[All images my own].
I've always been a voracious reader, but it's a bit embarrassing that I haven't managed to get through many books since I've left the title of student behind, yet I've continued to buy them. I also haven't stopped looking for all of the analytical points that my undergraduate degree hard-wired me to spot, from pathos and hamartia to the deliberate decisions behind naming characters. What I have started doing, aside from being more picky with my reading choices and not sticking with a book if it's not working out (a bit like with blokes - sometimes you just have to do the "It's not you, it's me" speech), is letting myself be drawn to the novel's artwork more than ever. Yes, I am willingly choosing a book by its cover. With this in mind, I thought I'd share the books that have caught my eye when I've been out and about on my shopping adventures, and how they have their own trends.
High Heel Homicide, anyone? The whole pin-up look seen above is so ridiculously current, it's unreal; everyone from Prada to the film My Week With Marilyn to the singer Lana Del Rey has been channelling this glossy, uber-feminine 1950s image, with doe eyes, big bouffant hair and lashings of lipstick.
The book above was part of a display at the cash desk of the cafe at Beyond Retro in Dalston, which I visited in December. It's become a bit of a family haunt, as my cousin discovered it and now my auntie and uncle love it too. Anyway, these paperbacks are the perfect slice of retro fiction, with sensationalist names and buzzing graphic images (check out the use of CAPS LOCK on this one, just in case the title itself didn't grab you on the strength of words alone). They tap into the pop culture love of futurism and sci-fi, with the dual gut instincts of fear and excitement associated with the unknown. Similarly, fashion that looks to the future is always arresting because it has the same shock value.
This image is just a flavour of the books available at a second-hand shop in Brighton. It's one of those places that carries on regardless of the big internet sites like eBay, with a constant stream of stock and people interested in browsing. Amongst all of this was a great selection of vintage Penguins with those reliable minimalist colour-coded covers in orange (fiction), blue (biography) and green (crime) - they're a bit like the equivalent of wardrobe staples, but in the world of publishing.
Judging a Book by its Cover: If Books Were Fashion...
- The Publishing House - Penguin would be a great institutional brand with a key product, like Burberry, Missoni or Aquascutum.
- The Series - Jackie Collins' Lucky Santangelo novels would be Versace or Just Cavalli. Sky high bitch heels, cocktail dresses with thigh-high splits and lots of bling.
- The Iconic Novel - The Virgin Suicides would be Rodarte, dripping with teenage angst, hidden emotions and ethereal looks.