There are generally two schools of thought when it comes to summer reading. Some see the season as a time to rest their weary minds with books that do not ask too much of them. We know the covers of these titles well: Rendered in mollifying colours like aqua, they do little but advertise their own breeziness. Others see summer, with its long days tinged with a sort of heaviness, as a chance to sit very still and give themselves over to the most demanding and long-deferred of books. “Are people going to read Proust and make a living at the same time?” Roy Blount Jr. asked in a 1985 essay published in The New York Times. No they are not, he argues, because they are waiting for the beach. But then what if, in addition to being a reader, you are also an artist, and find that other people’s creative work is not so easily separated from your own?
Here, 11 artists propose a new cover design for one of their favourite summer reads. While the selections range in genre, mood and seriousness — no one chose Proust, but you’d be hard-pressed to find any of these titles at an airport shop — most relate back to their makers’ practice. Though that doesn’t mean that their literary inspirations can’t be our welcome escapes.
Subscribe to our newsletter