30 August 2009

Shallow Stuff: Choosing Covers

Passed by the great (yeah well, the best) Stockholm book/mag/music/dvd store Papercut the other day and found that Penguin has published Susan Sontag's On Photography recently. A small paperback, minimalist design, a nice matte cover. However: rather tightly bound/excessively glued (would most probably result in a cracked back shorly after opening it).

My bookshelf already carries some Sontags in Picador's larger paperback format, and it seems like most of her writings can be found in that series. The print is not great, in fact sometimes quite wobbly and uneven from one line to the other; the paper quality gives the books a feel of being at least 30 years old - they seem floppy and cheap, like a soft pack of cigarettes that's been in your back pocket for a few days (nights). And yes, the paper is yellowed, as if by a persistent nicotine intake in and around these thingies.

So what's more important? Looking cool while reading in the Subway (i.e. challenging one's fellow passengers with that piercing look) vs. sporting an unshapely but neat, NE-like collection of Sontags in the shelves of the near future?

The thought of something like this will, I suppose, always win in the end. In my dreams, all my shelves look like something from a librairie consisting of solely Èditions de Minuit.