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Charlie Orr
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Introduction I love all kinds of books, but I tend to gravitate towards those that have a speculative bent. This is the reason I like novels so much, the form is entirely speculative, in the sense that all novelists are creating their characters and worlds from whole cloth. But within... Continue reading
Posted Aug 23, 2010 at The Hypothetical Library
Introduction There is a scene in the film Caddyshack in which a young girl casually tosses a Baby Ruth candy bar into a swimming pool full of frolicking caddys. The theme from Jaws begins, and the camera tracks the unfortunately shaped candy bar as it floats ominously through the pool.... Continue reading
Posted Jul 12, 2010 at The Hypothetical Library
Update: As it turns out the photo I selected for the cover art of The Polaris Redaction was a little more perfect than I thought. I chose this picture, because it worked well for the composition I had in mind, but as it turns out the building of the launch... Continue reading
Posted Jun 20, 2010 at The Hypothetical Library
Introduction One of the more popular postings on The Hypothetical Library was Jennifer L. Knox's "adaptation" of Mark Bittman's How To Cook Everything. She took his monumental cookbook, scratched out his name, replaced it with her own, and then added a new introduction. Here is the adjusted cover, and you... Continue reading
Posted Jun 7, 2010 at The Hypothetical Library
This past week was big one for The Hypothetical Library. The Neil Gaiman posts received a great deal of attention from readers as well as other blogs. It was also the week of Book Expo America here in New York. During BEA, I had a chance to meet a lot... Continue reading
Posted Jun 2, 2010 at The Hypothetical Library
Announcement I am happy to announce that 1 very real, non-hypothetical copy of If You Read This Book The World Will End is being donated to The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and will be auctioned to raise funds for this very crucial organization. It will be 1 of the... Continue reading
Posted May 24, 2010 at The Hypothetical Library
Introduction A little over a year ago I was thinking about the Kindle and e-books, and what these developments meant for books, and publishing. Book lovers hated the device, people leaning towards the gadget side of things thought it was neat. It would either kill publishing or save it—who knew... Continue reading
Posted May 23, 2010 at The Digital Book Cover
Introduction One of the keys to understanding the loyalty of Neil Gaiman’s readers is his willingness to engage them on a personal level. With his daily Twitter comments and frequent blog postings, Gaiman’s fans are privy to his weekly activities on a level that most writers wouldn’t dare encourage. But... Continue reading
Posted May 20, 2010 at The Hypothetical Library
Introduction Author Neil Gaiman isn't just liked by his readers—he's adored by them. With a Twitter audience of more than 1,480,000, he has a daily following that hangs on his every word. But his writing strikes a chord that extends beyond fannish obsession. Its appeal has everything to do with... Continue reading
Posted May 17, 2010 at The Hypothetical Library
On Wednesday's post I said that the name Shanna Compton would be coming up a lot in my posts. I went back and counted, and there have been a total of 16 mentions including the one above. The reason for all of these Shanna mentions (17) is because without her I would have never met so many poets and writers, and I wouldn't have any covers to present here. Which brings us to todays topic, David Lehman. The first time I heard David's name was when Shanna (18) told me that she would be studying with him at the New... Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
This is a story I still find astonishing but it is completely true. Sometime in the late 1960's, poet and life long comics fan, Kenneth Koch reached out to then star and now legend of the comic book world, Stan Lee. He had an idea for a Vietnam protest comic book that he and Lee would collaborate on. In the end it fell through—Lee said his (unnamed) cartoonist thought the proposal was too "far out". As Head Librarian of the Hypothetical Library and comics fan, this notion makes my head reel. Just imagine a story penned by Koch, and drawn... Continue reading
Posted May 14, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
Today I'm featuring cartoonist Matt Madden. Influenced by the European literary group Oulipo and it's comics equivalent Oubapo (of which Matt is a member), his comics often use the oulipian approach of imposed constraints. Matt's experiments led this to a very poetry relevant piece he did a few years ago The Six Treasures of the Spiral: A Comics Sestina. Which, as it says in the title is a sestina done in comics form—the worlds first! I won't go into the structural details of a sestina, because frankly I never could keep them straight. But as a readers of the BAP... Continue reading
Posted May 13, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
