A couple of covers jumped out at me this week so instead of stockpiling the blog entries I’m passing the info-tainment onto you!
Methland by Nick Reding is a dissection of the image of small town America as the wholesome, honest, backbone of the country and the reality of the situation: a slow decomposition over the past three decades from that brawny image to a struggling community deteriorating due to transitioning agriculture business and little-to-no employment. All of which has left our much-revered small town America vunerable to a cancer called methamphetamine.
I’m usually not a fan of gritty, textured fonts. Most of the time it’s overkill, like trying to hard to convey a seedy world. Most of the time a gaunt, liberally spaced font could get the job done with a little more subtlety. But for some reason it works on this cover. Perhaps because that’s just what you expect to see when you think about meth. And you can never go wrong using a big juicy photo. In this instance, the sun setting on our pre-concieved notions of what small town America means.
And on the flip side we have The Science of Fear by Daniel Gardner. Ever wonder if the next plane you’re getting on will get hijacked by a terrorist? If that person that sneezed in the elevator was infected with swine flu? If Kim Jong Il is mere moments away from pressing “the button”? Daniel Gardner doesn’t. Instead he wonders why we have these irrational fears. What causes us to make snap judgments that more or less do nothing but cause us more pain and suffering than before we even heard about theses percieved threats? Gardner supposes that it has to do with the way our hunter-gatherer brains react to threats to our well being and how we can learn to overcome these false worries and lead a braver life.
The road-cone orange and the simple, tiny iconography do a good job of approaching these subjects of fear with a pair of tweezers and a mganifying glass. As if they are nothing to be afraid of, but something to put under a microscope. Not only an enticing cover, but also adiquately suggestive of the material and an excellent execution of the thesis of the book. Well done, nameless Penguin designer.