what give a book the X FACTOR !

Well call me shallow I ve used the fact it is the X FACTOR final tonight to do a book related post I hate the show it is a meaningless money-making venture for mr Cowell and doesn’t high light real talent which would be writing the songs they sing as a lover of sing /songwriters  a show that focused on that talent and help people establish a realistic career rather than a Warhol  15 mins of fame !

Well to the point what makes the X factor of A book I ve Pick 8 from the last year that on cover and style would make me buy them above others on the shelves .


The books are from top left clockwise –

The Whitsun wedding by Philip Larkin ,I love Larkin this is from Faber’s Poetry first collection the book reminds me a little of a ladybird books from my youth if a little large and with lovely end papers inside .

The last brother by Nathacha Appanah ,Now I think Maclehose always do wonderful covers this cover sums up this book tropical but sorrowful and would always catch my eye on the shelf .

Senselessness by H C Moya ,this is a wonderfully produced book from New directions ,and like last brother catches the spirit of this book a blood soaked report being read during the book .

The thousand autumns of Jacob De Zoet by David Mitchell ,this is a tactile book ,but evokes its setting Japan also love the fact it goes all round the book so both front and back cover are beautiful wonderful foil detail make it glisten in the light .

Beside the sea by Veonique Olmi ,what more can I say I m a huge fan of all thing Peirene the cover ,font and flaps all perfect make reading these little gems a pleasure .

A year in the woods by Colin Elford ,the simple drawing throughout this book and eye pleasing font size made it a lovely book to read and own .But most of all a gift from my lovely wife made it special to me .

Sunset Oasis by Bahaa Taher ,I ve yet to get to this but read few Arabic books in summer so will get to this early next year I love the raised effect on this cover making it very tactile in your hand ,this was the arabic booker winner .



Intimate stranger by Breyten Breytenbach ,this is one of the lovely books published by non-profit publisher Archipelago books in the us I ve three from them and will get more next year there books are truly wonderful and quirky square print on heavy paper with unusual cover art .




7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. The Book Whisperer
    Dec 11, 2010 @ 14:24:13

    Great idea for a post, Stu! I do disagree about the X Factor though – I love it! I completely understand what you say but I really think that programmes like the X Factor are great for finding talent. There are, and have been, some real talent found on shows like this and I think it’s unfair to write people off just because they haven’t spent the last 10 years doing the club circuit or can’t play a guitar or write their own songs; I believe there is a place for everyone and good luck to those who want to do it this way, I say. This could be because I come from a business background and I work spend my days selling and strategising and negotiating and getting straight down to business so I do come at it from a differnt angle from you but I don’t think it’s fair to say that they are “meaningless talent”.

    In terms of what gives books the X factor – I agree that covers play such a huge part. I have picked up many a book off a shelf by being wowed by the cover and being drawn in that way. Likewise, I have walked away from books (even if they are on my radar) because I don’t like the cover.

    From the ones you have put above, I love the Nathacha Appanah one too. Tropical but sorrowful sums it up – I loved books that make me wonder what could be inbetween the pages and this one is going to make me nip on to Amazon and look it up – clever marketing people! 🙂


  2. The Book Whisperer
    Dec 11, 2010 @ 14:26:41

    Just looked it up, Stu and it looks fab! I am going to have to order this now! 🙂


    • winstonsdad
      Dec 11, 2010 @ 14:30:15

      IT is boof just up your street there is a slight Israeli connection to it agree with you some people have talent the lass from liverpool has a true soul voice but wonder if it is suit to pop market ,my wife loves it but all I see is cowell making money ,all the best stu


      • The Book Whisperer
        Dec 11, 2010 @ 14:44:00

        That’s what I thought – I’m going to treat myself to this after christmas.

        Ahh, I suspected that it was Mr Cowell you didn’t like (my dad hates him for the same reason) but I love him! 😉

  3. chasing bawa
    Dec 11, 2010 @ 19:46:03

    I love this idea too! I often buy books because of their cover and sometimes I kick myself if the particular cover is no longer in print…


  4. Heather
    Dec 12, 2010 @ 03:35:26

    Covers are important for me. Also I tend to avoid ones that at the time they are getting huge amounts of hype. Not appealing to me at all.


  5. Trackback: TSS – Wow factor books! « Lizzy’s Literary Life

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December 2010


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