Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A new cover for Querencia- the- Book?

As my backlist comes up for reprint by Skyhorse, chances come up to change things; from wrong to right, from ugly to visually striking, or just from old to new (a new cover always catches my eye).

Querencia the book has always looked just fine, with its cover by Russ Chatham, its brilliant design, its quality paper. Most readers of this blog are happy with the esthetics of their copies, I trust. But with a whole new generation of reader, why not try something new? I collect TH White, and have first editions of almost all, but I treasure the interesting covers of the mass- market paperbacks of The Goshawk as they mix images from the 19th century up through some very odd ones in the Sixties to a near mistake on the last edition by the NYRB press, whose catalog featured Holbein's portrait of Sir Robert Cheseman at the court of Fat Henry (VIII), with his Gyr on the fist! (This would have followed their edition of Baker's The Peregrine with a Redtail). Luckily at least one person who knew hawks saw the mistake in an early catalog and raised the alarm. With the bit of power that came with having presented an edition once myself (in the Wilder Places line for Nick Lyons), I was able to let them know, and the edition is now graced by Liljefor's Gos striking into a winter flock of blackgame, one of the finest paintings of predation ever done.


So I am hoping to persuade Skyhorse to do a new cover. No one is going to paint me a new one, and I wouldn't insult Russell; the thing to go with, I am convinced, is something that evokes the melancholy and haunted beauty of our hard land, as Russell did in his painting. Here are five images, all by either me or stepson Peculiar.

The "covers" are arranged more or less from my favorite down, but please give me your votes and reasons why you prefer one to another. I may then do a post on your responses. And if this works, consider becoming my advisors on similar issues in the future.





Number three and number four courtesy of A. Jackson Frishman ; others by me. First and last on Henderson ranch a few miles out of Magdalena, where we hunt; others in town except for rainbow, taken on another big spread up in northern Socorro county, now subdivided for ranchettes not yet built. Or as Jack called it even pre- "Breaking Bad", "Summer Storm over Meth Labs."

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

No 1, without the jet trail in the sky. I like it because you are in it and that is what the book is about, not just the land but the land and the people who love the land. I am a transplanted New Englander too (MA & ME.) I loved the book and got what you wrote about NM.

Lucas Machias said...

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-ERHorstX1nE/Tyr_Qz9mgTI/AAAAAAAABXE/wNxt0n8ZTFg/s1600/Magdalena.jpg

I am partial to this if it can be squeezed in somehow.

Maybe another version of it with you in it.

Anonymous said...

Hi Steve

Good luck with the reprint.

I agree that No 1 would suit well, if you wanted yourself on it, but no 2 with the Magdalena's behind the building is strikingly different, with eye-catching colours, and encapsulates the essence of Magdalena really well for me.

JohnnyUK

JohnyUK

Old Gunkie in Wyoming said...

If you change to a new cover I'll have to buy another one!

Anonymous said...

Like number one the best it has a "point", you and the dog, the human touch, and the open vastness of the land behind. The other pitures seem to lack "interest"! Sorry, have not read your book to make futher comments, but, got any pictures like that with a "hawk" in it?

Chas Clifton said...

Choice #1 obviously evokes the first edition's cover, and I do think a human figure gives scale to the landscape.

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

I'm voting for number one too, great picture of you.
I'd also recommend having a quote on the back cover, particularly the line about the horse that was shouted during the street brawl. No one could ever have made that up.

Mark Farrell-Churchill said...

Yes, very happy with the aesthetics of my copy. But if you're looking to update, I'd go with number 1 (for the reason already mentioned: you're in it, and it evokes a person in need of solace) or number 2.

Two is an image that catches the eye, which arguably is a book cover's job; I also like the balance it captures between culture as represented by the building and nature in the form of the sunlit hill behind.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, #1 for me, too. I like them all, in that they show the real landscapes of the book, but you with the sighthound is superior. And it seems you are looking back over the land, just as you are in memory in the book, and just as we all will be rereading it! And it will give the newer readers some historical perspective as well, I think......L.B.

Anonymous said...

