Sunday, 17 August 2014

CULTURE & ENTERTAINMENT





Images: Peter Mendelsund book jackets for The Trial, Hopscotch and of course Cover.


I 'discovered' book jacket designer and Knopf's Associate Art Director, Peter Mendelsund about 5  years ago when I came across the wonderful design work he did for Kafka books and his very interesting reflexions on what make Kafka, Kafka. I found everything extraordinary, honest and refreshing, and being a Kafka fan myself I entered in contact with him, he turned out to be a really nice person and a super interesting character. Back then I started following his blog, where he shows not only his finished works but also a little bit of his process and his thoughts on design and books. One of his most famous covers are the ones he did for Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy, one of the ones I love most is the one he did for Rayuela, the beautiful English edition I own (shown above).

This past week I discovered that now he is publishing two books of his own (two!). One is Cover a full color collection of his design work of the past eleven years, that includes a little bit of writing, as in his blog, "as well as essays from some of the writers and designers I’ve been fortunate enough to know, and/or work for and with over this short span of time" -says Mendelsund. The second book is an exploration into the phenomenology of reading What We See When We Read, a remarkable work of nonfiction where Mendelsund "combines his profession, as an award-winning designer; his first career, as a classically trained pianist; and his first love, literature—he considers himself first and foremost as a reader—into what is sure to be one of the most provocative and unusual investigations into how we understand the act of reading," according to the Amazon summary (that sadly has no author specified). 

Several articles appeared about Mendelsund's books, I chose two: one nice interview in LA Times (E.T.P. 5') and a great Q&A about the utility of book covers in the digital world in Slate (E.T.P. 3'). Go ahead and find out more about Peter Mendelsund nice work, and if you read his books, please let me know so we can discuss them! (WWSWWR is due to be released in the UK in September 10th).

Photo via the Badass Digest.


We are as deeply shocked and sad as everyone else with Robin Williams' dead. Here are some links with the best homages from the Internet, including five in-depth interviews compiled by Long Reads. Robin William's greatest lesser-known roles, compiled by Dazed Magazine (including a clip from one of my favorites: The Fisher King). A heart-warming article by Sarah Larson in The New Yorker called Robin Williams: The Best Weirdo. And finally, a piece in The Guardian by Dean Burnett on why we should not call suicide a 'selfish' act: "News of Robin Williams’s death due to apparent suicide, said to be a result of suffering severe depression, is terribly sad. But to say taking your own life because of such an illness is a ‘selfish’ act does nothing but insult the deceased, potentially cause more harm and reveal a staggering ignorance of mental health problems."

Also, the photo above was taken from a FB status of the Badass Digest, this little story can be read as  the photo caption:  

"When Christopher Reeve was in the hospital, awaiting a back surgery that had a fifty/fifty chance of killing him, a man burst into his room. He was wearing surgical scrubs, talking in a Russian accent, and said he was there to give a rectal exam. It was Robin Williams; the two men had been roommates together at Juilliard. Later Reeve said of his life-long friend:

“For the first time since the accident, I laughed. My old friend had helped me know that somehow I was going to be okay.”

That's sort of what Robin Williams did for all of us."

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