Literary Corner Cafe

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Cover Art - Again

I was talking about cover art a few days ago. Well, I was very excited about the publication of Jeffrey Eugenides' anthology of love stories, My Mistress's Sparrow is Dead: Great Love Stories from Chekhov to Munro.

While I despise romances (though they do have their place, I'm not going to put them down, it's all personal preference), I do love love stories. Good love stories. Well written love stories. This anthology promised to live up to my high standards. It contains twenty-six love stories and is six hundred eight pages long. And it's hardcover. Anyone who knows me, knows how much I cherish my hardcover books.

Well, I went to my local Barnes and Noble, very excited about buying the book, only to be totally put off by the cover art - a full color drawing of an anatomical human heart. Now, I don't know about you, but when I think of love and love stories, I don't think of the anatomical version of the human heart. That's just gross. In the end, I didn't buy the book. In the end, I didn't buy any books that day.

You might think not buying the book was stupid of me, and in truth, it may very well be. And I might reconsider and buy the book despite my aversion to its cover art. But this is just an example of how cover art, for good or ill, affects those of us who are very visually inclined.

Cover art aside, I was pleased to see some authors included (Milan Kundera, James Joyce, Anton Chekhov, Guy de Maupassant, Robert Musil, William Faulkner, Issac Babel, William Trevor), but dismayed to see a few notables left out (Ivan Bunin, Dostoyevsky, D.H. Lawrence, Banana Yoshimoto, Dylan Thomas, Alexandros Papadiamantis). However, if you're still looking for a belated Valentine's Day gift (and you really shouldn't be), My Mistress's Sparrow Is Dead might be just what you're looking for - if you can get past the nauseating cover art. LOL

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