Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Form and content on book covers

I was a bit of a formalist when I studied art history.

With that in mind, see if you can figure out why I like these covers of three of James R. Benn 's Billy Boyle novels — especially if you've read the books.


© Peter Rozovsky 2010

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76 Comments:

Blogger seana said...

Well, I'm not a formalist, so it's perhaps easier to understand why I like them too. They look great together like that. One problem that they have on an actual bookstore bookshelf is that they are slightly larger than most trade paperbacks, which shouldn't matter, but does.

October 27, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

I like these covers also because they're more artistic than many, with shadings of color and a good backdrop.

October 27, 2010  
Blogger Solea said...

Because they look like GI Joe and have a general 40's/50's look about them?

October 27, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Seana, they're larger than Soho Crime's trade paperbacks, too. I think I heard that Benn was going to be moved over to Soho's crime line. What this means in practical terms, I don't know. Maybe a reduction in size to that of most trade paperbacks.

These covers, and those of Benn's third and fourth novels, do look good together, with that consistent World War II poster-like look, bold colors, solid forms and so on. They could well look good to someone who doesn't know formalism from iconology.

Could their slightly larger size make them stand out -- and attract browsers?

October 27, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Kathy, I'm impressed that you noticed the backdrops. I have only just now noticed some soldiers in the misty background of the cover to "Evil For Evil."

October 27, 2010  
Blogger seana said...

Sadly, a slightly larger format, which might seem like a good idea from a publishing point of view, means that they don't fit into more standard cardboard displays sometimes. I've noticed over time that customers seem to be somewhat resistant to that size. I don't know why, I just report it to be the case. Here's a case where buying on line might eliminate that resistance. Although it might be a price point thing as well.

October 27, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Seana, that's another question I can ask my Soho friends the next time I see them: Why switch an author from the literary line to the crime imprint?

I don't know if I'd be more likely or less to buy James Benn's books in a slightly smaller size; it's what's within that counts. But, since you mention it, the size plus the attractive covers make for an distinctive package.

October 28, 2010  
Blogger seana said...

Who's the artist, I wonder?

October 28, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Jacket design by Amy C. King, jacket illustration by Daniel Cosgrove on the four books for which I can find credits.

October 28, 2010  
Blogger seana said...

Daniel Cosgrove is apparently much in demand. I found a link to his website, and learned along the way that he does postage stamps for express mail packages. One of the ones they showed was of Bixby Bridge, which is just down the coast from me, relatively speaking. But he's based in Chicago.

October 28, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Solea, there is that. The covers do very much suggest their time. But here's the reason for my formalism comment:

On each of the three covers, the most prominent figure is in the foreground, while the action is in the background -- interesting, I think. That figure is apart from the action and yet, by his gaze, his military attire and, on "Rag and Bone," his posture, drawn to it at the same time.

This is a very nice visual correlative to the stories, in which Billy Boyle is drawn into war and criminal investigation with some reluctance. I have seen any number of attractve covers, but I don't remember any others so perfectly matched to the story within.

October 28, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Seana:

Whoa, that car on Daniel Cosgrove's site would leap right off a book cover at me. The site says he enjoys creating designs that incorporate type. His Billy Boyle covers do a nice job of that, as well.

October 28, 2010  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

The second cover, I'm afraid, is a disaster. Why would they have spotlights on American aircraft as they are flying over London? To aid the Luftwaffe's night fighters? But it looks from the composition as if the bombers blew up the car so could this possibly be in Berlin? Why would an American soldier be standing so passively while they bombed Berlin - is he a prisoner of war? I'm confused. Also his formal pose is baffling. He's not standing at ease (the hands are laced incorrectly) and he's not running for cover. Maybe he's gone off his head?

October 28, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Well, the observer on the cover is probably meant to suggest the protagonist, who is Irish American and makes much of his pro-IRA uncle's and father's unease with his fighting alongside the English, so maybe he's driven nuts by conflict.

More seriously, I would suggest that the bomb clould to the right and the smoke from the car to the left function both as depicted objects and as dividing lines between different layers of depth. The events in each layer, in turn, happen at different times, even though they are bounded by common frame. It's a technique common in ancient Indian art and in late antique Western art, among other traditions.

I don't remember what event in the novel the aircraft refers to (and I trust you on matters of World War II aircraft), but the burning car is a very specific allusion to an event that has nothing to do with the Baby (or Little) Blitz.

