Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Book Cover of the Week: Waxing Nostalgic – by Louise Tripp

I often wonder what it would be like to still have all the books I had as a kid. All those Judy Blumes, the occasional Beverly Cleary and nearly every book, shelved in order (of course), of The Baby-Sitter's Club and Sweet Valley High series. On impulse one summer during my adolescence, though, I gave them to my parents to sell at our yard sale – because I was too old for them. Funny how that works out. Now in my thirties, I long for those days when all I had to do was read and wish I'd kept their reminders. It's a sunny, cool-but-not-cold day and it's making me nostalgic for that. Which is why I am making this week's Book Cover of the Week a parade of pastels and '80's-style, puffy fonts and dreamy images; these are a few of my favorite covers from books I once owned and loved, but gave away. I just hope someone is caring for them well today and maybe they'd introduced them to the next generation of young readers - their children or nieces, nephews, cousins, friends' kids, etc.

Ramona Quimby was a smart, well-meaning but sometimes mischievous eight year old - but you probably know that. Pretty much everyone I know is familiar with the red-head and her pre-teen sister, Beezus. Beverly Cleary, now well into her 90's, has written the beloved children's stories for most of her life. She started out as an English major, went on to get a degree in Library Science and  then, inspired by the children she worked with in the library, she crafted her charming characters into the kinds of stories she hoped they would want to read. She's still writing today, has been named as an influence for many contemporary authors of young adult and children's books and has a school in Portland, Oregon named after her.  

For some reason, I remember Sweet Valley Twins' book #12: Keeping Secrets as the one with the cover that made me thirsty. Those pops over ice looked really good. Seriously, these books had the best covers. Now I look at it and think, Wow, Jessica almost looks like Billie Piper here

When I first discovered The Baby-Sitters' Club I am fairly certain that what lured me in were the girls' outfits on the cover. Claudia always looked the best. 

I always really loved the books of Richard Peck and Paula Danziger, too. Danziger had this great, almost Sci-Fi book about a girl whose family moves them to the brand new moon colony. One particularly memorable scene has the girl and her male friend on Earth, before she has to leave, coming up with disgusting ice cream flavors - I believe "phlegm" is one. Ew. These are the things that stick in my brain like Velcro.

And Richard Peck's Blossom Culp stories had an NBC TV-movie made about it. Later, he also had his book Don't Look And It Won't Hurt made into a movie called Gas, Food, Lodging starring Ione Skye and Fairuza Balk. Anyway, I loved Blossom Culp - she was a geeky know-it-all with a pre-adolescent "thing" for her friend, Alexander, a boy who could see ghosts. 

On a side note, while trying to come up with a topic and cover for this week's entry, I Googled around and stumbled on two sites with an interesting array of book covers. One is just a listing of bizarre books no one could believe existed (plus a gallery of books made from wood which are actually lovely); the other is a fan's look at old pulp novels. Both are fun and so I thought I'd include the links here.

And finally, now I want to read two non-fiction books that seem all about the pleasure of wallowing in the books of our youth: Shelf Discovery: The Teen Classics We Never Stopped Reading by Lizzie Skurnick and Everything I Wanted To Know About Being A Girl I Learned From Judy Blume by Jennifer O'Connell. I learned about the two books via my GoodReads page and think they sound right up my alley, so to speak. I am almost jealous I didn't think to write them myself. 

Happy Wednesday!

Challenge: Recreate a book cover in photographs and I'll post it here next week. Or  got an idea for a Book Cover of the Week?

Louise Tripp grew up in North Carolina. She currently lives in Chicago, where she is revising her first YA novel and working in a public library. You can read her regular blog at

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