Saturday, December 26, 2015

Shelf Candy Saturday #167: Speak, by Louisa Hall

Welcome to Shelf Candy Saturday!

This is my weekly feature
showcasing beautiful covers!
It also provides information, if available,
on their very talented creators!

Here's my choice for this week!

Louisa Hall
Hardcover, 336 pages
Ecco, First Edition 
July 7, 2015
Contemporary Fiction,  Historical Fiction, 
Science Fiction

My Thoughts About This Cover

This is not a YA novel, but the cover is so absolutely stunning and gorgeous, I just had to feature it on "Shelf Candy Saturday"! 

I have always loved circles and spheres (and all planets are spheres, which I am very happy about), so it's entirely unsurprising that I would love this magnificent cover.

Having studied this brilliant, yet fairly simple composition for several minutes, I have come to the conclusion that its symbolism refers to the interaction of human intelligence with nature. The patterns of nature, for instance, have inspired technological innovations. Also, the patterns in themselves are beautiful. A case in point: fractals. Their beauty is not lessened by their mathematical intricacies.

Human-made patterns are no less beautiful than natural ones, this cover seems to be saying. Thus, we have computer circuits and a moiré pattern interacting with a Nautilus shell pattern, and what look like patterns of bone and cell tissue seen under a microscope.

The circle in the middle, which holds the bold title, also displays a ghostly-looking 19th-century ship on symmetrically-rolling waves. I think this is a reference to the ship on which Darwin sailed -- the "Beagle". Thus, this is a subtle reference to his theory of evolution. I could be wrong about this interpretation, since I haven't read the book, but it seems like good speculation, considering the overall message of the cover.

What all this seems to be pointing at is the evolution of human intelligence, as it interacted with nature. This novel is about the development of artificial intelligence. That topic might be only slightly hinted at in this cover, but is not immediately obvious.

Aside from all the symbolism, the colors are strikingly beautiful, and the composition is very well-balanced, as well as visually pleasing.

I have already added this book to my Goodreads shelves, both because of this cover, and the subject matter of the book. This is a real treasure! When I do read it, though, I will be reviewing it on my second blog, because A Night's Dream of Books is dedicated to YA fiction. My other blog is titled MindSpirit Book Journeys.

The brilliant designer behind this great cover is Jim Tierney, a young American artist who studied Illustration at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. He designed book covers for Penguin at one time, but is currently working freelance out of his home in Brooklyn. He's married to Sara Wood, a Senior Designer at Ecco Books who also creates awesome covers. (Source: Website) Well, they both have a new fan here!!

Online Links

What do you think of this 
week's cover?
Would it entice you to buy
this book and read it?


  1. As someone who can't get enough of beautiful covers, I love this feature! Especially the amount of depth you go into :) another great post
    Enchanted by YA

    1. Hi, Anna!

      I'm so enchanted by beautiful covers, I prefer to buy an edition of a book that has a beautiful cover, even if I can get a cheaper edition with an ugly cover!

      I love to analyze the covers I pick for "Shelf Candy Saturday". I studied art in college, so that helps.

      Thanks so much for the great comment!! : )

  2. This cover is so pretty! <3 I'm a sucker for pretty covers haha and I love the whole meaning of it that you came up with, it's amazing :D

    Lipstick and Mocha

    1. Hi, Carla!

      I'm a sucker for pretty covers, too!! Sometimes I wish I could have a poster of a cover so I could frame it and put it on my bedroom wall.

      Thanks for the compliment, and the very nice comment overall!! : )

  3. I really like this cover too. There is something about about circlers and spheres that really tugs at something in our psyches.

    Your analysis of the symbolism here is brilliant. I think that you are correct. I really like the mixing of circuit boards with what looks like foliage.

    1. Hi, Brian!

      There's definitely something about circles and spheres.....I wonder exactly what it is, but I like the way you put it, "...that really tugs at something in our psyches." Indeed!

      Yeah, the juxtaposition of the circuit boards with teh natural patterns (I wasn't sure if they were foliage, or human tissue -- like marrow -- that you see under a microscope) was just awesome.

      Thanks for the compliment, and for the nice comment overall!! : )


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