Books About Books Are the Best Kind of Books

Jon Foro on September 13, 2018
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Bibliophile.jpgIllustrator and designer Jane Mount loves books, and as founder of Ideal Bookshelf—a company that makes things for book lovers—she's created the perfect job for herself. Her latest project, Bibliophile: An Illustrated Miscellany, is a collection of literary people, places, and things, including stunning bookstores from around the globe, writers's studios, and quizzes to delight any bookworm.

Enjoy these samples from the book, and if the book is not enough, check out her related Bibliophile notecards, planner, and jigsaw puzzle

Click on the images for larger (and legible) versions. 


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STRIKING LIBRARIES

BEINECKE RARE BOOK & MANUSCRIPT LIBRARY, YALE UNIVERSITY
New Haven, Connecticut, USA
Designed by Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
Opened in 1963

The building has no windows, in order to keep direct sunlight from harming the rare books, but the very thin marble walls let low light in during the day. At night the building glows from the interior lighting within.

The collection inside includes a Gutenberg Bible from 1454 (one of only 48 known copies) and the mysterious medieval Voynich manuscript, which is filled with indecipherable text, strange diagrams, and illustrations of bizarre plants.

THE RAMPUR RAZA LIBRARY
Rampur, Uttar Pradesh, India
Opened in 1904

Nawab Faizullah Khan began collecting items for the library in 1774, and later nawabs (governors) continued to do so. It’s now one of the largest collections of Indo-Islamic cultural materials in the world, including 17,000 manuscripts, 60,000 printed books, calligraphy specimens, miniature paintings, astronomical instruments, and rare coins.

The building was originally part of a palace, but is now run by the Indian government.

BIBLIOTECA CENTRAL, UNIVERSIDAD NACIONAL AUTÓNOMA DE MÉXICO (CENTRAL LIBRARY, NATIONAL AUTONOMOUS UNIVERSITY OF MEXICO)
Mexico City, Mexico
Designed by Gustavo Saavedra and Juan Martínez de Velasco
Opened in 1956

The giant mosaic murals were created by architect and artist Juan O’Gorman and tell the full history of Mexico.

To create the mosaic, O’Gorman worked with a geologist to collect stones in 150 different natural colors from all around Mexico.

VENNESLA BIBLIOTEK OG KULTURHUS (VENNESLA LIBRARY AND CULTURE HOUSE)
Vennesla, Norway
Designed by Helen & Hard Architects
Opened in 2011

Twenty-seven wooden ribs form the framework of the building, which includes a library, a café, and a meeting area. Above, the ribs form the roof support and house the lighting, and below they transform into shelving and comfortable seating areas.

The ribs overhead make you think of being inside a whale, but it’s a very warm and cozy whale.

GOOKLEEJOONGAHNG DOSOKWAN (NATIONAL LIBRARY OF KOREA, SEJONG)
Sejong City, South Korea
Designed by Samoo Architects & Engineers
Opened in 2013

With the shape of the building, the architects wanted to evoke a page of a book being turned over. There are many books inside, and a café overlooking an excellent view of a lake.

Sejong City is a new capital city, opened in 2012 to be the home of most South Korean government facilities and agencies, moving them out of Seoul.


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ICONIC COVERS

Books were originally hand-bound and expensive. They originally had leather covers meant to protect the paper within, but in the early 19th century new machines allowed for cloth covers. Dust jackets were invented to protect nice fabric, at least until a buyer got the book home. But around the 1830s, publishers saw an opportunity and began to market the book on the jacket.

At the end of the century, The Yellow Book, a literature quarterly, began using avant-garde designs on its covers, many by Aubrey Beardsley, its first art editor. In the 1920s, during the inspiring postwar period of Soviet and German design, publishers began turning to artists for covers, and by the mid-20th century designers were creating striking, unforgettable combinations of images and type.

THE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Scribners 1925 hardcover, art by Francis Cugat

Fitzgerald was still writing the novel when Cugat, a Spanish artist, was hired to illustrate the cover. The writer loved it and told his publisher that he had “written it into the book.” It was the only cover Cugat ever designed, and he was paid $100 for it.

