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Off the Shelf #1
Sometimes I buy books to read, and sometimes I buy them purely for the cover art and design. Here are a few of my favourites. Some of them are pristine, some are battered, but I’m okay with that.
From my bookshelf, Trouble With Lichen by John Wyndham. Penguin 1969 edition, designed by Harry Willock.
Also, Chocky by John Wyndham. Penguin 1977 edition, designed by Harry Willock. Both of these Wyndham books travelled around Europe with me in my rucksack during the 1970s, and as you can see here, they came back in much the same condition, surprisingly.
Stephen King's Salem's Lot. The book I read after Carrie wowed me in 1976. I kept this despite its battered nature because I always thought the hideous embossed face with just a trickle of blood was such a novel idea for a book cover. With years of wear it now looks more like a demonic Turin Shroud. A few years down the line and I got the chance to photograph the author himself - writing! This was the launch for King’s novel Christine, 1983.
Carrie. The first Stephen King book I read. The film is still a favourite of mine, that’s the original Brian De Palma version, rather than the remake.
The Medium is the Massage, with this cool cover design was on a shelf in a second-hand bookshop, and as I reached for it, someone else snuck in beside me and quickly snatched it before I could. So bloody annoying! Anyway, I tracked it down on eBay eventually, but it’s never as satisfying as finding something in an old bookshop.
Rose Tinted Design Specs
The Sandcastle. From 1973, photography and design by one of my heroes, Harri Peccinotti who was also responsible for the art direction, design and photography of one of my all-time favourite magazines. Nova, the groundbreaking British magazine of the 60s and 70s.
Summer of ‘42. I love this painting. I’ve searched everywhere but all I get is Cover Artist: unknown. It is also, as it states, an unforgettable motion picture, with a haunting soundtrack by Michel Legrand.
The Beats. There’s something really appealing when a book looks as beat up as this. No pun intended. It’s also another case of no credit for the cover photo. I’d really like to know who shot this.
The Amazing Spider-Man. That sticker is pre-decimalisation, and says 3'6, which means it cost three shillings and sixpence in old UK currency. If my calculations are correct, and I am that guy who still counts with his fingers, this translates as 18p or 22 cents US currency. Bargain!
Fantastic Voyage. The book of the film that blew my seven year old mind! I mentioned that in a previous post here…
Doc Savage: The Golden Peril. I have a few Doc Savage books, but this particular one belonged to the late, great Dave Stevens (July 29, 1955 – March 11, 2008), so I like to keep it in this bag with these stickers. I like the fact that it belonged to him, but it’s also a cruel reminder that at some point we’ll have to leave our treasured possessions behind.
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