Thursday, June 23, 2016

Review: Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers

Punderdome is a new card game based on a hipster live pun competition in Brooklyn invented by a father and daughter team.  Like the all of the best games, Punderdome is very simple at heart.  It has no bells and whistles.  Basically, it's a game that encourages you to make up terrible puns.  I have a love-hate relationship with puns.  On the one hand, they kind of annoy me with their stupidity, but I also can't help finding some of them clever and ridiculously amusing.  This game perfectly captures that probably pretty common reaction to puns.  One person is the pun master who randomly picks out two cards (like the ones you can see above), and then everyone else has a limited amount of time to come up with a pun that brings the two words together.  The pun master then decides which pun wins.  Simple!  Punderdome follows in the "venerable," or at least popular tradition of other creative and very simple card games like Apples to Apples and Cards Against Humanity.  The entire game comes in a little box (like the Trivial Pursuit box of cards) with a few envelopes (you can fill them in with your own words that people have to pun with), a couple of pads of paper for pun concocting, and a big stack of cards with words on them.

(I received this game from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.)

"Last Night I Dreamed I Went to Manderley Again": Karen Elson in Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca-Land by Erik Madigan Heck for Harper's Bazaar July 2016

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Gulliver Little Books

At first glance, these look like run-of-the-mill Penguin books, right?  In fact, they're called Gulliver Little Books, and they were 1/3 the size of actual Penguin paperbacks!  These miniature books, which were obviously modeled on Penguin books, were produced during World War II in the UK for children.  They were miniature because of wartime rationing, which extended to paper.


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Parisian Pantone from How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are, by Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline De Maigret, and Sophie Mas

As should be evident from this blog, I love Pantone, paint chips, and anything charming.  These Parisian paint chips from How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are make me very happy.  One chart shows Parisian colors of winter, including Clouds over the Pont Neuf, Chairs in the Luxembourg Gardens, A mean Yorkshire terrier, The Seine overflowing, It's always raining, Chipped nail polish, Rose-flavored macaron, and A run in your tights.  Summer's swatches include An afternoon fling, A burst of laughter, A novel by Françoise Sagan, An irritating rainfall, Verbena ice cream, The scent of vetiver on skin, Smiling Parisians, A glass of rosé, The Seine, always, A Flore cocktail, Brunch in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, A city tan, and The anise in your pastis.  Aren't they all lovely?  And the authors did a really amazing and thoughtful job of picking the colors to describe what are in most cases abstract or otherwise evanescent terms.    

Monday, June 13, 2016

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Classic Literature Wallpaper by Murals Wallpaper

British wallpaper company Murals has created a small collection of wallpapers printed with the original illustrations from Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland (by John Tenniel), L. Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz, (by W.W. Denslow) and the novels of Charles Dickens (by Joseph Clayton Clarke, aka "Kyd").  

Monday, June 6, 2016

Cover Envy: Sloane Crosley's The Clasp

Here's another (in my opinion) improved hardback to paperback cover design change.  Sloane Crosley's first novel, The Clasp, a comedic treasure hunt/mystery romp, comes out in paperback tomorrow (June 7), and the cover is quite different.  The hardback cover was well-designed, if a bit simplistic and flat (and slightly self-published looking) at first glance.  It was printed in three different bright colors, and the design was actually quite cool, with a gold chain snaking in and out of the letters.  The publisher clearly pulled out all of the stops for this first novel.  The paperback is more to my taste, and hugely different from the hardback cover.  I like the bold yellow and off-kilter font, and I love the background to the text, which is a close-up photograph of a traditional tapestry with bright embroidery added to it.  The background reminds me of the work of Richard Saja's Historically Inaccurate embroidered punk toile de jouy, which you can check out here. Edited: I just found an article on that says the background art was indeed designed by Richard Saja!  No wonder I love this cover so much!  Another small update (6/7/16): I just got a copy of the paperback, and the cover is embossed!  The text and all of the embroidery are actually raised, making this an even cooler cover.

Paperback cover

Hardback covers

Here's the Dutch cover that the EW article refers to.  Note the toile de jouy!

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Cover Envy: Deanna Raybourn's Veronica Speedwell Series

Deanna Raybourn's latest mystery series stars a spunky lepidopterist named Veronica Speedwell defying gender conventions and solving crimes in Victorian English.  I haven't read the first book, A Curious Beginning, and the second book comes out in January 2017.  These books sound delightful, but I wanted to point out the newly designed cover for the paperback edition of A Curious Beginning, which comes out this July.  The hardback cover was fine, but nothing to write home about (you can see it below).  The paperback cover, however, made me, I confess, immediately preorder the book, because it is so cleverly designed.  It is meant to look like the elaborate and perhaps over-designed embossed leather covers of Victorian novels.  Barnes & Noble's Collectible Editions is based on the same type of design, an example of which you can see below.  Check out the Victoria Speedwell covers below. I love a trompe l'oeil cover design!

The hardback cover:

Here's an example of a late 19th-century embossed leather binding:

Barnes & Noble Leatherbound Classics