MOBY DICK by Herman Melville
Random House 1930 hardcover, art by Rockwell Kent

THREE LIVES by Gertrude Stein
New Directions New Classics hardcover 1945, design by Alvin Lustig

In less than10 years Lustig designed more than 70 amazing modern covers for New Directions’ New Classics series. He worked on the series right up until his death in 1955, at age 40, from diabetes that he’d developed as a teenager.

THE DAY OF THE LOCUST by Nathanael West
New Directions New Classics hardcover 1950, design by Alvin Lustig

THE SCARLET LETTER by Nathaniel Hawthorne
World Publishing Co. 1946 hardcover, art by Nell Booker

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE by J. D. Salinger
Little, Brown 1951 hardcover, design by E. Michael Mitchell

Salinger had strong opinions about the covers of his books and insisted the only copy that could appear on them were his name and the book’s title (no blurbs, bios, or summary). He and Mitchell, who drew the carousel horse, had been friends for over 40 years, having met as neighbors in Westport, Connecticut.

INVISIBLE MAN by Ralph Ellison
Random House 1952 hardcover, design by Edward McKnight Kauffer

McKnight Kauffer designed advertising posters, including many for the London Underground and American Airlines. He considered book jackets to be mini-posters.

CHANCE by Joseph Conrad
Doubleday Anchor 1957 paperback, art by Edward Gorey

Gorey is better known for the books he both wrote and illustrated, like “The Gashlycrumb Tinies,” but he also designed many covers while working in the Doubleday art department in the 1950s.

ATLAS SHRUGGED by Ayn Rand
Random House 1957 hardcover, design by George Salter

DUBLINERS by James Joyce
Compass 1959 paperback, design by Ellen Raskin

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee
Lippincott 1960 hardcover, design by Shirley Smith

ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST by Ken Kesey
Viking Press 1962 hardcover, design by Paul Bacon

Bacon designed covers for more than 6,500 books and was known for the “big book look,” with large type and simple, colorful imagery. About the design process, he once said, “I’d always tell myself, ‘You’re not the star of the show. The author took three-and-a-half years to write the goddamn thing, and the publisher is spending a fortune on it, so just back off.’”

THE BELL JAR by Sylvia Plath
Faber 1966 hardcover, design by Shirley Tucker

To create the unforgettable cover image, Tucker used a drafting compass to make wider and wider circles, then cropped it perfectly.

A CLOCKWORK ORANGE by Anthony Burgess
Penguin 1972 paperback, design by David Pelham

Pelham was Penguin’s art director and had hired an illustrator to create an image for the cover that would feel like a movie poster, since Stanley Kubrick’s movie was soon to be released. When the illustrator fell through, he created the enduring image himself, very last-minute.


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FICTIONAL PLANET UNIVERSE

Name the book or comic in which each of the below planets exists (some appear in more than one) and the author. (Please note the images are not to scale nor, perhaps, accurately colored.)

[If you don't feel like standing on your head to read the answers, they are listed at the bottom of this page—Ed.

1) Arrakis
2) Asteroid B-612
3) Kern’s World
4) Trantor
5) Shis’urna
6) Shikasta
7) Camazotz
8) Barrayar
9) Tralfamadore
10) Gethen
11) Zorg
12) Ego
13) Riverworld
14) Thalassa
15) Barsoom
16) Klendathu
17) Landfall & Wreath 18) Nasqueron
19) Solaris
21) Lusitania
20) Mare Infinitus
22) Ballybran
23) Krypton
24) Darkover
25) Maui-Covenant



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ANSWERS TO THE FICTIONAL PLANET UNIVERSE QUIZ

1) Dune by Frank Herbert; 2) The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry; 3) Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky; 4) Foundation by Isaac Asimov; 5) Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie; 6) Shikasta by Doris Lessing; 7) A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle; 8) Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold; 9) Slaughterhouse-five by Kurt Vonnegut; 10) The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin; 11) Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson; 12) Thor by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby; 13) To Your Scattered Bodies Go by Philip José Farmer; 14) The Songs of Distant Earth by Arthur C. Clarke; 15) A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs; 16) Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein; 17) Saga by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples; 18) The Algebraist by Iain M. Banks; 19) Solaris by Stanislaw Lem; 20) Endymion by Dan Simmons; 21) Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card; 22) The Crystal Singer by Anne McCaffrey; 23) Superman by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster; 24) The Planet Savers by Marion Zimmer Bradley; 25) Hyperion by Dan Simmons


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