more Pink Carnation cover art :o/

This is the cover of Lauren Willig’s next installment of the Pink Carnation series, The Garden Intrigue, due out in February. The past installment had a cover similar to this one, which was a great leap from the first seven books. I have to say that I’m pleased with the new cover, as much as can be possible considering how much I liked the first trend of cover art. But this time around I realize I don’t exactly care for the way the title is presented. The first books were titled thusly: The Secret History OF the Pink Carnation, The Masque OF the Black Tulip, you get it (the “Something OF the Something”). But the last book was The Orchid Affair and this is The Garden Intrigue. But I much prefer The Affair of the Orchid or The Intrigue of the Garden. Regardless of cover or title, I’m sure the book will be excellent. It only looks a little romance novel-y 🙂

Here are a few links to my posts about the previous cover(s) of this series and my feelings about them:

COULD NOT BE HAPPIER!!

petition for cover change?

i am very unhappy about this cover :o(

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

TitleThe Help
Author: Kathryn Stockett
Genre: historical fiction
ISBN: 9780399155345
Length: 444 pages
Published: 2009
Source: public library
Rating: 4/5
Resolutions: none

Reason for Reading: Bookworm mentioned when she was about to read this book and she had the cover to the right in her blog post. I have to admit, the newer paperback cover was what first drew my attention. I’ve seen the cover to the left (the cover of my library copy) lots of times and just overlooked it. Because I think I never understood what the book was about until I saw the second cover. Only the cover made me read the summary, which made me really want to read the book. (Oh, and here is Bookworm’s final review post about the book.)

Book Description (from jacket):

Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.
Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.
Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody’s business, but she can’t mind her tongue, so she’s lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.
Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

My Thoughts: I am very glad to have read this book. As a work of fiction about a very controversial time in American history, this was very compelling. One thing that I admired most about Stockett is that she mentioned in her notes at the end of the book (Too Little Too Late) that she knows she doesn’t fully understand what it was like for the African-American help in white households, especially having lived on the receiving end of such help growing up. She simply states that she tried to do her best at conveying the complex relationship between white women and the African-American women who work for them. Stockett’s favorite quote of the book is this: “Wasn’t that the point of the book? For women to realize, We are just two people. Not that much separates us. Not nearly as much as I thought.” And, I have to admit, that really does summarize the book.

The fact that Aibileen, Minny, and Skeeter all had such strong voices and such different stories to tell just made the book that much stronger. The chapters are narrated by these three women interchangeably, and I think this is the first adult book I’ve read that was written in this way. Typically the “each-chapter-by-a-different-narrator” style is in young adult books, in my experience. While the relationships between the white and African-American women aren’t intimate, I loved the intimate look into their lives together. Another thing I really appreciated from Stockett was how she wrote in dialect–I think it made Aibileen’s and Minny’s perspectives that much more real.

I think this would make a great book club read. There is a lot to discuss, even if the issues are “old”–I think some of the same issues persist today.

There are a lot of passages I really loved from this book, but this one is my favorite (it’s the only part that made me tear up):

Callie begins talking slowly and I start to type…

“I worked for Miss Margaret thirty-eight years. She had her baby girl with the colic and the only thing that stopped the hurting was to hold her. So I made me a wrap. I tied her up on my waist, toted her around all day with me for an entire year. That baby like to break my back…”

She takes a sip of her tea while I type her last words…

“Miss Margaret always made me put my hair up in a rag, say she know coloreds don’t wash their hair. Counted ever piece of silver after I done the polishing. When Miss Margaret die of the lady problems thirty years later, I go to the funeral. Her husband hug me, cry on my shoulder. When it’s over, he give me a envelope. Inside a letter from Miss Margaret reading, ‘Thank you. For making my baby stop hurting. I never forgot it.’ ” (p260)

This evening I was thinking more about the book and I thought, “This would make a good drama film.” And then I happened to find out that it is going to be a movie, released this August 12th! The stills from the movie on the IMDb website for the movie make it look a little too cheery–I didn’t think the movie should be exactly dark, but that it should be a little more “serious” looking, if that makes sense.

Oh, and if you’re interested, I think that Coming of Age in Mississippi by Anne Moody is a great autobiography about an African-American girl growing up in Mississippi and getting involved in the civil rights movement there. Medgar Evers and the sit-in at the Jackson Woolworth’s are both mentioned in The Help and Anne Moody knew Evers and participated in the Jackson Woolworth’s sit in. It’s just a great non-fiction read that concerns larger issues at hand than those focused on in The Help.

COULD NOT BE HAPPIER!!

As some of you may recall, I was very upset about a book in a continuing series I follow because of the cover it was to have. The posts about this cover can be found here and here. (Note: if you look at the first post, you can see the previous covers to see what they have been like up to now.)

