29 June 2009

Ancient Industries and My Book Covers- Judging Her Books


"Golden the light on the locks of Myfanwy,
Golden the light on the book on her knee,
Finger marked pages of Rackham's Hans Anderson,
Time for the children to come down to tea."
John Betjeman

My Book Covers! I absolutely Love, Megan Wilson's blog- because of course I love books! I am mad about them- I am such a visual person-a good thing- because I am a horror at names, dates and math! I do judge books by covers- they can sell a book quicker than a good review. When I go book shopping for specific titles and have options- the cover art on a book will put IT over the top- the other left on the dusty shelf-figuratively speaking. Megan designs and selects book covers! Her Book Picks will fill you in.

(One of My recent Megan Wilson designed Book Cover acquisitions, how could I resist Twiggy & Cecil Beaton?)

Some of My Favorite Vintage Book Covers from My Library

Megan's other blog is Ancient Industries- equally alluring and all Visual. You must go see it.

What Books are on your Summer reading list?

Because I design book covers, a lot of my summer reading has been decided for me. Actually not strictly true: it was my suggestion that we publish the first 4 Fitzgerald books which are freshly out of copyright.

the Fitzgerald Covers

Vintage Classics.
Painting by J. C. Leyendecker

Vintage Classics.
Painting from the Illustrated London News

So I'll be obliged to re-read The Beautiful and Damned and Tales of the Jazz Age, boo Hoo. For pleasure I want to immerse myself in John Betjeman, with whom I am carrying on a posthumous love affair. Is there one book you honestly don¹t expect to get to? Why?

I honestly don't expect to get to any bestsellers this summer because I cannot read something that everybody else is reading.

Book Stacks (Megan's Library)

Where do you read and When? Does the genre you are reading dictate the place you read- in other words, Do you take just any old book to bed?

I wish I could say that I only read Trollop in the conservatory and Austen in a hammock slung across the corner of the ballroom, but I read in bed, almost always. The most indulgent time for me to read in bed is after breakfast, with more fortifying tea.

What does your nightstand look like? or your side of the bed, floor, chair!

Megan says "I did not choose these books by their colour--just a coincidence. I've started all of them; finished none."

What is your all time Favorite Book for its sense of place?

It might have to be Brideshead--whether in Venice or Oxford or Charles' father's house in London or Brideshead, or the war later on--it's all so deeply THERE.

another Brideshead pick, (see Mrs. Blandings book picks)

What is your Security Blanket Book?

Anything by PG Wodehouse or any given Mitford sister.

Vintage Books. Photograph by Cecil Beaton

one of My favorites of Megan's Book Covers

Here have Nancy Mitford and Cecil Beaton- Another irresistible cover- I have this copy. Again- the Mitfords, a Mrs. Blandings obsession and one of my own Summer Books- The Letters of the Mitford Sisters.

What is your favorite Genre and

Fiction written between the wars, because it was a very ripe time on both sides of the Atlantic.

What is your most recent purchase in this category?

I'm afraid I can't remember the last book I bought because of my job, and because I live with a book maniac, who does all the purchasing. This enables me to just nip into the library at home and pick up something I fancy, usually in an a lovely old edition.

What about Books you are reading for a second or third time?Any disappointments on second reading?

I just re-read the whole of JD Salinger, which of course made a tremendous impact during adolescence. I was a bit disappointed I'm afraid--his obsession with the Glass family is maniacal and dull. The non-Glass stories are still tremendous though. I would love to re-read The New Confessions by William Boyd, one of our greatest living authors. It is a perfect epic novel from start to finish; I enjoy knowing that it it there waiting for me.

What is the seminal book in your field or your passion that you would recommend to young would be(s) of the same?

A Designer's Art, by Paul Rand.

Latest Obsession Author, Designer, Photographer?

In order: John Betjeman, David Gentleman (an illustrator with a strong sense of design), the photographs from Lady Ottoline Morrell's photo albums at the National Portrait Gallery, London.

Lady Ottoline Morrell

I don't have to tell you, Book covers can be art- Do you have a favorite cover in your stacks?

I am very fond of artists as book cover designers, when the type and image are hand rendered by the artist. For example: Vanessa Bell, William Nicholson , Edward Gorey, the young Andy Warhol, Ben Shahn, Christopher Silas Neal (contemporary).

the Very Thing- Books Covers Megan loves from Her Library

What is on Your Book List? Your favorite Genre? Security Blanket Book? Your latest Obsession? Or what do you like from MW's list?
I'd love to hear from you-and I will pick a winner from the comments and you will have YOUR PICK from The Summer Reading BOOK LIST posted on the 16th-june YOUR PICK!

* megan's interview with a bloomsbury life


  1. Again, I love this series! a wonderful post and I love the book covers!

  2. I would LOVE to play in her library.

  3. Marvelous treat!! This post was a delight. Summer just means books to me. Of course, every season pretty much means books to me.

    I adore Megan's work. Wonderfully enticing covers. I just today picked up the new Kate Morton, The Forgotten Garden, ... it has a beautifully designed cover. Both inside and out.

  4. Great covers - it would seem we can trust appearances in all these cases. I've wondered how Salinger would hold up too. There's a time for everything; is it the times or our perspective that changes our outlook?

  5. It's a great moment when a book cover catches your eye and instantly conveys the fantasyland contained inside - even if in the end that's not the case. I've bought books simply for the covers and then never read them, I just liked looking at them and had more fun imagining what was inside. (Not sure I should have admitted that.)

    Flappers and Philosophers is fantastic! And how could you resist the Pursuit of Love... based on their facades?

  6. thanks Elizabeth! and Yes Jezebel-wouldn't we just! G.

  7. Le Style!Aren't they Great covers! - I think for me it is my age! Each time I re read a book I see it in a new light. Whether a deeper meaning, a little frivolity missed or a disappointment. The book hasn't changed- I have. We know ourselves through books. I LOVE your BLOG!! la

  8. Denise- I agree- the covers are complete seduction. That Pursuit cover is confection- that is Nancy Lancaster herself-which is double the pleasure. thank you for stopping in. la

  9. Megan's book covers are fabulous! Of course, they are just as fabulous between the covers too. I am enjoying getting caught up on what been going on over here!

  10. I collect Megan's covers, which are frequently better than the books: "Appointment in Samarra" an especially glaring example.

  11. W. I agree. in fact I have gotten some of hers recently and they are hard to find! They must be sought after. G



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