Read, Eat, Drink–Weekend Roundup

Read:
This week’s “read” is more of a “look”–just as we’re on the conversation of book covers, Buzzfeed released a list of 32 of the Most Beautiful Book Covers of 2014. There are some really excellent covers on here, and though the list skews toward upmarket literary fiction (where there are less conventions to adhere to than genre fiction or nonfiction), it’s still a great example of what’s working in the market now. And while it’s tempting to just say “It’s pretty. I like it.” (I do this ALL the time, heh), it’s much more helpful to try to dissect why it works. Here are my favorites and why I think they are awesome:

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Gold foil is very hot right now in the online world, but this is the first book cover I’ve seen tap into the trend. It’s a bit hard to tell from this image if they used full gold foil on the entire cover or just reserved it for the author’s name (since this is an expensive production add-on), but it looks incredible. It’s eye-catching enough to stand out on a bookstore table, but it also doesn’t pigeonhole the book into too narrow of a genre. I think the cover of the hardcover edition of the work (which you can see here) looked too science-fiction-y, but you can tell by the back cover copy that this book is meant to be genre-defying. And for that, you need an ungenred, ungendered cover!

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I love the eerie feel of this cover! This just feels like a cover concept that came from a flash of creative genius–it’s the perfect image for the title, without being too obvious or generic. It’s also a great example of how playing with type, rather than color or finish, can be eye-catching in its own way. If you saw this on a table at your local bookstore, wouldn’t you take a second look to unscramble the title? And then maybe turn over the book to read the back cover copy? That’s the objective of any book cover–to lure a browser in and entice them to read the copy, and ultimately, to buy the book. And from there, the author has the opportunity to turn that casual browser into a lifelong fan.

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This cover is a perfect example of how a custom hand-lettered font can make a cover pop (more on the importance of font choice here). Handlettered text is probably the biggest trend in book covers (and elsewhere) right now, and I have to admit that I love it just as much as the next trend-follower. I’ve been seeing big, bold hand-lettered titles all over the place, on every type of book, which makes me wonder when they’ll stop being eye-catching and start looking tired. That’s the tough thing about following a trend–it’s hard to judge if we’re on the ascent of popularity or at its peak. My guess? I think hand-lettering still has another few years of shelf-life, but it will eventually lose its impact. Until then, I’ll keep pretending that my horrible handwriting is intentionally sloppy hand-lettering.

Eat:
I may be the last person on this green earth who can’t poach an egg. I time it, I swirl, I stream vinegar, I say my Hail Marys, and the stupid egg still turns into a sloppy, soupy mess. I just can’t do it.

I’m sort of like a desperate dieter, always on the look out for the next quick fix. A new gadget? Okay. A new add-in to the water? Why not? I’ll try anything.

And so here’s the new method I plan on trying, courtesy of the new cooking technique videos up at the New York Times Cooking site. It calls for boiling the egg, shell on, for a few seconds, then cracking it into a bowl and dropping it into swirling water.

All I can say is, this better work. –side eye to the NYT–

Drink:

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Have you heard of the new beertail trend? It is pretty incredible. Bartenders around the country are starting to turn beers into cocktails by adding liquor, bitters, fruit juices, and anything else you’d normally keep very, very far away from your beer. Jarrett was all over this trend and made a delicious Southern 75 this week, which he claims is now his new favorite drink. Here’s the recipe:

6 oz. of an IPA (We used one from our local brewery, Port City Brewing Company.)
2 oz. bourbon (Four Roses is the new favorite around our house.)
3/4 oz. fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1/2 oz. simple syrup (We got fancy and spiked our simple syrup with cinnamon sticks while it boiled, but this is optional.)

Shake the bourbon, lemon juice, and simple syrup in a shaker with ice. Pour the beer into a collins glass, then strain the bourbon mixture into the glass and garnish with a lemon peel.

This drink is a strong one, so enjoy responsibly with abandon!

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