Today I'm writing about the inimitable Jennifer L.Knox. Jennifer is a poet I've followed for years. Her work is often funny which a rarity in the poetry world. It's a notion that reaffirmed by the blank looks I get every time I tell someone "you should read Jennifer's poetry, it's hilarious". She was featured on my Hypothetical Library blog two weeks ago with an amazingly funny found object approach to book design—take someone else's book scratch out their name and add your own and voila, instant book. You can see the results of How To Cook Everything and its great... Continue reading
Posted May 12, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
Today I'd like to focus on some of the work I've done with poet, and best friend Shanna Compton. Throughout these posts you will see her name pop up again and again because without Shanna I would have never met so many poets and writers, and probably would have never got involved with publishing or book cover design at all. As both a poet, and poetry editor for softskull press Shanna introduced me to a range of writers, and most of the covers you will see this week are directly or indirectly a result of Ms. Compton. Shanna is the... Continue reading
Posted May 11, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
No, it isn't, but I thought I'd start with a provocative title for my series of entries. My name is Charlie Orr, and I am a designer, not a poet or even a writer. I have a blog called The Hypothetical Library, which in its short two and a half month life has included two poets—David Lehman, and Jennifer L. Knox (with more on the way). The premise of my blog is that I design real book covers for nonexistent books, as proposed by real authors. (BAP has graciously included me in their blogroll; click to see the results and... Continue reading
Posted May 10, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
Introduction Welcome to a very special Mother's Day edition of the Hypothetical Library. This week I am featuring Marilyn Orr—my Mom. The book, Hair to Bones: The Evolution of an American Woman is her first (hypothetical) book. (Dad, guess what you’re getting for Father’s Day.) It's safe to say that... Continue reading
Posted May 9, 2010 at The Hypothetical Library
Introduction If you’ve visited this blog before, you know that the covers displayed here are usually based on hypothetical flap copy provided by the writer. And if you saw last weeks entry, you know that I’m prone to break my own rules. It’s in this spirit that I present this... Continue reading
Posted May 3, 2010 at The Hypothetical Library
Introduction This week The Hypothetical Library is featuring its first guest designer, the magnificent poet, Jennifer L. Knox. Jennifer is a designer in the sense that she has a black Sharpie marker, glue stick, and a preexisting book to deface. As a wedding present for her friends, she did an... Continue reading
Posted Apr 26, 2010 at The Hypothetical Library
Update 4/20/10 In my 8 plus years of book design I’ve never actually seen a stranger with a book whose cover I designed—until this morning. The book was The Age of Sinatra from softskull press. David Ohle’s sequel to his legendary postmodern novel Motorman. It was gratifying to see my... Continue reading
Posted Apr 19, 2010 at The Hypothetical Library
Introduction This is a very special entry of The Hypothetical Library for two reasons. One being that Gabrielle Bell’s 2002 début collection, When I’m Old and Other Stories, was the first book I ever designed. And second, because this entry is a kind of hypothetical, hypothetical book cover. Let me... Continue reading
Posted Apr 12, 2010 at The Hypothetical Library
Introduction One of the most unsettling but rewarding reading experiences I’ve ever had was with Brian Evenson’s novel Last Days. In his book, a detective named Mr. Kline is coerced into solving a murder that occurred on the compound of a religious cult that, as the back cover copy says,... Continue reading
Posted Apr 5, 2010 at The Hypothetical Library
This week the overworked, but loyal staff (me) of the Hypothetical Library are taking some time off. I’m a little worn out from, as musician Mark Eitzel puts it “the pleasures of the treadmill and the factory”. But The Library will be up and running next week with Brian Evenson’s... Continue reading
Posted Mar 29, 2010 at The Hypothetical Library
Introduction “The number one rule of thieves is that nothing is too small to steal.”—Jimmy Breslin When I started this introduction I was looking for a good “big city” quote, that would best describe Thomas Kelly’s writing, and found it in the above, from Jimmy Breslin—patron saint of urban wisdom.... Continue reading
Posted Mar 22, 2010 at The Hypothetical Library
Errata Hypothetica The Hypothetical Library is in need of its first major correction above and beyond the usual poor grammar, run-on sentences and overuse of commas. I neglected to place a hypothetical promotional blurb from the very real Jonathan Lethem on the cover of Apocalypse Animals. Please see the revised... Continue reading
Posted Mar 15, 2010 at The Hypothetical Library
Introduction As a poet, historical/cultural critic, editor, and educator, David Lehman is something of a literary cottage industry. So when I contacted him for this project I wasn’t sure what he might come up with. I was anticipating poetry, but got history instead. In Lehman’s historical/cultural writings, beginning with his... Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2010 at The Hypothetical Library