sinister turn.

The Human Part by Kari Hotakainen (MacLehose Press)
This laugh-out-loud piece of satire is about an elderly woman who sells her life to a writer she meets at a book fair. Funny and precise, it plays on the absurdities of modern society. I really love the cover too – as quirky as the book itself!

Philida by Andre Brink (Harvill Secker)
Aha, our first 2012 Man Booker longlister. And this one should win if the prize was based on judging a book by its cover. The design has a lino-cut effect that allows for a great deal of texture while they’ve kept the colour simple. It’s a beautiful work of art and a very effective cover design. I particularly love the scroll used for the title and author name. The eponymous heroine in this novel set in the early 19th century is a slave who embarks on a quest for freedom after the son of her master reneges on a promise to set her free.

The Dog Stars by Peter Heller (Headline Review)
Such a gorgeous book! I love the faded type and the night sky peppered with a million tiny stars. A few of which are picked out in silver foil – a really beautiful touch. This cover conveys something of loneliness though, too. The book is set in a dystopian world where the main character, Hig, is left with nothing and no one to live for, save his dog and his surly neighbour Bangley. This book is endearing, heart-warming and tear-jerking in equal measure.

The Housemaid’s Daughter by Barbara Mutch (Headline Review)
A double whammy from Headline Review this week as, alongside The Dog Stars, they are also publishing this rather lovely debut this month. The book is about a woman who travels to South Africa in the early 20th century and the friendship that blooms between her and her housemaid’s daughter, Ada. The cover is stunning. The smouldering red and yellow perfectly evoke the baking South African setting, and the use of silhouettes is very striking. Bizarrely, the type is identical to the one used for the title of The Dog Stars. Someone obviously has a soft spot for this font.

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