The photo to the left does not do the book justice. At least not as an object. Adam Novy's The Avian Gospels: Book I (Short Flight/Long Drive Books, a division of Hobart, 2010) has some incredible writing within. It's a tale I fell deep into and was elated I had Book II handy in galley form when I did so I could keep reading. That said, I think I'd want this book on my shelves even if the writing was only so-so. Aaron Burch, at least to my knowledge, designed this book, as he has previous issue of Hobart and the other Short Flight/Long Drive mini-books. This time around, Aaron went over the top. With the gospels right there in the title, Aaron designed the book as much like a bible as possible. Not your big family bible, but the personal, small black leather bound bible one might carry to and fro to church on Sundays. The leather look is red this time around, with gold lettering (as well as bird-shapes), plus gold gilded edges and a bright red page placeholder. Even the interior design (and this may be from Adam's original concept, it may be from Aaron's, I don't recall) has a biblical look to it with the line tracking up and down the pages. It's truly a book I pick up just to look at with admiration every so often.
Zach Dodson over at Featherproof Books is another guy that's just not satisfied putting out a great book, not if something special can be done with the design. One of their most recent titles, Lindsay Hunter's Daddy's (Featherproof Books, 2010) is made to look just like a tacklebox. The book needs to be held sideways to read the stories within, and the cover flaps over the edges on both sides, with what appears to be a lock right in the middle, just like a real tacklebox would have.
Diagram Magazine celebrated their tenth anniversary by putting out a deck of cards with short stories or poems on them (well, some had diagrams on them). With authors and editors from past issues involved there is work from people like Brian Evenson, Michael Martone, Lucy Corin, Caitlin Horrocks, Sean Lovelace, Ben Marcus, Kellie Wells and the journal's main man, Ander Monson. Each author did a great job of working the card specifics (Jack, Clubs) into their work as well. It's a great deck of cards for poker, or for simply reading on the couch.
Back to Hobart, but this time via the fine folks at Spork. They took 20 or so copies of Hobart #11, The Great Outdoors issue, and re-created them. They stripped the originals of their sweet cover and replaced the covers and interior wraps with thick cardboard stock and a new antelope/gazelle cover all their own. It makes for a great special edition of the issue.
The great thing about all four of these items is not only are they fantastic to look at, they're all incredible reads as well, which definitely is needed. All flash and no substance will probably grab my attention, but not be remembered much beyond "remember that book that flew like a paper airplane?". These authors and journals will all be remembered for the kick-ass designs, but also because people will continue to read and recommend what's inside as well.