Sunday, 13 May 2012

I bought a new book.

As the title would suggest, I did indeed get a new book the other day. It's Claude Lauzmann's memoir The Patagonian Hare. I'm very excited to read this, he's had quite an interesting life. Lauzmann, for most, is known as the director of the nine and a half hour documentary Shoah (Hebrew term for Holocaust). Very full on subject, and very long documentary. What many people don't know is he was also great friends with Jean-Paul Sartre, a lover of Simone de Beauvoir, and a member of the French Resistance at 16. I heard about the book from this article with him by The Guardian. Any who, this is about the design of this book, which I think is beautiful and traditional. 

I'm not sure if anyone's read my previous posts, but I've mentioned before that I love auto/biographies/memoirs. There's just something about a person letting you in to their life that gets me.
Clothed, Farrar, Straus and Giroux NY, 2012,
designed by Jennifer Carrow.
Click on the images for a better view.
The yellow spine with black writing would definitely strike the eye if this was stuck on a bookshelf - which would be a tragedy (I special ordered it, I'm not sure how many book stores will have it in stock). The picture comes from Lanzmann's own collection, and uses his writing for his name and the title. He's even drawn FSG's logo by hand on the spine. So we have yellow, black and white, and a dark grey on the back, where white text tells us of the praise for The Patagonian Hare, which is high and why I wanted it. The layout is simple and not crowded, making it easy on the eye. Also having the title in the yellow circle is an easy way for the designer to get around having text on an image, and draws the eye to find out what this book is.

The naked version of the book is so simple, I find it just as striking as the dust jacket. On a light grey, we again have Lanzmann's handwriting telling us the name, and nothing else. I enjoy the layout of this also, keeping the text running down the spine changes is up nicely from the dust jacket, and means we lazy readers don't need to move our head or book to read it. Win, win.

Text block. Taken with my phone, the black marks on the left aren't on the book.
So I might be biased because I can't wait to get stuck into this book, but I really think it's beautifully designed in every way. The chapters have no titles, and are indicated by very simple headings as seen to the left.  I'm a fan of spacing on a page (white space is not evil people!), and the layout of this is great. The text block sits closer to the centre of the book and slightly higher on the page, giving it a more traditional feel with wider margins. I think the text is simple and easy to read, the running headers give the title and author's name, and each chapter starts with a two line drop cap. The typeface in a nice and easy to read serif, nothing too fancy. The simplicity is beautiful.

Image, just one. Lonely, you might say.
Now to pictures. This whole book only has one picture inside, which is shown here. This surprised me, but I'll survive. The image is black and white, sits in the same place the text block does, and is explained in the text on the facing page. The text finishes about halfway down the page and says "This is it:", guiding you to the picture. The thing I enjoy the most about this is there's no attempt to keep the text running on that page, or to cram the image on to it to save room. The image is important, clearly, and the author and designer wanted to make it stand out. The story does carry on from that point, and probably could have had the text run on; the choice not to is a great one in my opinion.

I'm excited for this book, and have no doubt you'll read all about the content when I've finished it.

More scrapbooking to come soon.


No comments:

Post a Comment