Similarly, while I can't vouch for the correctness of his at-ease pose, once one recognizes that he is not a part of the scenes he appears to be observing, his apparent ease in the face of destruction becomes less puzzling. Indeed, the book is very much about young Billy's overconfidently observing everything around him even as he is forced into action.

So there.

October 28, 2010  
Blogger seana said...

Isn't it great how, way off in the distance you can ever so faintly discern those German operational helicopters?

October 28, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

And the little guy at the extreme lower right, looking skyward and shaking his fist in fury, visible only under extreme magnification and raking polarized light, looks, anachronistically, like Clive James.

October 28, 2010  
Anonymous adrian said...

Hey at least they're B17's. If they'd been B29's I would have gone nuts.

October 28, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Did you recognize them thanks to the blow-up I thoughtfully added?

October 28, 2010  
Anonymous adrian said...

Peter

Yes that was thoughtful. But the old Flying Fortress is pretty recognisable.

I havent read these books. Would you mind telling me what uniform he's wearing?

October 28, 2010  
Blogger Nan said...

Well, this posting and the conversation in the comments sure make for interesting reading. I so enjoyed the thoughts. I, too, love these covers. Another one I was smitten with was Bruno, Chief of Police, and I was sorry to see the style wasn't carried through to the second in the series. The covers to Helene Tursten's books are quite exquisite.

October 28, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Adrian, Billy Boyle is a second lieutenant on Gen. Eisenhower's staff at U.S. Army headquarters in London. I presume the uniform on the cover is mean to suggest that.

October 28, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Nan, is this the Bruno, Chief of Police cover you mean? It looks a bit like one of my Detectives Beyond Borders business cards. I have not read the books, but I might look into them. I've spent a bit of time on vacations in that part of France, and I retain an impression or two of what the villages are like.

The Helene Tursten covers I've seen fit Soho's standard (though distinctive) model. I like both photos on Detective Inspector Huss and the winter photo on The Glass Devil. A grand old house isolated by winter is an evocative motif.

October 28, 2010  
Blogger Yvette said...

Some thoughts:I love this style of illustration mimicking 1940's poster art. The three covers indicate that the books are a series, of course. The figure of Billy Boyle in the foreground on all three covers is nicely done. The title typeface is at the same angle on all three covers - same type as well- nice. Searchlight X's on all three in the background as well. To me these are symbolic covers - Know what I mean? Capsules. Notice that the first two covers show a kind of glorious war tableaux while the third is darker and less glorifyingly bright. Haven't read the third book, yet, Peter. Is it darker in tone?

In the second book - didn't Boyle spend a great deal of time in North Africa? Maybe that's what the cover represents. The archway makes me think so. Enemy planes get lit up from the ground don't they? Verismilitude doesn't matter too much to me if the artwork looks great - which this does.

I love when a publisher spends the money to commission great art and design for their books. It shows they care.

October 28, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Yvette, I mentioned above that the illustrator's Web site says he likes integrating type into his designs. I had not attached great significance to the searchlight X's, but you could be right.

I have read the first and fifth books, and I'm reading the fourth now. I know that the second does take place largely in North Africa and that the fourth book alludes to dark events in the third. That would explain the far more somber, even despairing, air of the third book's cover.

It's quite something that the covers can have such a consistent look even as each tells a distinct story. Yes, someone did a good job commissioning, choosing and executing these covers.

October 28, 2010  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter

I was puzzled by the strange tinge to his hat, but actually if he's working as a staff officer that might have been the case.

October 28, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

The hat has a yellowish tinge around the edges. We are meant to take this as illuminated by the flames, I think. I did look for pictures of what an American staff officer's uniforms might have looked like at the time, but I found nothing.

October 28, 2010  
Anonymous James R. Benn said...

Word from the author here: yes, those are B-17s on the cover of Billy Boyle, but they are not over London. They are meant to show the potential bombing of factories in Norway, under German occupation. It is more of a montage than the other covers, which depict specific scenes. Cheers,
Jim

October 28, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks. Does your comment imply that the illustrator and designer sought your advice or at least kept you abreast of their intentions?

October 28, 2010  
Anonymous James R. Benn said...

Yes; I'm an exception to the rule that authors don't have anything to do with covers. There was an early mistake on the first cover (post WWII burning car) which I caught, and from then on Soho has asked for ideas and feedback. It's fun, especially when we get to incorporate an iconic image such as St. Paul's in London for Rag And Bone.

