Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Twenty-eight artsists, two saints, and an awesome cover.

I went to the Seminary Co-op's annual members' sale this weekend, as I endeavor to do every year. I've come to the point where I've accepted that Hyde Park is my spiritual hometown within this big city of little neighborhoods, and the Co-op and sister store 57th Street Books are the places I love the most.

This year, I picked up three collections of essays from the Literary Criticism section and Cheever's short stories. Perhaps my retreat to short works is a reaction to my continued inability to finish 2666; maybe it's for other reasons. Maybe I'll write about those reasons later, but right now, I just want to gush a little bit about a great book cover.

Isn't it just the best? Acocella is the dance critic for the New Yorker, as well as a book critic; the flying pose evokes her specialty, even though most of the essays deal with artists of a writerly sort. Still, the cover manages to capture the spirit of high-minded wit that pervades Acocella's writing. She's a critic who likes to like things, and while she'll deride works that aren't up to snuff (and actually does so in the first essay, which covers a biography of James Joyce's daughter), she does it with a gentle tone, as though she's just explaining how the work could have been better.

Or, to be brief: this cover makes me happy.