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Books of the Year

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Books of the Year 2018: Covers of the Year

Queen Solomon
Tamara Faith Berger
Coach House Books

Designed by Ingrid Paulson

The inspired partnership between novelist Tamara Faith Berger – one of the most boundary-pushing writers currently published by an established Canadian house – and fearless designer Ingrid Paulson continues to result in provocative and subversive book covers. For Queen Solomon, Paulson depicts a highly phallic X-acto blade piercing a red sheet (think blood, fire, etc.), producing a shadow that suspiciously resembles a woman’s breast. The bisecting blade also intimates the novel’s charged political aspects. If that’s not enough, flip the book over and notice the subtly vaginal slit that adorns the bottom third of the back cover. –Steven W. Beattie


I’m Afraid of Men
Vivek Shraya
Penguin Canada

Designed by CS Richardson with Jennifer Griffiths

The blunt title of Vivek Shraya’s scalding hot take on masculinity is cast in an all-caps orange against a purple background – supposedly feminine hues curdled into an electric aggression. It’s mirrored by the back cover design, which reverses the colours to present the parallel argument that courses through Shraya’s fiercely personal prose: “Men are afraid of me.” –Ryan Porter


The Saturday Night Ghost Club
Craig Davidson
Knopf Canada

Designed by Five Seventeen

Craig Davidson’s latest novel is a nostalgic homage to creepy small-town fiction of 1980s-vintage Stephen King. To capture the look and feel of the novel, designer Five Seventeen did not stop at using a retro font and old-timey illustration; he made the book resemble an aged library edition, complete with faux-distressed paper and a mock catalogue sticker on the spine with the Knopf logo emblazoned on it. (Even the sticky tape appears sun-damaged and weathered.) The aesthetic is perfectly appropriate to the story’s content and setting, as well as being playful and eye-catching all on its own. –SWB


 

Nobody Cares: Essays
Anne T. Donahue
ECW Press

Designed by Natalie Olsen; embroidery by Jessica Albert

It’s fitting that an author as social-media savvy as Anne T. Donahue should have a book cover that is instaneously recognizable when it appears on Twitter. The deep Greek-blue background pops on screen and on shelves, a calming hue that reflects Donahue’s central message of self-acceptance. But it is ECW art director Jessica Albert’s embroidery – a now-trendy handicraft once perceived as a grandmotherly hobby – that steals the show and captures the essence of Donahue’s sage but of-the-moment advice. –Sue Carter