I like all of the photographs and I know you have others from which you might choose (including, perhaps, the photograph from which the Chatham painting was done). But of these I agree with the previous comment: No. 1 without the jet trail, for the reasons stated. My second choice would be No. 3, though I think it's a bit wintry for this book.

D

Jess said...

I vote for number one. You standing and looking out over the landscape invites the reader to experience it through your narrative.

Gerard H. Cox said...

This is difficult, 'cause I like the original cover. Of the new ones, I like best the first, although I too would cut the con trail. I'd also darken your image so that you become a silhouette.

Best,
Gerry

Steve Bodio said...

I think that is the idea, Jim (;-))

Steve Bodio said...

The one to Jim was directed to "Old Gunkie".

And for Suburban Bushwhacker: I like it too, but few editors will risk "THAT HORSE NEVER FUCKED NOBODY!" on the cover, even the back cover...

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

But wouldn't it look great? That's the trouble with publishing today, no vision!
SBW

Anonymous said...

Without question, #1. It's the only one that captures what the book's about. Laura N.

LW said...

I agree with others that the first photo is best. I don't like the contrail, but at least you're not looking at a smart phone! :-) Being a big fan of this book, I am pleased that it will be released to a new audience of readers, and that you are still residing in the fascinating place where the adventure began. I cherish my copy of Querencia, purchased many years ago, but I will definitely be buying new copies. I wish you would someday come to the Tucson Festival of Books!

Best,
An Old Pueblo Querencia/Bodio fan

Matt Miller said...

Another vote for #1. I think a Querencia cover needs to have a person in it.

Guy Boyd said...

I like 1&2, but vote for 1 for reasons MFC articulated.

Annie said...

I like the image and the feeling in number one, and the light in number two. Sunset, perhaps, rather than sunrise, for all that time of day evokes. If you don't mind it looking a bit stylized, and more like a painting or watercolor than a photograph, you can play around with the image you have in photo editing software and see if the mood changes for better or worse with different lighting. Either way it will have to do honor to the soulful words and descriptions inside the jacket, which make it one of my all time special books.

Matt Mullenix said...

The crowd source has indicated my preference also :)

Anonymous said...

Another vote for # 1. Please include the jet trail in the sky.
It presents a grand counterpoint to you and hound on foot on the land as enhancing to POV in the book.
Ray in SC.

Anonymous said...

Ray in S. C. took the words right off'n my right index finger! After reading all the preferences and the understandable aesthetic desire to remove the jet stream, I also thought I kinda liked it--not that I think it is attractive in any way, but it well represents the contrast of "modern" and "primitive" we all must deal with these days. Those of us that are still somewhat primitive in our activities and nature, that is. And what a nice turn out of the "fans"! I should think, Mister Bodio, you are quite touched! In a sentimental way, not just a mental way.....L.B.

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Re the contrail

I like the way the picture hints at you're being alone in a vast space. A hole in the world left by a woman so multifaceted that she filled even the vast steppes of new mexico. The contrail is an important part of that, its says 'flyover country', it speaks of a vast emptiness that is actually full to the brim.

SBW

Anonymous said...

Katherine says No. 2 front cover and No. 1 back cover.

D

Chad Love said...

I'd like to blaze a new trail here and be different, but gotta go with the prevailing winds: #1...

mdmnm said...

#1 as most suggest, although I like #2 and #4 a lot. #4 wouldn't mean much to people not familiar with the country, so one of those low grey cloudy days where the elk are out at all hours wouldn't be as significant.
#1, darkened a bit, with contrail, would nicely recall the original and give a good sense of the book, in addition to being striking.

Andy said...

I am now catching up on your blog, having spent the prior week off the Internet in Mexico. Perhaps you have already decided, but since I finally read the copy you have me about a year ago, you know (presuming you received my text from a week ago) I now feel qualified to venture an opinion. Most definitely Number 1. I think the back would be good with Jack's winter shot, altho the shot of the building is striking. I think the sunset is great too, but perhaps a bit of a cliché?

Steve Bodio said...

The publisher has not communicated yet, but the vote here and elsewhere (including mine) is with you, perhaps flipped or modified.

Didn't get your note-- would love to hear...