Monday, March 8, 2010

52 Pick-Up

A very close friend of mine has been playing way too much computer Solitaire. This . . . friend . . . can't help herself. It's sad, poor thing. She is hooked through the gills like a large mouth bass and cannot stop shuffling and shuffling and shuffling.

No wonder, then, that I, her very close friend, noticed this cover of the paperback version of Straits by Jeremy Craig (Flux, 2009) at the bookstore recently . . .

. . . and began thinking about playing card art. The art of design in the making of playing cards is really quite beautiful, and the range of styles is more extensive than one might think. Here's a site full of playing card images.

It's no wonder designers have sometimes used a playing card image on covers. Not only is it appealing, but with its ability to be instantly recognized --whether it's the joker or the ace, a club or a diamond -- it's a great shorthand symbol for good fortune or risk or a number of other things. Its many connotations flash across our minds easily.

Here are just a few covers using playing card images:

Marcus Zuzak's I Am the Messenger:

(Hardcover, Knopf, 2005)

(Paperback, Knopf, 2006)

While this paperback version (above) of Pete Hautman's Stone Cold has definite poker/playing card touches to the design, I can't help but wish the artist had used more. Ditto these:

Eric Luper's Big Slick (FSG, 2007)

And this one:

The Poker Diaries by Liza Conrad (Penguin paperback, 2007)

I want more card art! Maybe that's just because of my -- I mean, my friend's -- Solitaire addiction. Poor thing. Now to make room for that red king I'm going to need to find a spot for the three of clubs.


  1. One of my favorites in this category:
    Playing With Fire by Brian Katcher.

  2. And another good one (besides Playing With MATCHES) is Crows & Cards by Joseph Helgerson.

  3. Wow! I love those covers. Thanks, Linda.