Book Cover Reviews: My Father, the Pornographer: A Memoir

 My Father the Pornographer by Chris Offutt

My Father the Pornographer by Chris Offutt

Two days ago we rummaged through Shackleton's bookshelves to explore the books people take on expeditions to Antarctica. Today's book cover review focuses on a very different pile of books. 

This beautifully observed memoir explores a complicated father-son relationship. The hook here is that Chris' father died, he left his son desk, a rifle and 1800 pounds of porn. In total his father had authored 400 pornography novels spanning genres from sci-fi to pirates on the high seas. Chris began to examine his dead fathers possessions and realized he finally had an opportunity to understand the man he always feared but never understood. 

But what of the cover?  The design by Jamie Keenan is an absolute delight. The inherited pile of antique porn novels are shaped in a pile to reveal the portrait of Chris's father – revealing the premise of the book – that we will learn more (get inside the head) of this mysterious character as we delve through his works. 

That in itself would make a good book cover, but Keenan did not stop there. He drew on a technique known as fore-edge painting, in which a scene is painted on the edges of the pages of a book. By introducing fore-edge painting, he turned the pile of books into a masterclass in typography.

As you may have guessed – I love this cover. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.