A. L. Kennedy

iTunes has made album cover art all but obsolete—could book cover design be next? The Casual Optimist blog doesn't think so—it provides edifying links, interviews, and highlights of the best cover art—all dedicated to the idea that cover design is vital to the book trade. Novelist A. L. Kennedy writes that "these days authors are also judged by their covers." As writers make the rounds of author appearances, TV interviews, and publicity photo shoots, their looks sometimes seem almost as important as their books. As Kennedy notes, this can be a source of author anxiety: "As age and gravity assert themselves, my incipient goatee becomes luxuriant and my teeth remain as equine as ever, I can be sure that matters will only deteriorate. This should have very little to do with me, or my job—but it does."

From Vivian Gornick and Joan Didion to Emily Gould and Sloane Crosley. Are these last two women part of a new generation of memoirists, chronicling "a brave new female world," or the continuation of a trend in premature autobiography?

By now, you should be making good progress on your summer reading list. If you've yet to make headway, maybe you just need different books. The Millions has some suggestions, as does Maggie Fergusson at The Economists's More Intelligent Life site, while The Second Pass looks ahead to fall. And, if you're searching for like-minded readers, GalleyCat has collected a selection of Book Club Resources on Twitter.

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