Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Nine of the best art-and-book-cover matches

"[S]ometimes a savvy [book cover] designer finds an extant piece of art that’s so perfect it seems as if it were created just to be put on the jacket," writes Gabe Habash for PWxyz, the news blog of Publishers Weekly. One of his top nine examples to fit that bill:
Underworld by Don DeLillo

The art on the cover: New York, 1972 by André Kertész

The iconic photo was taken the year before the official dedication ceremony for the World Trade Center, from Kertész’s apartment.

The story behind the choice for the photo as the cover, according to Don DeLillo’s Underworld: A Reader’s Guide:

Troubling yet inarguably heavy-handed in its dialectic, the image, even when the novel appeared in 1997, seemed to fit too perfectly DeLillo’s examination of the postmodern wasteland and the bleak possibilities of spiritual renewal in the age of multinational capital. With a foreboding play of light and shadow, Kertész’s photograph suggest a dystopian metropolis [...] DeLillo himself found the photograph but was worried that it might be too religious. His editor at Scribner, Nan Graham, then hired a photo researcher to find a cover image: “she came back with the same image DeLillo had found on his own” (Passaro, “Don DeLillo and the Towers”).
Read about the other books and covers on Habash's list.

Underworld is on Alex Cross's top ten list of long books and Chad Harbach's top five list of notable novels with sporting themes.

--Marshal Zeringue