October 28, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

Again, do like these covers, especially the shadings, colors and some subtlety.

On cover art, I like the covers on Andrea Camilleri's Inspector Montalbano books. They're not shocking. They have muted tones and suggest moods. They are artistic, look like thought was given to each one.

Also, once the Rap Sheet posted some of the covers of older books by Robert Parker in the Spenser series. They were very good.

Remember especially liking the one dealing with baseball as a theme.

October 28, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Kathy, Camilleri has been well-served by the covers to his English translations. I like the American editions' covers a lot and the UK covers even better. Camilleri's entry on the Fantastic Fiction site will let you look at the US and UK covers. I especially like the covers whose pastel colors suggest to me a sun-baked Mediterranean landscape.

October 28, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Jim, seeking authors' input sounds like a wise move. Readers do notice mistakes. I'll also keep my eyes open for future iconic images. The cover to Evil for Evil seems devoid of them, unless one considers Irish mist iconic.

October 28, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

The author adds this clarification of my comment above that "I think I heard that Benn was going to be moved over to Soho's crime line.":

"FYI: I'm not being moved to Soho Crime; they are re-issuing the books, starting with Billy Boyle, as part of Soho Crime in addition to the ongoing releases, which will retain the unique look. It is part of Soho's effort to widen the base of readers; the Soho Crime books will have their own look, the usual Soho Crime brand."

October 28, 2010  
Anonymous Adrian said...

Peter, James

Norway makes a lot more sense

Although...didn't the American bombers mostly go on daylight raids, especially when they were massed in tight formations and big numbers as depicted on the cover?

October 28, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Adrian, until Jim weighs in again, I'll note that he specified that the B17s are meant to show the potential bombing of Norwegian factories. Allied raids have not commenced at all, or certainly not to any great extent, during the novel. One of the book's plot strands, in fact, is whether to invade Norway now or later.

October 29, 2010  
Anonymous adrian said...

Peter

Ah that sounds interesting. I read a book last year called Masters and Commanders about the planners in chief on the allied side it explaineed how one of Churchill's big schemes was the invasion of Norway. Marshall, Eisenhower and Alan Brooke thought it was a pointless diversion so it never happened. Of course the heavy water plant at Telemark was repeatedly bombed for obvious reasons. But these bombings took place during daylight hours.

October 29, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

Yes. That is exactly why I like the Camilleri covers, the muted colors that suggest a sun-baked Mediterranean country.

I am not one to judge a book by its cover nor to buy a book based on its cover, however, this is an exception.

I find these covers so good and subtle and that the art conjures up the location, and yet plants the idea of a mystery, that I would buy these books--after reading the blurbs, of course--and knowing that Camilleri is a good writer.

Also, the cover designs seem like artwork, not computer graphics or colors just thrown together to create a splash. But they are artistic--not a small thing these days.

October 29, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Adrian, Benn always includes a short afterword about the historical and military background to each novel. His note about the invasion of Norway is especially interesting.

October 29, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Kathy, I'll have to go back and look at the covers again to see how they suggest mystery. What sticks in my mind is their evocation of place.

October 29, 2010  
Anonymous adrian said...

Peter

I'll be especially interested to read why the Eighth Air Force felt that night bombing was their preferred modus operandi for the invasion of Norway when in every other theatre they used daylight "precision" bombing.

Or could it possibly be that the artist wished to preserve the theme from the other books?

And am I the only person who finds it weird that books 1 and 3 seem to have the protagonist observing one specific incident but book 2 is an odd melange of incidents and "potential incidents" from the book and we are told that the character isn't observing any of them, he's just sort of standing there. I don't know, is that a good cover?

October 29, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Adrian:

1) To clear up any possible confusion about sequence, the covers are, clockwise from upper left, Book 2, "The First Wave"; Book 1, "Billy Boyle"; and Book 5, the most recent, "Rag and Bone." So I presume your comments relate to "Billy Boyle." That was the first book in the series, and perhaps the oddness you see in its cover contributed to a shift in approach for subsequent books.

Is it a good cover? It's visually compelling, and the narrative oddities don't bother me. But that could be because I'm considering it after I've read the book. On the other hand, if you picked up the book without first having read this discussion, would you have found the cover odd? Who knows? You may have to travel backward in time to find out.

