Sunday, November 6, 2016

Shelf Candy Saturday No. 193: Beauty Belongs to the Flowers, by Matthew Sanborn Smith

Welcome to Shelf Candy Saturday!


Due to some unforeseen circumstances, 
this post is late again....
I guess I'll have to play things by ear.
Although this meme is titled 
"Shelf Candy Saturday", some weeks
 it will seem to be 
"Shelf Candy Sunday". Lol.

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!

Beauty Belongs to the Flowers
Matthew Sanborn Smith
Kindle Edition , 30 pages
 Tor Books
February 1, 2011
Science Fiction, Short Stories

My Thoughts About This Cover

This is a GORGEOUS cover! I was surprised to see that it was for a digital book, and a very short one, too. I've never seen such beauty on a cover intended for an electronic book. This saddens me, as I would much prefer to see a cover like this one on a printed books.

The colors are bright and so very cheerful, which is interesting, because, according to the synopsis -- as well as a couple of reviews I've read -- the story is not exactly a happy one. In fact, I confirmed this for myself when I read a brief excerpt on Amazon. The story beginning is pretty grim. So I find it highly ironic that the sleeping young woman in the lower right-hand corner of this cover seems to be having a nice dream.

The orange flower next to the young woman's head is strikingly beautiful. It's just a shade darker than the woman's lipstick, which is rather interesting. The background color is a nice contrast to the flower, as well as to all of the hanging cables, if that's what they are. Since I've read the story's beginning, I think they could be IV tubes, actually.

This is really a very enigmatic cover. Is the girl in some sort of medically-induced coma? Is she hooked up to a virtual reality machine? What's the meaning of this flower? Is it supposed to represent a poppy, which is the flower from which opium, and also, heroin, are derived? And what about the upper left-hand corner of the cover. What is it supposed to represent? These images just raise so many questions....

Normally, I would have objected to the cover image being split into sections, the way this one is. And the title is printed on a light orange bar running through the upper half of the cover, too. Somehow, however, these things don't bother me here. The composition is just as effective! Besides, the drawing is exquisite, and I LOVE the various shades of orange, even though this color is far from being my favorite.

As for the font, it's very ordinary looking, but it does stand out because it's placed on that light orange bar. Its simplicity is in stark contrast to the rest of the cover.  

The amazing art for this cover was created by the brilliant Japanese illustrator, Yuko Shimizu. Based in New York City, she's also an instructor at the School of Visual Arts. In 2009, Newsweek Japan included her in their list, "One Hundred Japanese People the World Respects".

She has published several monographs of her work, and has illustrated many book covers, for publishers such as Penguin and Scholastic. Her art can also be seen on The Gap T-shirts, Pepsi cans, VISA billboards, and Microsoft and Target ads. Her work has also been featured in The New York Times, DC Comics, Time, Rolling Stone, and The New Yorker.

I'm definitely adding Shimizu to my list of favorite book illustrators! And I would like to get a hold of at least one of her monographs!    
What do you think of this 
week's cover?
Please leave a comment
and let me know!


  1. Hey Maria.

    This is indeed a striking color.

    I also agree with what you wrote about its colors and its beauty.

    I find the cables and connectors, which might be IV tubes a little disconcerting. They a look like both an extension of the flowers and medical contrivances. This adds a lot to the picture for me.

    Have a great weekend.

    1. Hey, Brian!

      Oh, most definitely! And it's so interesting that I love this cover, even though orange has never been even remotely a favorite color of mine! Lol.

      I agree -- the cables and connectors are kind of disconcerting. They might be extensions of the flowers, but I don't know about that. My (tentative) conclusion about them possibly being IV tubes is based on the story's beginning, and I really don't want to read it in its entirety. Lol. But they do "add a lot to the picture", as you say.

      Hope you had a great weekend, and will have a wonderful week ahead! Thanks for always leaving such interesting comments on this book meme!! :)

  2. Found this while googling myself (because I have no life). You can see the image without the title bar here and that will clear up some of the mystery. But you needn't feel obligated to read the story. I understand. Yuko is brilliant!

    1. Hi, Matthew!

      Oh, what a serendipitous event! :)

      I've gone to the link you provided, and that does indeed clear up the mystery! The "cables" are definitely IV tubes. I suspected as much, but wasn't quite sure.

      I will try to read the story, since you've been nice enough to come by and comment on my post. It does sound like a great story, even though the beginning is rather sad. :)

      Yes, Yuko is indeed brilliant! I had never heard of her before. In fact, since starting this meme, I've become aware of all the AWESOME cover illustrators and designers out there. In my opinion, they deserve more credit for their incredible work!

      Thanks so much for dropping by and commenting!! :)

  3. That really is a pretty cover! It deserves to be in print so it can grace book-lovers' bookshelves! I agree the colors are cheerful so I find it interesting that the story seems to be a sad one. Thank you for bringing this book to my attention and for bringing so much attention to the wonderful illustrators you feature here. Have a fabulous Monday, my friend! *HUGS* <3 <3 <3

    1. Hi, Michele!

      Yes, it is!! I would love to grace my own bookshelves with this GORGEOUS cover, but, this is only a short story....They really should have published a collection of short stories by this author, with THIS cover!

      It's not only interesting but ironic that this particular story has a sad beginning, considering what appears to be a cheerful cover. I've visited the post the author pointed out to me, and have seen the entire cover. The cables are, indeed, IV tubes. So then the question remains as to whether the young woman pictured is in a medically-induced coma, or is on a virtual reality trip, as either one could conceivably use IV tubes.

      You're very welcome for not only this cover, but all the others I've featured in the past, as well as well as all the AWESOME illustrators and designers! I really do think that cover illustrators and designers deserve more credit than they get!!

      I hope you had a WONDERFUL Monday, and thanks for leaving such a lovely comment!! *HUGS BACK!!!* <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)

  4. Wow, that cover is pretty awesome. I'm not a huge fan of yellow, but it really is striking on that cover. I'm going to have to look up this digital book to see if it's something I might be interested in. Wonderful choice this week as always!

    1. Hi, Barb!

      Yes, it is! I'm not a fan of that color, either, but, as you say, it IS striking on this cover! Ironically, the story has a sad beginning. I might or might not read it.

      Glad you liked my choice! Thanks for dropping by and commenting!! :)


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