Thank You to Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group for providing me with a copy of Jhumpa Lahiri's, The Clothing of Books, in exchange for an honest review.
PLOT- In this short, non-fiction book, award-winning author, Jhumpa Lahiri, explains the process that the publishing industry uses to create book covers. She explores her own feelings on book covers, as both an avid reader and famous author.
LIKE- I'm a huge, huge fan of Lahiri, and I was thrilled for the opportunity to review, The Clothing of Books. As a book lover and hopeful author, I found her take on book covers to be both informative and thought provoking. Although my manuscript is far from ready to even send out in search of agents, I'm well aware of the book cover process, how the author may have very little say, with the publisher picking the cover that best fits their vision for marketing. Lahiri writes about this process, confessing that some of her own covers did not fit with her personal vision of her stories. She writes about her experience of having her books translated and how publishers in other countries, would pick covers based on what works for their culture. A popular cover in one country, could be disastrous in another, even though the book is the same.
Lahiri relates the theme of book covers, to her own cultural background. She was born in England to parents from India, but immigrated to the United States as a small child. Living in America, she attended public schools, without a dress-code. On her summer trips back to India, she envied her cousins who attended schools with uniforms, wishing that she could wear a uniform in America, so that she wouldn't stand-out so much. Making matters more difficult, were her parents didn't quite understand her wish to fit-in, and would purchase American style clothes for her that was budget-friendly, not trendy for teens. They had her dress in traditional Indian clothing for occasions spent with other Indian immigrants. Lahiri never felt like she belonged anywhere. To layer this further, she speaks of her father, a librarian, and how her childhood experience with books was all at the library, where the covers are often removed.
Lahiri writes about the beauty of covers. On her recent move to Italy, she could not bring many of her possessions, so she used books, facing the covers forward on her shelves, like pieces of art, to breath life into her rented home with its generic furniture. She mentioned never having spent so much time admiring covers, as when they were displayed in this fashion.
DISLIKE - Only that it was too short.
RECOMMEND - YES!!! If you're a reader, writer, artist, et.., The Clothing of Books is a must-read. Really, anything by Lahiri is a must-read. She's brilliant.