2) The military question in the book is whether Norwegian troops are ready to serve as an invasion force. British and American leaders take part in this, but the principal disagreement is among Norwegians themselves.

October 29, 2010  
Anonymous Adrian said...

Peter

I still find it odd to have a purely theoretical mission depicted on the cover, but then again it is a work of fiction; its more of a mood cover is what you and James are saying and I can buy that. And what the hell do I know anyway, not too long ago I was reading books with covers like these.

October 29, 2010  
Blogger Tales from the Birch Wood. said...

I like the covers because they are theatrical and give the illusion of 3 dimensions.

The backdrops, like those on a stage, has a dream-like quality.

October 29, 2010  
Blogger seana said...

The covers do stand out. Do they sell books, is the question. I think the covers Adrian was drawn to, in the not so distant past, achieved their aim quite effectively.

October 29, 2010  
Anonymous James R. Benn said...

Adrian, Peter, and anyone else interested in the minuate of cover art interpretation (there must be others!): Since the artist likes searchlights so much, the air-raid is depicted at night, the American preference for daylight raids not withstanding. The plot point illustrated here is the Allied demand that the Norwegians command their Underground Army to rise up and sabotage fish oil processing plants in Norway, since fish oil is used to make explosives. As Billy says upon hearing this, "War sure is educational." The Norwegians actually wanted to keep this force intact for the end of the war, when they thought they would have to fight a Communist-inspired takeover. The Americans and British threatened to attack the plants by air if they did not start sabotage operations. Air raids would have caused more civilian deaths, so the King had to choose between the two options. More than you wanted to know, I'm sure.

Jim

October 29, 2010  
Anonymous James R. Benn said...

One more comment, since Peter mentioned the difference on the EVIL FOR EVIL cover, which takes a break from searchlights. The mist-shrouded mountain is Slieve Donard, in Northern Ireland, which I climbed. I sent of photo of myself, at that very spot, and except for the armed men and Billy not gasping for breath and covered in sweat, it is the same picture.

So do you think future covers should maintain the X searchlight motif? Next one up for design is for the 2011 release A MORTAL TERROR - set in Italy, mainly within the Anzio Beachhead.

Jim

October 29, 2010  
Blogger riseabove77 said...

As Jim said, we will be reissuing the Billy Boyle paperbacks in the traditional Soho Crime 5 X 7.5 trim. But don't worry; the series will retain the WWII propaganda-poster look in hardcover. But Jim, to correct you, the series will be considered Soho Crime, even in hardcover, from now on.

We realized a few years ago that it had been a mistake not to include the series in the Soho Crime series. It took a few years to correct the mistake, but we finally did it! The series had all the prerequisites to fit into the Soho Crime series: procedurals set in foreign locales featuring a PI or detective. We thought it would actually broaden Jim's audience if we made the move.

Ailen (Marketing Director at Soho Press)

October 29, 2010  
Blogger Yvette said...

I like the searchlight motif. I realize now that there are more books in this series than I thought. Hmmmm, I'll have to play catch-up with Billy.

Other covers I like from other authors: Jasper Fforde's English covers - much better than the American. Except for THE FOURTH BEAR which has a great American cover.

Iain Pears' Jonathan Argyll art mystery paperbacks have great covers. (NOT the trade ones.)

Spencer Quinn's Chet and Bernie mysteries also have wonderful covers.

I hesitate to say this but Nancy Bell's Miss Biggie mysteries (yes, YES, they're cozies - so sue me!) have absolutely BRILLIANT covers.
I'd frame and hang them if I had the artwork.

October 29, 2010  
Anonymous James R. Benn said...

Thanks to Ailen, Queen of Marketing at Soho, for correcting my garbled version of the Soho Crime line and Billy Boyle. Same terrific cover art will be seen in hardcovers, that's the bottom line.

Yours in Crime,
Jim

October 29, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Adrian, the misison is theoretical, but planning for it is very much at the heart of the book. So the cover is a blend of mood and narrative.

That article is right that science fiction and fantasy covers are weird. One of those covers will be of special interest to an author I know who will be in Philadelphia next week.

October 29, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

"Tales from the Birch Wood. has left a new comment ...

I like the covers because they are theatrical and give the illusion of 3 dimensions.

