Artist Paints Humorous Book Covers Based on Foggy Memories
We all have that one book that haunts us, and not because it was scary—I’m talking about that book from years ago that you can only remember tiny bits and pieces of, but never enough detail to successfully find it.
This of course is no strange phenomenon as the human memory is notoriously flawed, but in a Google world, not being able to identify a book (or anything, for that matter) from the past somehow feels even more maddening.
Reddit’s “tipofmytongue” subreddit is one attempt at crowdsourcing answers: thousands post brief descriptions (often flawed, sometimes funny) of the thing they are looking for, and online sleuths try to solve the case. A few unsolved cases from today include “A youtuber who got sued or had his channel deleted or something,” “Male artist with hipster hair and a single name,” and “the song that goes ‘a wada ha he, a wada ha ho, a wada ha ha.'”
Reddit aside, there are hundreds of more forums on the internet dedicated to finding any sort of thing you seek, but the book-related searches have piqued the interest of artist Marina Luz.
In her ongoing series, IF I DON’T FIND THIS BOOK I WILL DIE, or, How We Describe Books When We Can’t Remember the Title or Author, she uses these half-remembered stories as fodder for her painted book covers. The pieces were most recently on display at Park Life Gallery in San Francisco.
The content is pulled directly from the subject line of plot descriptions on book search forums, resulting in fictional titles that are, as she puts it, “alternatively poetic and amusing.”
“With memory being such a fickle thing, it stands to reason that a book written by an author who had hoped to tackle themes of love, loss, mortality, and the very meaning of existence could be boiled down to Complicated Love Story,” she notes.
Luz struck inspiration for this project through her own search for a forgotten book, Iceberg Shows Up Overnight in Front of Hotel, which is still an open case.
Looking at her work brings up feelings of both delight and pity—while a book described as Sad Dead Eagle is funny in its bluntness, one can’t help but think of their own book title that escapes them.
When she’s not making our misremembered books a reality, Luz is busy running her design studio HONEYLUX out of Oakland, CA. The Emmy Award-winning illustrator and artist has had her work appear in the New York Times, VICE, ProPublica, and the Center for Investigative Reporting, among others.
What is the title of your forgotten book? Share it in the comments! Mine is Terrifying Middle Grade Book from the Early 2000s—if you have any ideas of what it might be, please let me know.
All images used with permission from Marina Luz
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