Sunday, July 31, 2011
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
'Fantasy Folklore and Fairy Tales'
For a limited time you can, during the “Fantasy, Folklore & Fairy Tales” exhibit at at Edsel & Eleanor Ford House (1100 Lake Shore Road, Grosse Pointe Shores, 313-884-4222). Even if you regularly check out the children's section at the better bookstores -- such as one of my favorites, The Book Beat (20610 Greenfield Road at Lincoln Street, Oak Park) -- some, maybe most of the artists will be unfamiliar to you. The biggest names to me were Kinuko Y. Craft and Barry Moser (look them up on the Web if you don't know them), but others were new to me. Subjects range from fairy tales to myths, folk tales and new, multicultural fables.
The selection of artists may be determined by the sponsor -- Smith Kramer Fine Art Services -- but since only eight artists are represented, some winnowing process was necessary. In addition to the two already named, the list consists of DEMI, Jane Dyer, Marilee Heyer, Trina Schart Hyman, Jim LaMarche and Susan Paradis.
(Other artists I would have liked to see represented include Leo & Diane Dillon and Gennady Spirin.)
The exhibit continues through Sept. 18, in one of the outer buildings on the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House grounds. Admission is free with regular grounds admission of $5 per person. For more information, visit www.fordhouse.org.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
'Snakes and Ladders'
Thoughts on Harry Potter
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Who killed Borders Books?
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Judging a publisher by its cover
In my previous post about the book, I commented that the U.S. cover and title seemed vastly inferior to me than the British ones ("The Rivers of London"), but I withheld comment on another aspect of the cover: possible racism or pandering to the perceived racism of the marketplace. I didn't mention it because I wasn't sure that was the intent.
The hero/protagonist of the book is a U.K. citizen of mixed racial identity, a fact that has some bearing on the character and the book, but this fact was obscured by his depiction on the cover as a silhouette. In fact, I wasn't even sure at first it was meant to be him. The menacing stance, leather jacket and gun in his hand could mean it was a bad guy. I guess they wanted to make the book look hard and gritty. (For the record, the hero is more bookish than badass, and I don't recall that he even carries a gun in the novel.)
The cover of the British version, which as I said I prefer, didn't even show the protagonist, but I wouldn't automatically accuse the British publisher of racism on that account. A lot of decisions, artistic and editorial, go into choosing an image to represent a novel. So while I suspected racism (or something similar) by the American publisher, I didn't want to throw out the charge based solely on the published cover.
Then, on Aaronovitch's blog, I saw an unpublished version of the cover, an earlier version exactly the same except for one thing: the man was less blurred and clearly of African descent.
So while NOT showing that the character is black may not necessarily be racist, to alter the illustration to disguise the fact that the man IS black seems awfully suspicious.
A sequel is also out, "Moon Over Soho," and two versions of that cover also exist, one black, one silhouette. Guess which one has been published?
I'd say the burden of proof is now on the publisher, Del Rey.
If you'd like to judge for yourself, here are links to the cover images: