The Golden Age of American Book Design

Keeping track of appointments is meaningful in a number of ways. First, the obvious reason is to make sure you get where you are supposed to be and get there on time. Second, recording appointments can end up as a journal of your professional life.

I keep two appointment schedules. One is a digital schedule on my smartphone and the second is a written format in a datebook. It takes a bit of extra time to enter appointments in both but it works for me and I really don't mind the extra work. At the end of each year, I store the datebook in a filing cabinet and move onto the new year with a new datebook.

The purpose of writing about this personal practice is that my latest datebook contains colorful reprints of book covers from books published over two centuries. Every other page includes a picture of one of the artful book covers with details of who (those that are known) created the artwork on the covers. The covers presented are from the 1880s and early 1990s and include book titles such as:

  • Mr. Bodley Abroad
  • How to Know the Wild Flowers
  • The House in the Water 
  • I and My True Love
  • Mother Earth
  • Kalee's Shrine

Works of art are usually thought to be created on canvas and found hanging on walls in museums and homes around the world. Or, the thousands of sculptures made from normal everyday materials or the more obscure materials such as junk metal are seen as great works of art. Many collectors find art in album and CD covers for various musical groups.

Now, I'll be able to find works of art in the books I read and collect. The realization of book cover art for me will add a new dimension to my reading experience. I'll be able to enjoy the words in the book and the graphics on the cover. While the datebook I purchased for 2013 contains covers from works of past centuries, if you look through your bookshelves for some of today's titles, you'll surely find covers that will wow you.

Discovering book cover art may not be a grand revelation for most readers. For me, it is a new craft to be aware of as I start my 2013 year of reading and reviewing some great books with great titles and hopefully some great covers.

For those that still make new year resolutions, read more books is a great one to commit to in the upcoming year.


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