Books on Film: Moonrise Kingdom

Moonrise Kingdom: title page

Soo.. I just watched Moonrise Kingdom on Friday night. Directed by Wes Anderson, it centers around two loner preteens who decide to run off into the wilderness together. This sets off a hunt by the local community. Quirkiness abounds, and everything is filmed with deliberation and general loveliness.

Perhaps it’s because the story’s protagonists are twelve, and Moonrise Kingdom is set during a summer in 1965, when kids are at camp or reading books and listening to records at home, but I was stuck by how much this movie evoked a sense of nostalgia. It’s a weird sort of nostalgia though. Everything is made up. Essentially, it’s a nostalgia for something that never existed.

Suzy reads from Shelly and the Secret Universe

My favorite props have to be the books that twelve-year-old Suzy Bishop (Kara Hayward) read. Of course, it would be the fictitious books with titles like Shelly and the Secret Universe and awesome old-style covers that stoked this book nerd’s sense of nostalgia.

Moonrise Kingdom: Suzy's suitcase of books

These are my books. I like stories with magic powers in them. Either in kingdoms on Earth or on foreign planets. Usually I prefer a girl hero, but not always.

Suzy reads The Francine Odysseys by Gertrude Price

Suzy: I always wished I was an orphan. Most of my favorite characters are. I think your lives are more special.
Sam: I love you, but you don’t know what you’re talking about.

There are six books in this movie, and I took screen caps of them all. But did you know, not only did Wes Anderson have artists make book covers, and wrote passages that are attributed to each book, but there are also animations for each book? According to the Internet, Anderson considered putting the animations in the movie, but instead used them in a promotional short. It is quite awesome and worth a watch.

Sam: These are all library books. In my school you’re only allowed to check-out one at a time. Some of these are going to be overdue.

Sam hesitates. He suddenly realizes something. He asks bluntly:

Sam: Do you steal?

Silence. Suzy nods reluctantly. Sam looks confused.

Sam: Why? You’re not poor.

Suzy stares at the books. She absently brushes some dust off them. She rearranges them slightly. She says finally:

Suzy: I might turn some of them back in one day. I haven’t decided yet. I know it’s bad. I think I just took them to have a secret to keep. Anyway, for some reason, it makes me feel in a better mood sometimes.

Suzy reads The Girl From Jupiter by Isaac Clarke

Suzy reads Disappearance of the Sixth Grade by Burris Burris

Suzy reads from The Light of Seven Matchsticks by Virginia Tipton

Suzy reads from The Return of Auntie Lorraine by Miriam Weaver

Reading Raves: Matte and Glossy covers

moon called
There seems to be a debate on what looks classier – a book cover with a matte finish, or a cover with a glossy one. In bookstores here in the U.S,  I see a combination of both on the shelves, but I am not sure what the norm is elsewhere. In my searches about the topic I discovered posts discussing how in Canada, if the book is a trade paperback and glossy, people are more inclined to think that it is self published (apparently because of artist subsidies there, more self-pubbed books are found in bookstores? If the book is mass market paperback, the glossiness vs. matte thing doesn’t seem to matter as much). Meanwhile, I remember seeing a lot of matte or satin finished books in Europe, but I may be wrong. I found comments to the contrary, but I didn’t really spend much time searching. If you know, please comment.

Where do I stand? Give me a combination of matte & glossy! If there is one thing that I have a weakness for, it’s that feeling of smooth against rough and the reflection of a glossy image or embellishment against a matte background, or vice versa. It’s sadly not something I often see in the genre books I read, although I see it more often in young adult books. It just makes me go a little wide-eyed and “Oooh, pretty!” when I see a cover where more than just the art is considered. The extra little something like raised lettering and this finish adds to the experience (and I don’t know if an e-book could ever replicate it). I tell you: be still my beating heart!

I spent some time trying to figure out what this combination was called by the printers, but I still have no clue. Is it Matte with: varnish? Laminate? UV coating? Aqueous coating? The more I googled, the less I knew.

blood of the demonI raided my bookshelves to try to show you my favorite covers, but they are really difficult to photograph. There’s the Patricia Briggs Mercy Thompson series (the US covers), that have a metallic sheen and Mercy in slightly raised glossy relief. (Cover illustration by Dan Dos Santos, cover design by Judith Lagerman).

Then there is of course the Kara Gillian books by Diana Rowland. The symbols on the cover you can see when you tilt it are so pretty. I just love it! (Cover illustration by Juliana Kolesova, cover design by Dreu Pennington-McNeil)

Other books and series I own with this effect (there are sadly not many. Although I have a bunch with shiny fonts against a matte background, I’m not counting those):

  • The Night Angel trilogy by Brent Weeks (this is a reverse of the usual. It has a shiny cover with the character image in matte)
  • The Alpha and Omega series by Patricia Briggs
  • The Hollow Kingdom by Clare B. Dunkle
  • Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd anthology

detail of Geektastic cover

B&N cover story

Have people seen these videos? Barnes and Noble has videos on youtube with the people who design book covers. I’m fascinated with what goes into making a book cover.

These two are my favorites of the bunch, because Stephen Youll does Science Fiction and Fantasy covers (I love his cover for the Havemercy book), and Judy York does Romance (and a couple of the Shomi covers).

The rest of the videos are on youtube here (search for “cover story).  I also enjoyed watching the video with John Gall to hear about book cover design and Tom Hallman’s use of photography and people around him (his family are often his models) is cute. There’s also a video with Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart (pop-up book artists) and Lane Smith & Molly Leach (a husband and wife children’s book team).

Originally posted on

Pretty pictures

Quick post before I forgot about this. Remember how I was looking forward to The Gaslight Dogs by Karin Lowachee and the cover was just put up on Amazon? Well, I am. 😛

This week Orbit books posted these sketches by artist Sam Weber which I also love. The process to get a book cover is fascinating. Here’s the finished product again:

The Gaslight Dogs
The Gaslight Dogs
Karin Lowachee

And for other prettiness, has a really nice steampunk wallpaper for free download this week by Thom Tenery:

Book paraphernalia



I love etsy. I found these really cute book covers over there from loveevol and simbiosisbyjulia.  I bought a similar pink woodgrain cover to the one above and this book cover with little deers on it from loveevol and I *love* them to bits. I think they look even better in person than they do on the etsy site. Fits paperbacks and has a nifty elastic closing latch. Very good price too ($8). Meanwhile simbiosisbyjulia has more complex ones – embroidered, different colored linings plus using a few types of material. And she has not only paperback sized ones ($15) but also hardcover book covers ($18). Both of these sellers customize.  Just sayin'. I like being able to read in public without people peering to see what I read. And I am very particular about keeping my books in nice condition – these protect the covers while you read them.

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