The backdrops, like those on a stage, has a dream-like quality.
"

In re the covers' dreamlike qualities, a foreground figure viewed from behind looking at action in the distance is reminiscent of Caspar David Friedrich's paintings. It would not shock me if the illustrator, Daniel C. Cosgrove, knew those paintings. More generally a foreground object serving as a frame to focus attention on a scene deeper in the picture is a time-honored device in painting. You get that on the cover of "The First Wave," where the framing effect is enhanced by the arch.

October 29, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Seana, you're probably better able than most to say whether the covers sell books. I think the covers Adrian was drawn to, or at least their close relatives, are still around.

October 29, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Jim, I'm confident that your brief history lesson is not more than Adrian wanted to know. Many thanks for the coherent explantion. I'll add only that the Norwegians are divided on how to proceed. Beyond that, anyone whose curiosity has been piqued will just have to read the book.

October 29, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

"The mist-shrouded mountain is Slieve Donard, in Northern Ireland, which I climbed. I sent of photo of myself, at that very spot, and except for the armed men and Billy not gasping for breath and covered in sweat, it is the same picture.

So do you think future covers should maintain the X searchlight motif? Next one up for design is for the 2011 release A MORTAL TERROR - set in Italy, mainly within the Anzio Beachhead.
"

Jim, I have a passing familiarity with some of the locations in Evil For Evil. i visited with a friend in Dundrum last year, and we had lunch overlooking Dundrum Bay.

In re searchlights, I'd say Soho could keep them unless they are narratively inappropriate. For what it's worth, though, Evil For Evil is still immediately identifiable as a Billy Boyle book even without them.

October 29, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks, Ailen. Naturally I wish you big sales on the books whatever the format. I was idly curious about what practical differences the books' classification on or off the Soho Crime list might make -- whether you would promote or catalogue the books differently, how bookstores might shelve them, and so on. It may make for good bar conversation at a future convention. Or answer here, if you feel comfortable doing so.

I have always seen the books shelved with crime and mystery. Whether bookstores also shelve them elsewhere, I don't know.

October 29, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Yvette, there are five books in the series, and you'll have learned from the comments here that at least one more is on the way.

I've read Jasper Fforde's Nursery Crimes books, but in U.S. editions. I'll look for the U.K. covers as well as some of the other covers you mention. Fantastic Fiction is a good place to compare U.S. and U.K. covers because it offers links to U.S. and U.K. stores. (The covers it displays on the main page for a book seem to be sometimes U.S., sometimes U.K., but I'll have to check that.)

October 29, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

Yvette, I like the Nancy Bell books' covers. I took a peek.

I personally don't like cozies, don't read them, But I defend to the utmost everyone's right to personal taste in reading.

It's interesting. Close friends have similar and different reading tastes. It's true in everything. And, it's a very good thing about reading to have so many options these days to fit all of our many tastes.

I think it's very interesting to hear of individual preferences and tastes in reading. It's great.

Just tonight I heard someone criticizing Agatha Christie's books quite strongly--mostly that there are clues the protagonist pulls out at the end that the readers don't know about, and that they're not logical.

Yet she has so many fans.

Hurrah to everyone's mystery taste. It makes the conversations so much better.

October 29, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Kathy, I'm occasionally pleasantly surprised when a harder-boiled author says nice things about a cozy author, or a cozy author reveals his or liking for hard-boiled crime fiction. And then there are authors who call their own novels cozies but whose work has a dark undertone.

I suspect that some readers don't dislike cozies so much as they can't stand the word cozy.

October 29, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

I really don't like cozies or what are considered cozies. Then again I don't like "hard-boiled" crime fiction.

But there are plenty of books in-between, with the right amount of character development, story line, plotting, background, sense of place, and satisfactory solution.

I don't think I read any authors whom one would consider a writer of cozies or of "hard-boiled" crime fiction.

October 30, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Kathy, when I read and use terms like noir and hard-boiled and cozy, I sometimes have to remind myself that vast amounts of crime fiction don't belong to any of those catergories. Using the terms can be an excuse to avoid thinking about what one is reading.

October 30, 2010  
Blogger seana said...

Right, I think we can all say that we don't like some subgenre of mystery until we read something that makes us realize we do.

I think the Soho Crime brand and more standard formatting will be beneficial. In a perfect world, it might be otherwise but last time I looked, this was a market driven one, not a perfect one.

And yes, there are some readers of this post for whom there is really no such thing as too much WWII information. I'm not one of them, but on the other hand, all this discussion will certainly make me take a closer look at Mr. Benn's books. They sound quite interesting.

