04 July 2011

Quickie: Caleb J. Ross is Not a Pretentious Douche Bag

A friend of mine is soon to take a twenty something hour flight to Russia and I recently read an article about Vladamir Nabokov. After very little conversation it was decided we should book swap. He is sending me Lolita and I am him Stranger Will and Charactered Pieces by Caleb Ross. In preparing the books for shipment I noticed something:

not only is Caleb's name upside-down but the ISBN is affixed to a no nonsense, library-couture cloth binding via a sticker. How cool is that? I know that sounds nuts but if you really think, it says a ton about the man and his work. No need to go over the top and get fancy binding, embossed covers, gold fringe, all that jazz. Nope just a name and a sticker. After all, aren't we in it for the words not, proverbially, the cover? Don't get me wrong, Caleb designed a great dust jacket (which is why I am sending it naked, don't want it to get lost in all the airport undressings) but to opt for such simplicity outside really testifies to the serious writer that Caleb is inside. 


  1. I do have to agree on what you said about being in it for the words, not the cover. I find it irritating when a book, especially a hardbound one, has all the info printed straight onto the back. Very distracting from what's printed on the pages. Well done, CJR.

  2. You are all too kind. Thanks for the disturbingly close inspection of my book. Disturbingly is just the kind of inspection I strive for.

  3. @Caleb & Claire,

    The exact opposite of this was a copy of the Iliad I owned in high school. It was gold fringed, leather bound and riddled with typos. I famously recall Achilles being referred to with the pronoun "she" on at least 3 occasions. It's just so nice to see a book that doesn't waste time on things that don't actually affect the book. So much of Penguin's strategy these days seems to be repackaging the same old editions in new covers. How exactly does that make it any better of a read?

    All said, I still have great respect for the jacket Caleb not only designed but had readers of his blog, including myself, vote on.