Thursday 18 November 2010


Two sets of books coming from Melville House late this year and in the middle of next year. The latter set are the first books in a projected 'Neversink Library', and use a simple but stylish series of cover designs based on silhouettes.

I'm completely up for this series, because Irmgard Keun is great, that Simenon is really good, and the little-known (in English) Ödön von Horváth is fucking awesome.

More Germanic shenanigans start in December with these Heinrich Böll reprints, each of which uses stark symbols (mostly made up of circles and other simple shapes) to represent the book

And that title font has to be Mrs Eaves Italic, which is one of my favourites.

I have no information on the designers for either of these books. The Böll books are designed by Kelly Blair, and the Neversinks by Christopher King.


Levi Stahl said...

I don't think I know any of the people in that Neversink series aside from Simenon (and that's one of his I'm not familiar with). But a "fucking awesome" from you is enough to guarantee a trip to the bookstore for me.

JRSM said...

Yay! Von Horvath has a few plays in print in English, but that's about it these days. He's one of those great Austro-Hungarian writers from pre-WW2. His death was quite odd--he was scared of being struck by lightning, so he sheltered under a tree during a storm, and a branch was blown loose which hit him on the head and killed him.

Ian Koviak said...

I may be wrong, but those top series from Melville look like they may be by Kelly Blair. I think she is the AD or head designer there and these have a Blair-ish flavor if you will.

The Böll series is brilliant.

Meytal Radzinski said...

The silhouettes don't do much for me, but I'm definitely for the Böll covers - I especially love the train. Quite awesome.

Dennis Johnson said...

Thanks for your attention to our books. The Boll covers were designed by Kelly Blair. The Neversink Library design is by Christopher King, the new art director of Melville House.

Dennis Johnson, publisher
Melville House

JRSM said...

Thanks, all. Dennis, I will add that info to the post--thank you for visiting!

e.b. said...


i just wanted to post a small note to say how much i enjoy this blog; the concept is just fabulous. this might be a dumb question, but do you have a lengthy back ground in graphic design and typography, or just a great eye for it? i think your appreciation would make chip kidd quite proud.

JRSM said...

Thank you for those kind words, e.b.: I'm a writer/editor/designer in real life, but unfortunately I don't work on books--they're just a personal obsession.

hannes said...

i agree, the covers are really nice.
by the way, here is the cover of horváth's philistine in an edition that was published in the gdr. it's the work of lothar reher, who was art director for the publisher "volk und welt".
it is from its "spektrum" series (also called "black series" for its lack of color). they are beautifully designed with sometimes john-heartfield-esque photo-collages, like here:
spektrum usually published literature that often would otherwise be politically too risky in small circulation. today, you still can get them in fleamarkets in berlin. i really love them. here are some more:

JRSM said...

Hannes, thank you so much for those links. I'd never heard of Spectrum, and those covers are beautiful. I wish anything half as attractive could be found in cheap book markets here.