Click on any of the custom-designed banners to get to a book review.
Each of these banners have been custom-designed to fit the review, and each one incorporates an element of the book cover design combined with one of M. Bijman or M.F. O’Brien’s photos, or just the cover element, or just a photo. The photos are chosen to fit both the style and palette of the cover design and the atmosphere of the book. As such, each banner is like a little “precursor” to the review. Sometimes the photo is enough to give a foretaste of the feel of the book.
There’s Daniel Craig, in the water, looking implacable. So this must be about Bond.
One in a series of four SF novels – we’ve had three, waiting for no. 4.
Very fuzzy family memories and very confused thoughts.
Strange forest and a strange search for a missing woman.
Part of this is my painting of a lake, part of it is the cover of the novel about a holiday home on an island off the coast of Finland.
This old dude has the attitude of a teenager, now more than ever. But it looks like he’s about to ride straight into the traffic…
In the mood for some poetical social critique and humour? Here you go then. (This bus in the pic is in Vancouver, BC.)
This book has one key element – snow – and one key clue – a guitar. More than this would spoil the plot.
A harsh landscape (in this case a painting of it) with a couple of horses. Pretty much the environment of famous cowboy Wyatt Earp, written in Larry McMurtry’s famous spare style.
Scene of a chilly morning in a Nordic country – and a cold-hearted killer for hire. What’s not to love?
What’s the future of book publishing? Can you grow a forest for it now?
There is something large and weird stalking Paris, France.
The descriptions of food are way better than the rest of the novel.
Shostakovich is looking depressed. Russian melancholy – to be expected?
Shacks, shanty-towns, misery and magic.
Cancer = crab = Krebs (German). Cold volcanic-sand beach, home for a red-hot crab.
Blue teddy-bears can be terrible.
Tulip fever, orchid fever, futures market trading, madness, art, etc.
The ghost of a small child amongst the shadows of the forest. Lots of ghosts in this one.
Dissolute youth goes to Paris to find himself. How boring can it get?
Sjón. Seriously distracting. ‘Nuff said.
One of the books involved an “ice child”, therefore the iconic Russian illustration and a photo of Canadian woods in winter.
Murder, corruption and very fine Chinese poetry.
A South African landscape for a South African author.
Mary Poppins being blown about in a photo of a wintry suburban street. Wintry, because Mary Poppins was a pretty cold character.
A bridge that looks like bars of a cage because the book is about a painting of a caged goldfinch.
A storm trooper superimposed on a photo of a bridge in a local park because the book is William Shakespeare’s Star Wars. Not the bridge of a starship.
Oprichniks = Russia = photo of Moscow.
Book about the end of the world – naturally needs a photo of Mount St. Helens which exploded catastrophically.
Which city? Vancouver, Canada, of course.
Summer books review requires photo of cool water and hot feet.
The ship from the cover of an 18th century island story fitted into a shot of a rock formation on the British coast.
All nasty things lurk in this book and perhaps along that dark forest path in the photo…
It’s about Portugal, slavery, cars, not so much mountains – and apes.
It’s the words of an astronaut, who believes that the skills he learned can be applied in everyday life. So why not put him on a ski slope in his space suit?
Two writers who write about death, and do so very well.
Hercule Poirot has always been my favourite detective. At times I have to remind myself that Agatha Christie invented him.
The futuristic looking font and multiple planets should give you an idea what this one is about.
The cover was minimalist with a lightning flash and a little yellow figure. So that’s how I kept it. Though the book was by no means minimalist, rather the opposite.
Tango! Passion! Drama! Therefore storm clouds and a palette of primary colours. Elementary, as Sherlock Holmes said.
The woman sleeping is from the novel “Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress” one of the books I review in this essay.
Well, the character gets sick from nuts. The writer may be nuts. And as for liking the novel – oh….nuts.
That’s it. “S”. That’s the whole thing.
Closest I could get to a photo of farm animals.
God-forsaken farm scene from South Africa for a discussion of her novels as an exile.
Sweltering clouds = erotica, not to press too fine a point.
The lady is famous, so her famous face is all over the banner.
The book is about the roots that bind people to their homeland, so the photo is of tangled roots. The silhouette is of the “Oscar” in the title.
One of my favourites: the main character in the book, with her bags, cut from the cover and placed looking towards a church on the banks of the Coquitlam River. She did go to live in a church in the book.
As the theme song goes in “Corner Gas”, “there’s not a lot going on”, nor in the flat prairie in the photo.
Foreign, feminine, a bit freaky – like these waxy-looking and impossibly perfect lilies.
Just guess how this novel ended.
An iconic black and white photo fitted onto black and white scenery.
It’s all about words, like in the photo of this monument in Paris. The image of the man is one of the illustrations in the book.
It’s about fables – and what is more typical than Red Riding Hood, but set against a dramatic winter wood.
The raccoon in the story looks a bit crazy. So too thinks the other furry creature in this photo.
This is our street in winter. But the man in the coat is Reve’s depressed protagonist. Depressed, yes – boring, never.
Creepy font for a book about food and murder.
This was a real wolf photographed at a wolf sanctuary. Sad.
Chinese fretwork window screens at the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Garden in Vancouver, and posed in that room, the family Fang of the book.
An illustration of one of Terry Pratchett’s most famous characters, Death, but in a setting with matching colours, the waterfront of Vancouver on a misty evening.
One of Mark Hogancamp’s little figures, re-positioned in a snowy landscape in BC, Canada.
Laura Ingalls Wilder from the cover of the book, superimposed on a background of sunlit trees.
The Bard is William Shakespeare. ‘Nuff said.
Aucamp wrote about extremes – so it is a picture of contrasts.
A white header for a book about porcelain.
The tree from Ishiguro’s book cover combined with some actual trees from London’s Hyde Park.
A Sci-Fi city and a real city, Vancouver.
It’s about forgetting – so the photo fades out.
A complicated post-apocalyptic trilogy so the picture is of tangled branches that look pretty dead.
An umbrella would’ve been too obvious.
An attempt to show the theme of music in the novel.
It may be a depressing novel about racism, but there is a hopeful message, like a chink of rainbow.
Little kid in the snow with a parent waiting to see if he will break his neck on the slopes, or turn into a champion. Pretty much what happens in the novel.
The main character is told “Never go to London”. Here’s the London Eye in all its night-time glory. Why shouldn’t he go? It’s so glam!