And, just to refresh your memories or show you for the first time the cover I detest, here it is:

But today the author, Lauren Willig, posted something on her website about a change to the cover. This is what she wrote:

ORCHID AFFAIR has a new cover!
“After the equivocal response to the last cover, my publisher went back to the drawing board for The Orchid Affair.”

And, now, here is the new Orchid Affair cover:

I love this new cover for many reasons, mostly because 1) it is more consistent with the rest of the series and 2) it doesn’t look like some sleezy romance (no offense meant, romance readers), but still gives the hint of a little romance within (at least, to me it does).

Book Blogger Hop: September 3-6, 2010

Do you judge a book by its cover?

(This week’s question comes from: Sarah @ SarahReadsTooMuch)

I hate to admit it, but I do judge books by the covers sometimes. It’s not so much about what I think about the book covers. But I do get a little embarrassed to be seen reading a book. I know it’s terrible to care what others think, but I do view some people differently when I see what they read so I guess others might do that to me, too.

Plus, a book cover that is eye appealing will often draw my attention and I will ignore the more average looking covers. Again, not something I’m proud of.

Recently, I have added a sort of cover review to my overall book review when I finish reading, too!

Actually, I have two rants about a book cover that is coming out in January 2011: you can view these posts by clicking here and here. (Essentially, a book in a series I follow is going to look entirely too romance-y than it is historical fiction-y, which is really what it is.)

petition for cover change?

Have any of you ever found a petition directed at a publisher to change the cover of a not-yet-released book?

As some of you may remember, I posted about a month ago a rant concerning a series I follow having a totally inappropriate cover (in my mind) coming out. The problem with the cover: it looks like a cheesy romance, “bodice-ripper” novel. But the series is more historical and mystery than romance. (This is my Pink Carnation series by Lauren Willig.) The cover in question is this:

Ms. Willig was hosting a cover contest for people to redesign it, just for fun. I think this got some people’s hopes up that she would change the cover. But obviously it’s not up to her, but her publisher Dutton.

So, apparently some of Ms. Willig’s fan base has begun a petition to Dutton to change the cover, arguing this:

We, the loyal fan base of Lauren Willig, are deeply grateful for the support that Dutton Publishers has given our beloved series. We love the Pink Carnation series in part because of it’s treatment of the historical romance genre. While most books of this genre are typical “bodice-rippers”, this series is classier and more tasteful. The hardback covers for these books (which can be found here) reflect this image. Not only are the covers actual oil paintings from the time period, they also portray the heroine as a smart sophisticated lady.

However, and with all due respect to Dutton, The cover for The Orchid Affair, which was revealed on July 12th, 2010, is a travesty for those who have been fans of the series for many years. The cover is that of a typical bodice ripper, complete with bare shoulders and thin silk gown. We, the fans, would like to see this cover replaced with one more in keeping with the oil painting tradition. As none of these books have been printed yet, and scores of fans have submitted ideas for substitution covers, this would not be an impossible task.

While Dutton may hope to gain readers by releasing a run-of-the-mill cover, they should be aware that they may lose already devoted fans in the process.

Anyway. I was just wondering, have any of you ever seen a petition to change a book cover before? I find it interesting. And I signed it, as I dislike the cover immensely.

PS- If any of you are or know fans of Ms. Willig’s Pink Carnation series, check the petition out for real by clicking HERE. It’d be interesting to see if it really works.

i am very unhappy about this cover :o(

As some of you may remember, one ongoing series that I follow avidly is the Pink Carnation series, written by Lauren Willig. The series is set in the early 1800s, mostly in the UK (although the most recent installment took place in India). It intertwines history, espionage, and romance in a way that I absolutely LOVE!

A the seventh book comes out in January 2011 and its cover has just been released. I am thoroughly upset by this cover. Here is a picture:

I have a couple of problems with this cover.

#1.) It is completely different from all of the previous covers, which have a certain theme which has changed little since the beginning. Here are thumbnails of those covers (The Mischief of the Mistletoe is due to be released later this winter, in 2010, but it is more of a novella and a side-note from the series, as far as I understand).

#2.) This cover, in my very personal opinion, demeans the novel. I look at the cover and see “ROMANCE”. The series is in the general fiction section of my old library and the mystery section of my new one–not the romance section. I don’t think much of romance novels. I have nothing against them, but I guess I think they’re for bored women. I admit, I have never read a novel that was classified only as romance. And while I like the romance aspect of the series, I don’t like it more than the historical and espionage aspects. If ever I get embarrassed by people seeing what I’m reading, it’s when it looks like I’m reading a “ROMANTIC-Y” book. Of course, I will still buy this installment–nothing will stop me. But I wouldn’t be surprised if I deliberately removed the dust cover so it looks like I’m reading something slightly more intelligent.

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I apologize if I have offended anyone for my anti-romance novel stance. I like chick-lit sometimes, so it’s possible I could find a romance novel I like as well. But, as of now, my opinion is what I have just written.