October 30, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Well, I have a pretty good idea of what I like. I just don't always know what to call it.

It's hard for me to argue against Soho Crime's branding and formatting, since that brand and format is largely responsible for getting me reading the kind of crime fiction I do. I also like the looks of Hard Case Crime and Europa Editions, to name two.

October 30, 2010  
Blogger seana said...

I agree that this kind of branding does help a reader find things they are likely to like. It's just that there is so much out there that might be equally good but doesn't get that kind of help that makes me want to tell people to branch out from the reliable indicators every now and then.

October 30, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

We need to talk about books, shoot our mouths off, promote books, go to festivals ...

In fact, discussions -- listening even more than taking part -- both in person and online have done much to broaden my mind in such matters.

October 30, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

Yes, to listening and to reading, the more blogging posts, the better, to hear/read about other people's opinions and thoughts about books and all things related.

I guess I can't characterize my reading tastes into categories. I like so many authors and their books, international and U.S.-written.

I like many books published by Soho Crime: Helene Tursten and Garry Disher, and others soon to be on my TBR list and read when I have time (with these lists in four places at this point), I'll keep on broadening my reading horizons. Many look intriguing; it's just time that's needed.

The websites and blogs about international (and U.S.) crime fiction are always interesting, widening one's reading scope and thinking, too.

All good.

October 30, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I found your comment especially interesting because you wrote that you like neither cozies nor hard-boiled.

October 30, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

And I'm not sure in which categories of mysteries fall the books that I do like, but detective novels, police procedurals (some), whodunnits, legal thrillers, lots more are in my "yes" lists.

But I find plenty to read and those TBR lists are enormous, starting to squeeze me out of my residence--the lists, not even the books--not to mention the harm done to the budget, all for a good cause.

October 30, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I sympathize with respect to the storage problems books can cause.

Speaking of books and good causes, do you know about Concord Free Press?

October 31, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

No. What about Concord Free Press?

Have just finished Zoe Ferraris' "City of Veils," which is well-done and thought-provoking, but brings up a lot of complex issues, which I won't go into, so as not to raise spoilers.

However, I now need global humor, without the weight of the world. Any ideas?

Actually, this could be the moment I try to conjure up a Nero Wolfe book or a Harry Bosch, as a distraction before the next "global challenge."

October 31, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Concord Free Press has an interesting method of distributing its books.

Camilleri offers global humor but with some worldweariness. Other global crime humor? Donna Moore, Chris Ewan, Christopher Brookmyre, Malcolm Pryce, maybe Tonino Benaquista.

And don't forget that Res Stout tells us Nero Wolfe was born in Montenegro, so he's global, too.

October 31, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

If only I had a Nero Wolfe book handy, and it's global fiction, too, very good to know.

Yes, to Camilleri; just put two of his books on library reserve.

Realize I have a Vanda Symon book, Containment, here and it's fun, not world weary.

October 31, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Wolfe mentions his place of birth only a couple of times, and Stout never takes him to Montenegro in any story, as far as I know. (I bet our friend Linkmeister, who comments here from time to time, could tell us for sure.) So you might need a good lawyer if you wanted to argue that Nero Wolfe qualifies for a global challenge as anything but American.

That's a nice opening scene in Containment, isn't it?

October 31, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

Yes, a good opening scene. Her character is reminding me of V.I. Warshawski a bit, but I'll keep reading, lots of vim and vigor.

November 01, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I like that opening scene on the beach for its strangeness -- something that the observer can't quite make sense of at first.

November 02, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

Vanda Symon's book was fun, just what I needed after "City of Veils," which reveals so much about life in Saudi Arabia that I needed escapism as that book was not escapist.

Symon's book made me smile several times and I enjoyed her main character.

Wanted to say that I agree that many on this blog enjoy hashing out WWII details. I'm not one to do that, as thinking about that war really is too awful to dwell on, but I enjoy these posts and learning obscure facts, including about Ireland. (That half of my heritage I don't know enough about, admittedly.)

And I enjoy the book talk, too.

It's all good, provocative, interesting, educational, and sometimes enough to send one to Google to learn more.

November 11, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

And I'm not the one to do that, as I simply don't know many of the details.

I'm pleased that the discussion provokes thought. And you could dig out a book on Irish or World War II history the next time you take a break from crime.

November 11, 2010  

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