Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Covering a Classic

Hi people! I know, it's been too long, I suck at blogging on a regular basis, etc. etc. While we were apart, here's what happened to me. I got a part time job at my local Borders here in Brentwood. I will be the Children's Book Specialist, which is basically the job title I would have made up for myself in a fantasy world, so how fortuitous that it turned out to be real!

For these first few days I've just been learning the basics. Days one through three, I spent almost all my time at the register. Having never worked retail before, it was a whole new world for me! A little nerve wracking when something out of the ordinary comes up, but I'm getting the hang of it. The past two days I've spent shelving (or as I apparently pronounce it, "shelfing"), which means taking all the new books that come in and putting them in order where they belong on the shelves. It's a bit of a puzzle, as each shelf has to be full, but books with several copies have to be facing out, and all the books have to stay in order, but also make room for all the new product. So there is lots of scooting stuff around and squeezing things to fit.

The primary function of this task is apparently to taunt me with book after book that I am inspired to add to my must-read list. I was having a hard enough time keeping up with the books I knew about; now I discover there is a whole world of books I DIDN'T EVEN KNOW EXISTED that I also want to read!

One other thing I've come to realize is that the phrase "don't judge a book by its cover" is kind of ridiculous when actually referring to books. Probably half the books I come across that I pick up suck me in first by having an awesome or interesting cover. Ah, you got me again, marketing! (Shakes fist.)

For example, today I shelved these really gorgeous new editions of three classics. Penguin commissioned artist Ruben Toledo to illustrate these covers, and I wanted to buy them just for prettiness sake. Take a look:

I love the Wuthering Heights one especially, with the caricatures of haughty Heathcliff and crazy Cathy, and the fabulous way the really intricate branches are drawn into the defined shapes of the trees. What a great way to hook readers into picking up these classics.

What's a book cover you are especially crazy about or have a vivid memory of? Share in the comments!


Megan said...

Wow! Those ARE beautiful. Unfortunately, I've been away from books too long to remember any striking covers. What I can say is that I have a sickness that compels me to take the cover off of a hard backed book to see what the REAL cover and binding looks like.

Jennifer said...

Eh, I don't blog regularly either. Congrats on your new job! Z and I were in that Borders the other day - the all-knowing internet said they had a copy of a book I wanted while our closer Borders wad out of stock. It looked like they were doing some reorganizing? Anyway, enjoy that seemingly infinite supply of books!

Jen said...

Have you come across the book "There" in the Children's Section yet? It is absolutely darling. I will own it someday. :)

Jackie said...

i remember the cover of From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. you know which one i'm talking about - the two kids peering into the dark museum?? love it. i reread that book a couple years ago just to see how it was as an adult.

i definitely recommend you read "Minders of Make-Believe" - it's a non-fiction about the evolution of the children's book. in my dream world, i write a children's/young adult book & get it published.

lila kate said...

These are exquisite! I would totally frame them if they didn't have a barcode on them...
The book covers that always throw me into full-nostalgia mode are "Where the Wild Things Are" and "The Giving Tree". The simplicity of the Giving Tree cover (and the rest of the book) just pulls at my heart and makes me tear up even before I start it.