Re-Covered Books Contest: ‘The Old Man and the Sea’

Re-Covered Books Contest: 'The Old Man and the Sea'

“Fish,” he said, “I love you and respect you very much. But I will kill you dead before this day ends.”

When Ernest Hemingway published The Old Man and the Sea in 1952 it became an instant success. The book was featured in Life magazine on September 1, 1952, selling five million copies in two days, won the Pulitzer Prize, as well as the Nobel Prize in Literature.

The story, about a man’s tenacity and struggle to catch and bring back a mighty fish, makes for a perfect Re-Covered Books Contest subject. What I’d love to see this time around is a fresh, contemporary take that makes the book feel like an updated classic. It would be great to see ideas that are both designed or illustrated, whatever your medium might be. And as you can see by clicking here there have been a ton of versions of the book, so prepare to meet a high bar of quality.

The winner will receive a $100 gift card to Amazon, and perhaps some more fun goodies.


• Save your images as JPGs at 700px wide, 72 DPI, RGB mode – this is super important! There are no height restrictions (within reason) and be sure to send images as separate JPGs. Feel free to play with the dimensions and have fun with what you make. Submitting a front and back cover will certainly help your chances, but is not required. You can enter up to 3 times.

• Label your files “Firstname-Lastname-Old-Man.jpg”

• Send all entries to [email protected] with the subject “Re-Covered Books: The Old Man and the Sea”. Cut and paste what I wrote there. It’s really easy and it helps me keep track of your entry.

• All entries are due Saturday, May 3, 2014 by Midnight PST.

I hope you take the time to enter! See all the entries below.

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Bobby Solomon

April 10, 2014 / By

‘Fight Club’ Re-Covered Books Contest Winner: Jared Fanning

Fight Club book cover by Jared Fanning

“Fight club isn’t about winning or losing fights. Fight club isn’t about words. You see a guy come to fight club for the first time, and his ass is a loaf of white bread. You see this same guy here six months later, and he looks carved out of wood. This guy trusts himself to handle anything. There’s grunting and noise at fight club like at the gym, but fight club isn’t about looking good. There’s hysterical shouting in tongues like at church, and when you wake up Sunday afternoon you feel saved.”

The Re-Covered Books contest though is about winning, and we can only have one. There was an impressive turnout for our latest contest with many extremely inspiring designs that could easily find themselves sitting on a bookshelf. Many people took the contest truly to heart, evoking some of the more core themes of the book, like the underlying anarchist nature of the average worker. Unfortunately, we also had some entries that were flat out screenshots from the movie, which should be an obvious no-no. There was also an overuse of blood, as we usually, unfortunately see, and a lot of poor typography choices.

Above them all though I found that Jared Fanning’s cover design was the strongest of them all. Jared, a Michigan resident and currently creative director at, created an artful but absurdist rendition of the cover. It specifically reminds me of this line from the book:

“The shuttle takes me to downtown Phoenix and every bar I go into there are guys with stitches around the rim of an eye socket where a good slam packed their face meat against its sharp edge. There are guys with sideways noses, and these guys at the bar see me with the puckered hole in my cheek and we’re an instant family.”

The phrase “face meat” is pure brilliance. What I also like about Jared’s cover is the wow factor, where if you walked into a book store (do those still exist?) or an airport, this image would immediately grab your attention. The color palette is well done, with the warm reds of the meat contrasting the cooler blues and greens of the background and the man’s coat. I should also mention his font choices, an odd pairing of awkward, hand-done lettering and handsome serif. This highbrow/lowbrow approach gives the appearance that even though in your day-to-day life you might be someone important and well regarded, you still might like to beat people up on the weekends.

I want to give Jared a big congrats for a job well done. Be sure to check back in the new year for a new Re-Covered Books contest. Keep an eye out on our Facebook where I’ll be sure to poll you all for what our next book we take on.

Bobby Solomon

December 19, 2013 / By

Re-Covered Books Contest: ‘Fight Club’

Re-Covered Books Contest: 'Fight Club'

1. You don’t ask questions.
2. You don’t ask questions.
3. No excuses.
4. No lies.
5. You have to trust Tyler.

These are the ground rules laid out by Tyler Durden in Chuck Palahniuk’s 1996 teeth shattering novel, Fight Club.

“It follows the experiences of an unnamed protagonist struggling with insomnia. Inspired by his doctor’s exasperated remark that insomnia is not suffering, the protagonist finds relief by impersonating a seriously ill person in several support groups. Then he meets a mysterious man named Tyler Durden and establishes an underground fighting club as radical psychotherapy.”

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Bobby Solomon

November 25, 2013 / By

Sam Kittinger wins ‘The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle’ Re-Covered Books Contest

Sam Kittinger's cover for The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

Picking a winner for The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle Re-Covered Books contest was a difficult challenge. The story is incredibly unusual which is certainly a part of the book’s charm. If you’re unfamiliar with the plot, here’s a quick synopsis.

In a Tokyo suburb a young man named Toru Okada searches for his wife’s missing cat. Soon he finds himself looking for his wife as well in a netherworld that lies beneath the placid surface of Tokyo. As these searches intersect, Okada encounters a bizarre group of allies and antagonists: a psychic prostitute; a malevolent yet mediagenic politician; a cheerfully morbid sixteen-year-old-girl; and an aging war veteran who has been permanently changed by the hideous things he witnessed during Japan’s forgotten campaign in Manchuria.

So you can see why this might be the toughest book we’ve ever taken on. We had a number of really beautiful entries and I couldn’t be more happy with the high quality of work that was entered. But there had to be one winner, and I chose this beautiful cover by Sam Kittinger.

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Bobby Solomon

February 28, 2013 / By

Re-Covered Books Contest : Prizes from Princeton Architectural Press

Princeton Architectural Press Prizes

I mentioned briefly in our Re-Covered Books contest for The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle that we may have additional prizes, and so here are some additional prizes. In addition to the $100 Amazon gift card you’ll also get all the cool books and gifts you see above thanks to the Princeton Architectural Press. The folks at Princeton Press have an amazing selection of titles from the biggest artists and designers out there, and I’m so happy that they’ve chosen to help us out with our contests. So what do you get exactly?

Sign Painters by Faythe Levine & Sam Macon
Hand-painted signs are incredible and this book has so many great examples from so many fantastic artists. Plus it has a foreword by Ed Ruscha, so you know it’s gotta’ be good.

Brooklyn Makers by Jennifer Causey
Damn those Brooklynites and their creativity! This book makes me want to move to New York to start making pots and artisanal whiskey and clay pots. The photos in the book are also fantastic and will make you drool.

Instant: The Story of Polaroid by Christopher Bonanos
Exactly as it sounds, it’s the story of Polaroid. An immensely interesting company who’s mark on our global culture will never fade.

A Guide to Archigram 1961-74 by Dennis Crompton
If you’re not familiar with Archigram you absolutely should be. These young, British architects rethought the way our culture should be in the most radical ways possible. A must read.

What Did I Buy Today? Journal by Kate Bingaman-Burt
The always inspirational Kate Bingaman-Burt’s logbook will help you track your life and the objects that fit inside it.

MAPS Mini Journals by Paula Scher
Gridded, lined and blank, these three mini journals will help you keep your notes together and the awesome Paula Scher covers will make you feel really cool.

For a chance to win these prizes as well as the $100 gift card to Amazon all you need to do is enter our Re-Covered Book contest for Haruki Murakami’s Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. all entries are due Saturday, February 23, 2013 by Midnight PST so you better enter soon!

Bobby Solomon

February 15, 2013 / By