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Book Cover of the Week: A Replacement Life, in Paperback

Friday, January 23, 2015 | Permalink

Posted by Nat Bernstein

JBC Network author and National Jewish Book Award finalist Boris Fishman recently announced the release of a paperback edition of his acclaimed debut novel, A Replacement Life. HarperCollins decided to go with drastically different design for the new book cover:

If you find Boris's writing as intriguing as we do, you should definitely hear him speak about his process in crafting and publishing a book—and about his identity as a Jewish Russian author. And we have the perfect opportunity to do so: come here Boris in conversation with Yelena Akhtiorskaya, author of Panic in a Suitcase, and Gal Beckerman, winner of the 2012 Samir Rohr Prize for When They Come for Us We'll Be Gone: The Epic Struggle to Save Soviet Jewry, on the literary Russian Jewish American experience as part of Unpacking the Book, a new Jewish Book Council author discussion series at the Jewish Museum, moderated by Wall Street Journal associate books editor Bari Weiss. Not to be missed!

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Book Cover of the Week: The Book of Jonah

Wednesday, January 07, 2015 | Permalink

Posted by Nat Bernstein

JBC Network author Joshua Max Feldman recently announced the release of a paperback edition of his debut novel, The Book of Jonah, later this month. The new cover echoes the eye-catching yet simple spine of the original hardcopy—an excellent example of how book covers are created out of design rather than illustration:

The novel follows an ambitious corporate lawyer as he becomes more and more disoriented by curious and terrifying visions he is unable to interpret, finding a brief moment of clarity only in a chance encounter with a tragedy-worn woman he will never find again.

Don't miss the Jewish Book Council's review of this "profoundly contemporary rumination on the binary of evil and truth," and grab the paperback as soon as it's out!

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Book Cover of the Week: Wuthering Heights

Friday, December 19, 2014 | Permalink

Posted by Nat Bernstein

Emily Brontë died today in 1848 at 30 years old, after falling ill from exposure to the elements during her brother’s funeral. (Some believed that the true cause of death was a broken heart over her sibling: Emily gave out not three months after Branwell’s death.) Deeply distrustful of doctors, she refused medical attention until her final hours.

Wuthering Heights, her only surviving novel, was first published just one year before her death.

In general, book designers assigned to Wuthering Heights don’t seem too enthused about the project: most covers for the novel feature strikingly similar variations on a bare tree—that or a lone woman looking very unhappy. Penguin’s 2009 edition—pictured above: cover on the left; back on the right—is a refreshing exception.

There are also a couple designers who took on Emily Brontë’s only novel as an artistic exercise. Although these book covers don’t appear to feature on any marketed edition of Wuthering Heights, it seems worth it to share a couple standouts:


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Book Cover of the Week: Ishmael's Oranges

Friday, December 05, 2014 | Permalink

Posted by Chava Lansky

Ishmael's Oranges by debut novelist Claire Hajaj tells the parallel stories of Salim and Jude. Salim is a young Palestinian boy living in Jaffa who's life is thrown upside-down in 1948. Jude is a Jewish girl living with her family, all of whom are Holocaust survivors, in the north of England. Their paths collide in 1960s London where they fall in love despite the many challenges their backgrounds provide. Hajaj follows the journey of those cast adrift by war and the individual and universal conflicts that ensue. The beautiful cover illustration depicts the detachment and anonymity of a life in exile.

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Book Cover of the Week: After Birth by Elisa Albert

Thursday, November 13, 2014 | Permalink

Posted by Nat Bernstein

As we await the release of Sami Rohr Prize finalist Elisa Albert's forthcoming novel, the newly unveiled book cover for the British edition of After Birth was sent to the Jewish Book Council in the last week, and it's a winner:

Elisa Albert is the author of The Book of Dahlia: A Novel and How Is This Night Different?, a collection of short stories circling around Jewish holidays and rites of passage. Through the narrative of a new mother striving to befriend and aid a transient, trendy neighbor in her sleepy college town, After Birth, due out in February from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, explores the challenges of first-time parenting and postpartum depression, interfaith marriage, and the second-hand trauma of the children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors. And yes, breastfeeding features heavily.

