THE ‘CLOTHING’ OF BOOKS !

Hello folks !!

Once, a friend gifted me a book and he wrote on the front page –“A book is the only immortality”.  Wonderful words ! How fascinating … the idea that the story of a book is immortal. That which a book seeks to say lives on for generations to come.

What better way to keep a book alive, than by sharing what the book gave you. So here I am, sharing with you wonderful people my experience with one such book !

THE CLOTHING OF BOOKS

Author: Jhumpa Lahiri

Published by : Penguin Random House

Originally Published : 15 November 2016

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The subject of this book is one which most of us, take for granted. In this deeply personal account, Jumpha Lahiri narrates what book covers mean to her, both as a reader and as an author.

Why do books have covers ? Do book covers speak ?  Do covers cast spells, or tell stories ?

The Clothing of Books remind one of the words of William Shakespeare – ‘Brevity is the soul of the wit’. Running onto hardly 75 pages, divided in 7 Chapters, what attracts me to this work is that it says so much in very few words.

Just as traditional wear give one a sense of belonging, book jackets give a book its rightful place in world of books. To books, covers are a sense of identity. Also, as the author puts it, the cover makes one aware that the book has been read. Who can forget the ‘naked’ books of the library! Those rendered old by constant reading.

The author also delves into the need of a book jacket.? As she puts it – ‘If the process of writing is a dream, the cover represents the awakening’. The jacket is often the first interpretation of a text. It has a very intimate relation with the author.

What makes this analysis stand out is the fact that it is borne out of first hand experience of the author. At one point, Lahiri confesses that she had to buy a book for its cover more than once, simply because she could not resist it.

Cases of collaboration between the authors and the artists of book covers are also narrated. In modern mass publishing, book covers also have a commercial function. An interesting thought is also posed – What would be the relevance of a cover to e-books ? Such a relevant thought in today when digital reading has found its place.

When I bought this book, frankly, I did not expect a book jacket to mean all so much. This book has transformed my perspectives on book covers. Next time, I buy a book, I will definitely ponder over the story the cover seeks to tell me ! So, mind you. Next time you grab a read pause for a second. Listen carefully, is the book jacket whispering    something ?

Now, why don’t you people tell me… have you been fascinated by book covers ? Leave your comments below !! Thanks a ton for reading.

© All Rights Reserved. Anakha K Vijay. 

 

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