Review: Song of the Vikings

Song of the Vikings by Nancy Marie Brown

The other night, I was telling someone a story about Red’s Eats, a lobster shack in Maine. (Long story short: my mom loves lobster rolls and I don’t sound Southern. Neither does my mother, but that’s because she’s French.) I tried to think back to exactly when it was; as my memory is pretty shoddy (hence this blog and my copious journals), so I usually have to take my time. But I remembered reading The Far Traveler at the time and came up with 2010 without missing a beat. It’s so nice to have a trail of books to follow! In any case, I remember the reading of The Far Traveler fondly, so when the opportunity to pick up Nancy Marie Brown’s new book, Song of the Vikings, cropped up, I leapt at it.

Continue reading

The Sunday Salon: The Book Cover Archive

There comes a moment in a reader’s life when she realizes that pretty book covers lie. This can come quite early for some, or quite late. As recent as my junior year of high school, I was so taken by an Art Nouveau book cover that I read the sub-par book it clad. I have since forgotten the name, for good and obvious reasons. But I’ve never really learned my lesson, to be totally honest. My head is still turned by particularly becoming or striking book covers, but I do try and at least see if the story sounds good or interesting before I add it to the list. But I’ve discovered a new way to satisfy the undeveloped graphic designer in me–the Book Cover Archive.

The Book Cover Archive is exactly what it says on the tin, folks–it’s an archive of book covers. But each entry for a cover also includes information about the people that designed it. This is absolutely fascinating. Some designers play with different styles for different books, while others have a more or less steady style applied to each cover. The Book Cover Archive has a randomize button, and it’s fun to weave your way to a certain designer’s work through that. But what really sets my heart aflutter is the fact that the Archive also lists the typefaces used on the covers, allowing me to find them (as well as pray that they’re free or affordable) and look at all the covers that use the same font.

I have noticed that I tend to have a pattern in what book covers I gravitate towards. Especially for speculative fiction, few things beat wonderful art for the cover, be it illustrated or photographed. While I do love covers that get creative with text, they’re just not as effective as art, especially art commissioned for that work in particular, although I have nothing against the use of classic art on the covers of, well, classics these days. But that does lend itself to copies–a book blog that I cannot remember off the top of my head actually has a consistent feature highlighting reissues of classics or historical fiction that use the same piece of art. Still, as long as there’s no doubles in my collection in the end, I’m happy.

In other news, I’m traveling at the moment, which I’m none too happy about. I’m actually writing this last Tuesday so it can go up in time–I never know about my access to the Internet when the family is traveling. I ought to be working my way through The Far Traveler at the moment, but if my reading is going very well, then I’m reading The Gaslight Dogs. (And if it’s going really well, I’m reading The Silmarillion.) Hopefully, I’ll be back soon so I can hit up the library for more and finish Avatar: The Last Airbender‘s third season.

What kind of book covers do you prefer?