Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Louisiana's State Bird in Danger Again

The brown pelican is protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty act of 1918.

In the early 1970’s, pesticides like DDT had put the brown pelican on the endangered species list. Research showed that the pesticide DDT caused the pelican eggshells to be too thin and incapable of supporting the embryo to maturity.

The US government imposed a ban on the use of DDT in 1972. Since then, the population of Brown Pelican has increased. Current estimates place the population at 650,000 individuals.

Since the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in April 2010, millions of barrels of crude oil dumping into the Gulf of Mexico has become a new threat to Louisiana’s state bird.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Ode to the Book Cover by Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent

Okay, I know, I am lazy about writing blog posts, but I've been doing a lot of revisions.  Honestly.  I found this post by Rachelle Gardner that I thought was very blog worthy, so I am reposting it.  See her very interesting and informative blog at

Monday, July 19, 2010

Ode to the Book Cover
Last week I had a little epiphany that made me just the teensiest bit less enthusiastic about e-books as the primary delivery method for books in the future.
I'd been reading The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow by Joyce Magnin on my Kindle. Then Joyce did a guest post for me and in the course of putting up her post, I perused her website and blog, and looked up her books on Amazon.

When I saw her book covers, I realized that although I'd already been reading the book, I'd never actually seen the cover. Don't know why, I just hadn't.

And as I looked at her book cover, I realized that if I'd seen it before I ever started reading the book, I'd have had a better feel for the book right from the beginning. I would have understood something about the tone and the feel of the book. I’d have known what kind of book I was reading. I'd have context.

That book cover—that picture—may not have been worth about a thousand words, but close.

And it hit me once again in a whole new way that when we go to strictly digital books, we're losing something. I won't talk about all the things we're losing and gaining (because I know it’s a trade off and I do love ebooks), but this one thing is enough to give me pause. Book covers are a whole art form unto themselves. There are people who are incredibly talented at this exact art form—creating a visual design that sets a tone and prepares a reader for the words within the cover. How sad to think that we may be moving to an era where far less effort will be expended on actual "cover design."

It's not just that we "judge a book by it's cover"—it's more than that. The cover design tells us at a glance information that it would take several minutes (or more) to get in words. It can do this on a subconscious level, too, helping us to instantly recognize books that are "for us" and reject the ones that aren't.

I can only hope that with the iPad and other technologies that have the capacity to show a beautiful image with clarity and definition, that book covers won't become a thing of the past but will simply be viewed in a new way. And I hope publishers continue to put a priority on quality cover design, because no matter whether it’s viewed on paper or digitally, I believe the cover of a book is an integral and important part of the whole reading experience.