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What's fashionable in books

October 23, 2008 |  1:55 pm

Bookjacket_1023Last month, at their annual gathering, members of the Illinois Library Assn. held their own version of "Project Runway," a fashion show where books were the theme, and sometimes, the materials (as were microfilm and CDs). The design at left is a book jacket made of book jackets; the skirt's kicky hem is book pages. More photos here and here.

Now that he's won the Nobel Prize for Literature, Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio is certainly in fashion. At the Millions, an editor at David R. Godine, Publisher -- home of the English edition of Le Clézio's "The Prospector" -- shares what it was like to hear about the award for the book, which was published years before he worked there. "Let me emphasize that I had nothing to do with acquiring, editing, or producing "The Prospector".... Nonetheless, on the morning we heard, I was absolutely beaming. I called my mother. I called my girlfriend. I called everyone. I gushed to the Falafel King at lunch," writes Daniel E. Pritchard.  "We had 420 copies in stock from that original printing of The Prospector, fifteen years ago, on Thursday, and were taking back orders by Friday morning: vindication by sales."

Over in Germany, one publisher has found that the current financial crisis has made Karl Marx fashionable again. The BBC reports that "publisher Karl-Dietz said it sold 1,500 copies of Das Kapital this year -- up from the 200 it usually sells annually." (via ReadySteadyBook). Indian book reviewer Bhupinder Singh comments, "I think it portents a revival of interest in Marxism and its critique of capitalism because now we have a generation growing up that has not seen the fall of the Berlin wall, but that of the Wall Street."

Maybe so. Or maybe we'll just bury our heads in "Tim Gunn's Guide to Style" and hope for the best.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo by Sheree K via Flickr