SEVEN CIRCUMSTANCES

Original Book Reviews, Recommendations and Discussions

From Pics to Posts – Surprise me!

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 is something large and weird stalking Paris, France.

There is something large and weird stalking Paris, France.

Shostakovich is looking depressed. Russian morbidity - to be expected?

Shostakovich is looking depressed. Russian melancholy – to be expected?

Shacks, shanty-towns, misery and magic.

Shacks, shanty-towns, misery and magic.

Blue teddy-bears can be terrible.

Blue teddy-bears can be terrible.

Dissolute youth goes to Paris to find himself. How boring can it get?

Dissolute youth goes to Paris to find himself. How boring can it get?

Sjón. Seriously distracting. ‘Nuff said.

Sjón. Seriously distracting. ‘Nuff said.

 

A year in books

One of the books involved an “ice child”, therefore the iconic Russian illustration and a photo of Canadian woods in winter.

22 And the Mountains Echoed

The book title has “mountains” in it – so the picture is enough.

21 Remembrance

A dark and foreboding photo of a dark novel.

20 B Breytenbach2

A South African landscape for a South African author.

19.1 Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins being blown about in a photo of a wintry suburban street. Wintry, because Mary Poppins was a pretty cold character.

18 The Goldfinch

A bridge that looks like bars of a cage because the book is about a painting of a caged goldfinch.

16 WS Star Wars

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.

21 Day of the Oprichnik

Oprichniks = Russia = photo of Moscow.

16 World of Trouble

Book about the end of the world – naturally needs a photo of Mount St. Helens which exploded catastrophically.

16 The city and the city

Which city? Vancouver, Canada, of course.

15 Summer books for road trips

Summer books requires photo of cool water and hot feet.

14 The island of Wings

The ship from the cover of an 18th century island story fitted into a shot of a rock formation on the British coast.

13 Wonderland

All nasty things lurk in this book and perhaps along that dark forest path in the photo…

13 The High Mountains

It’s about Portugal, slavery, cars, not so much mountains – and apes.

14 An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth

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?

12 T Pratchett J Barnes

Two writers who write about death, and do so very well.

 

 

 

11 People of the Deer

Farley Mowat is a Canadian icon. So is the beautiful Lake Louise on this photo.

12 Two years_Rushdie

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.

14_The Gods of Tango

Tango! Passion! Drama! Therefore storm clouds and a palette of primary colours. Elementary, as Sherlock Holmes said.

Print books evolve

A pretty cut-out paper sculpture made from a printed book. Sacrilege! But pretty nonetheless.

20 Chinese novels

The woman sleeping is from the novel “Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress” one of the books I review in this essay.

19 Worst person ever

Well, the character gets sick from nuts. The writer may be nuts. And as for liking the novel – oh….nuts.

17.S.

That’s it. “S”. That’s the whole thing.

17 Rhino Ranch

Closest I could get to a photo of farm animals.

17 Doris Lessing

God-forsaken farm scene from South Africa for a discussion of her novels as an exile.

15 Erotic romances

Sweltering clouds = erotica, not to press too fine a point.

15 Alice Munro

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.

10 the piano maker

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.

10 Not a lot going on

As the theme song goes in “Corner Gas”, “there’s not a lot going on”, nor in the flat prairie in the photo.

10 Hausfrau

Foreign, feminine, a bit freaky – like these waxy-looking and impossibly perfect lilies.

9 The Last Policeman

Just guess how this novel ended.

8 Unforgettable image

An iconic black and white photo fitted onto black and white scenery.

8 This Census-Taker

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.

7 Modernised Fables

It’s about fables – and what is more typical than Red Riding Hood, but set against a dramatic winter wood.

7 Furiously happy4

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.

7 Culinary mysteries

Creepy font for a book about food and murder.

6 Wolf Winter2

This was a real wolf photographed at a wolf sanctuary. Sad.

6 The Family Fang

Chinese fretwork window screens at the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Garden in Vancouver, and posed in that room, the family Fang of the book.

3 TERRY PRATCHETT

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.

3 Marwencol

One of Mark Hogancamp’s little figures, re-positioned in a snowy landscape in BC, Canada.

2 Pioneer Girl2

Laura Ingalls Wilder from the cover of the book, superimposed on a background of sunlit trees.

8 Happy birthday to The Bard

The Bard is William Shakespeare. ‘Nuff said.

6 Hennie Aucamp

Aucamp wrote about extremes – so it is a picture of contrasts.

5 the white road

A white cover for a book about porcelain.

9 The Buried Giant

The tree from Ishiguro’s book cover combined with some actual trees from London’s Hyde Park.

1 Embassytown

A Sci-Fi city and a real city, Vancouver.

2 amnesia

It’s about forgetting – so the photo fades out.

3 MaddAddam

A complicated post-apocalyptic trilogy so the picture is of tangled branches that look pretty dead.

5 Umbrella

An umbrella would’ve been too obvious.

9 Vienna Nocturne

An attempt to show the theme of music in the novel.

11 Go Set A Watchman

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!