Literary Love: A rumination on language, emotion, design, writing and the power of books

Power of Words

What do I love most? I love words and I love images–after all, I’m a designer of book covers. We designers inhabit the space where images and words fall in love and give birth to something new.

But design is a

ll about targeted communication and leaving as little as possible open to interpretation. It’s a fascinating process, but it’s much more of an ephemeral experience for the viewer,

though the accumulated design around us is what forms our perception of popular culture. A well-designed and thoughtful book cover can give a book a persona that can help the reader connect with the book and even enhance the reading experience.

Yes, I love design–I love making it, love seeing great design–but in my mind–there is no substitute for the written word itself. The word floats through the conscience in the voice of the author, yet it is the reader’s mind that forms the image. I love when a book I am reading transports me into that world, and puts me into the head of another. I can’t think of a more immersive experience or a form of purer enjoyment. And if reading the words of another is one kind of joy, stringing together my own words and building a world of my own making is sheer heaven. Yes, it is a lot of work. So is design.

Writing is a more direct way of taking notes on the images in my mind. It’s a house I can build to my own specifications from the words in my head, then move in and live there. There’s really nothing else like that for me. Don’t get me wrong. I love design. I couldn’t live without art and beautiful images. But like one needs fiber in their diet, I need–the depth of words in my life.

One of my favorite authors is Maggie Stiefvater. She’s an artist, too, and I marvel at the lyrical poetry of her words, how the images she conjures explode in my mind. Her writing is made of subtle layers like the glazes in a painting. I savor her words, roll them around in my head like the most delicious dessert.

What author do you savor–whose words are so lush and resonant, you want to read them over and over again?

Releasing July 2013

Releasing July 2013


20 thoughts on “Literary Love: A rumination on language, emotion, design, writing and the power of books

    • Kelly, my thirdgrader/youngest daughter just finished Battle of the Labirynth. Reading this amazing series by Rick Riordan has been so much fun. I guess I didn’t get into it when my olders read it, but this time around I did. Plus she decided to do her Big 6 project (school project) on Greek Mythological creatures because of the series…she fell in love with Tyson and now cylcops are absolutely not monsters

  1. Love Maggie Stiefvater (have you seen her Sharpie’d guitars? Awesome!), love your covers… Heh, I guess it’s a lovefest ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I saw her sharpied printer!!! And the trailer she made for Shiver. Confession: that trailer definitely inspired Susannah from Breaking Glass’s strange animations. (which I am supposedly creating for realz).

  2. I love Maggie Stiefvater, too! I thought Shiver was amazing, and her way of describing things is simply fantastic. These days, I find myself loving lots of authors as they all have unique ways of telling their stories and writing!

  3. This is going to sound silly, but I’ve sort of lost my appetite for reading…I have no idea why. In my room, I’ve got stacks and stacks of started books, but hardly any of them I’ve actually finished. In a weird way, I’ve grown to enjoy being accompanied by books, just for the books themselves…existing as little mysteries I’ll never unravel, which for whatever reason…I prefer haha.

    But as far as writing and designing book covers go, I’ve never found a greater lover.

    • But as far as one of my favorite authors go…I’d have to go with Fernando Pessoa…his “The Book of Disquiet” is by far the most intoxicatingly engrossing piece of literature I’ve ever held in my hands.

  4. As someone who does her own covers (for my adult romance), I know how much goes into creating them. Even though I use stock pictures, I love fixing the pictures: their hair to match my characters, eye colors, cropping things out and adding more…but like you said, it doesn’t compare to writing.
    Favorite author: I have too many to count. from Sherrilyn Kenyon to Jude Deveraux, Mario Puzo to Scott Peck. Aaah, I used to read a lot once upon a time. Like Dave, I’ve lost my appetite or maybe I need vacation

  5. Love this: Writing as “a house I can build to my own specifications from the words in my head, then move in and live there.” Perfect description of why we’re all so addicted. My favorite author changes with the breeze, but I guess Diana Wynne-Jones is a constant, for her ideas rather than any “lushness.” Neil Gailman, too, although he gets more style points.

  6. Maggie S. is awesome. I also love Cassandra Clare for the imagery she creates in my mind. Words are our medium and we all are artists, though you are multi-talented, my friend! Can’t wait to read your book!

  7. I think I’m with Dave and Ednah, I don’t read as much as I used to, probably starting back when reading time became writing time. ๐Ÿ™‚ Though I do love audio books on long drives, and whenever I’ve got a full day of chores looming ahead of me, because nothing keeps me motivated to clean for more than ten minutes like hours of a great book. Perhaps the multi-tasking makes the enjoyment guilt free. ๐Ÿ™‚

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