If you're in the New York area, come out to hear Elisa Albert speak about After Birth at our new literary series Unpacking the Book: Jewish Writers in Conversation.

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Book Cover of the Week: A Thousand Pieces of You

Wednesday, November 05, 2014 | Permalink

Posted by Nat Bernstein

Yesterday was not only the 2014 United States midterm elections; it was also the release date for the first installment in a new Young Adult Fiction series, Firebird:

A Thousand Pieces of You by New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray has been long awaited in the literary blogosphere, which has taken a particular interest in the novel's book cover. It's not hard to see why.

Basking in comparisons to Cloud Atlas and Orphan Black, the novel's story sounds like The Amber Spyglass with cool new gadgets. Protagonist Marguerite Caine's parents are renowned physicists whose crowning achievement is the Firebird, a device that enables travel through alternate dimensions. When her father is killed, Marguerite pursues his murderer through worlds accessible only to those wielding her parent's invention. But with each new dimension she traverses, Marguerite's mission becomes less and less clear.

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Book Cover of the Week: When Books Went to War

Wednesday, September 24, 2014 | Permalink

Posted by Nat Bernstein

It's Banned Books Week, the literary world's defiant celebration of books that have lamentably been censored in schools, bookstores, and libraries. Censorship and the destruction of books both sacred and profane have made no small stain on Jewish history throughout the world, even today.

At the Jewish Book Council, we thought we'd focus this week on efforts to encourage reading and freedom of expression. Did you know that while Nazi Germany decimated over 100 million volumes during World War II, the United States Army and Navy distributed over 140 million books to its servicemen fighting abroad?

Almost every American publisher joined the Council on Books in Wartime, which printed and distributed 1,200 titles in travel-sized paperbacks designed to fit in the pockets of standard issue military uniforms. The Victory Book Campaign collected over 18 million donated books from American civilians. Novels considered classics today were propelled out of obscurity by their popularity among the soldiers who carried them through battles and marches.

Now get out and celebrate the First Amendment!

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Book Cover of the Week: Jane Austen Cover to Cover

Friday, September 19, 2014 | Permalink

Posted by Nat Bernstein

There’s nothing so thrilling as finding an intriguing edition of a book you love from who-knows-when to take home with you and place next to the other seven copies of The Master and Margarita (my personal bibliophilic collectible of choice) on the shelf.

(Moving past Russian literature of varying translation and censorship,) I don’t think I’ve ever entered a used book store without taking at least a glance at their Jane Austen stockpile. Just to see what’s there—it’s not like I don’t already possess multiple copies of each novel across bookshelves and storage boxes in four different states. So imagine my delight at discovering Quirk Books’ forthcoming visual book, Jane Austen from Cover to Cover: 200 Years of Classic Covers!

“The covers gathered in this volume represent two hundred years of publication, interpretation, marketing, and misapprehensions of Jane Austen’s works, but underneath the variety of images one thing remains the same: the text that left the pen of a woman in Hampshire, England, two centuries ago,” author and Austenblog editrix Margaret C. Sullivan observes in her introduction to Cover to Cover. “No matter how beautiful, tacky, infuriating, beguiling, silly, or strange the packaging may be, the story inside never changes.”

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Book Cover of the Week: From Bombolini to Bagel

Wednesday, September 10, 2014 | Permalink

Posted by Nat Bernstein

Having worked with Jacqueline Gmach in her role coordinating the San Diego Jewish Book Fair for many years, the Jewish Book Council was thrilled when she announced the publication of a book of her own—a memoir of her life journey from Tunisia to France, Israel, Canada, and eventually the United States:

So now I know what bombolini are, and my mouth is watering!

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Book Cover of the Week: The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.

Friday, September 05, 2014 | Permalink

Posted by Nat Bernstein

I revisited Adelle Waldman's debut novel over Labor Day, recommending The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. to a friend who sadly experienced some major heartache this summer. And this novel is so. Good.

My forlorn friend's immediate response to the book? "Great cover art!"

This is not the book cover he saw. Apparently, this is what The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. looks like in Australia? But the original is pretty great, too.

Update: Henry Holt & Co. verified that the image pictured is the UK edition!

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