There’s almost nothing I like better than browsing bookshops. I love the process of wandering around, picking up books and flicking through them, waiting for something to catch my eye. Something always does.
For a book buyer like me–and I’m pretty certain I’m not alone–the cover is the first clue that a book might be something I want. What am I looking for? Something that catches my eye from a fair distance. Something that leads me past all those other books and makes me pick it up. Something that says the publisher took the book seriously, something that is clever, elegant, funny. In a science book, something approachable; something that suggests the author is going to entertain me. A strong hint about the subject matter. It’s testament to the talent of many book designers that this list is met with some regularity.
Some covers, though, stand out from the crowd, and the new Oliver Sacks book, The Mind’s Eye, was one of those. I suppose the first thing I noticed was the col0ur,a nice pinky-orange. Visible from across the room. For some reason, the typography, which could read like O, Liver Sacks (you bags of hepatic goodness), doesn’t. Perhaps that’s because you immediately get the eye chart reference (which is frankly pretty overdone in the world of sight-related books). But then you notice the strange blurring. Has the cover been marked by drops of water, are your own eyes playing tricks? It’s a lovely thing. I fell in love instantly, and I am still marvelling a week later. Even if there was an ebook version, I didn’t want it. I wanted the paper version. Partly also because the matt, lovely, cover stock was so nice and partly because the text inside was set nice and big! But mostly, because it is nice to have this cover lying around your house (as above). I wasn’t surprised to find the cover designer was Chip Kidd who consistently makes wonderful covers.