I had some short stories, poems and photographs to share ... and so here I am

Allez, Splash Me With Colour!


I love it when the Beaujolais Nouveau arrives in France; not only is it a good excuse to forget about the looming winter, but it's also a chance to see something colourful and fun on a wine bottle! Just take a look at that label above, which is definitely not what we normally see on the average bottle of French wine. The labels are usually simple, in one colour. So when Beaujolais Nouveau comes out, I find it so refreshing! (Oh, that's our fridge in the background of the photo, in case you're wondering!)

50 million litres of Beaujolais Nouveau are sold every year, released in a party-like atmosphere on the third Thursday of November. The wine, made from gamay grapes, is distributed only weeks after coming off the vines (little fermentation), which is why it's called nouveau or new. Beaujolais is a region north of Lyon, where I live, so this little drop has a special place in our hearts! By the way, it has to be enjoyed immediately because it doesn't keep well. No problem!

Now, believe it or not, this leads me on nicely to the subject of books. Have you noticed how many of the front covers of French books are plain and sterile looking? Take this very popular, big-selling book, Les Bienveillantes, which is currently being translated into English - it's actually written by a bilingual American, Jonathan Littell, who decided to write it in French. I bet the cover won't look like this when it comes out in the English-speaking world! Fancy, colourful and artistic covers are not deemed necessary in France to get the public to buy them. Translations of foreign books and small paperbacks do have images on the cover, but French books printed by the big publishing houses still go for the "less is more" policy. But for how long?

Just as the Beaujolais Nouveau wine bottles are bucking the trend in terms of colourful, interesting labels, small publishers in France seem to be experimenting more and more with the idea of colour and images on covers. The latest edition of this very successful book by Jean-Dominique Bauby - printed in English as The Diving Bell and The Butterfly - is a good example of how French publishing is changing. There are plenty of other examples of smaller publishers bringing out books with images on the cover, and French people I speak to seem to be in favour. "Allez, splash me with colour!" Also, on the shelves in bookshops, it's now quite common to see books turned outwards to show the covers - before there probably wasn't any point.

So, in keeping with this whole theme of colour and fun, I thought I would buy some bright purple and yellow dye and give Miss Muffin a make-over. Here are her "before" and "after" photos. She is absolutely delighted! Or at least I think that's what she said.


Sarah Hina said...

C'est magnifique!

That's interesting about French book covers. I must admit to loving all the pretty colors...

And I think Miss Muffin is giving you the finger. She must be French. ;)

S. Kearney said...

Haha.lol. Miss Muffin! Really? Naughty girl. The stars will stay in place if that's the case! :-)

WH said...

I think the French book cover has a special charm precisely because it is so simple. But you're right. Wouldn't survive in America.

Unknown said...

The Bojo wasn't bad this year was it? Well that's what I thought. And Miss Muffin is looking lovely!

S. Kearney said...

Billy, yes, there's a certain style and nostalgia they want to hold on to ... but a little colour with a joyous book wouldn't go amiss. :-)

Hi V,
Just had a glass of that bottle tonight ... light and fruity ... perfect! :-)

Lane Mathias said...

I rather like the plain book cover just as I love the Penquin Classic covers. They printed some contemporary titles with these covers this year but I would imagine sales were far lower.
Love the bottle. Will be keeping an eye out for those here:-)
(any excuse to stock up:-)

S. Kearney said...

Hi Lane,
Wouldn't it be funny if the French started going for our covers and we started going for theirs! Maybe it's a case of liking what we're not so used to ... the number of French who grab my books and say WOW (OOO LA LA) what a fantastic cover! And yes, do try this wine ... it's got a very distinctive taste ... often criticised as being immature, but I disagree. It's a bottle you'd want to keep because of the label. :-)

Kay Cooke said...

Nothing wrong with a splash of colour - esp as the start of winter looms! I mean, approaches ... :)

Anonymous said...

The Japanese, as you may know, love the Beaujolais Nouveau. Each year when the season starts, we fly tons of the stuff out to Asia--to the tune of 110 tons minimum, per day. I'm not against a bottle or two either.

S. Kearney said...

Hi CB,
Yes, approaching, not looming! I prefer that. lol

Wayne, yes, apparently Germany and Japan are the biggest markets for BN. Great marketing scoop of the century, some say here in France. Other regions try to match the hype but never quite pull it off. :-)

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

So, you're telling me that the French don't judge a book by it's cover?
Ahh... would that we were all that blind so that we could really see.

And... how on earth did you ever get Miss Muffin to sit still long enough to paint those colorful blossoms on her? She looks lovely.

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

thecrazydotter said...

I like my covers simple too. But yes, I love a dash of colours across them. I also love the crayon like effect.

S. Kearney said...

Wanderlust - exactly, which is not such a bad thing. But it does get a bit dreary. :-) And Miss Muffin has still not forgiven me!
Plus, later in the day we had to be very firm with her to get her into her cat box to be taken to the vet. She made voices we've never heard before! Of course, she was all peaches and cream for the vet, who she loves. Three times during the visit - for a vaccination - he said he wanted to adopt her! We've been in the doggie box ever since! :-)

Crazydotter - what are covers like in India? Colourful? Simple?