Saturday, August 28, 2010

Get Outta Here Ya Bum!

Avert your eyes, children!  Even though we ALL have one, you might never have seen a naked bum before.

There's an award winning book featuring a great bare bum on the cover that's causing a bit of a controversy. The Great bare bum is the naked butt of Alexander the Great, on Annabel Lyon's The Golden Mean, which is a fictional account of a time when Aristotle was tutoring Alexander the Great. The cover features a naked man lying on a horse.

B.C. Ferries has decided to remove this book from its shelves because they are a "family show" and have children in their shops.  This decision has raised much discussion in the past week or so about the art vs family appropriate.  My favourite article is from The Guardian in which their title is Alexander the Great novel gets bum wrap in Canada.Their title is a beautiful reference to the fact that B.C. Ferries asked representatives at Random House to include a "belly band" wrapped around the book, which would cover up the offended naked butt.

Of course, as a bookseller, it makes me want to find a whack of covers featuring naked bums on the cover and put up a themed display. Yes, books whose only common feature would be a cover featuring naked bums.  At the centre of the display, of course, Lyon's book would be featured prominently.

I did a quick search and was really trying to find a nice collection of literary/contemporary fiction that featured naked bums on the cover. I did a quick check and came up mostly dry, though I did find a small group of bums from a variety of other books, including a how to Artist book (that was easy, there's no shortage of those), a classic science text and a science-fiction title featuring the naked bums of both a human and alien.

But I'm sure there are more out there.  Why not have booksellers take advantage of the controversy, and put together their own "naked bum book" display -- again, featuring Annabel Lyon's The Golden Mean smack dab in the centre of the display?

Of course, the trick is finding a definitive list. Even the great lists provided by Bowker or Ingram featuring various themed groupings of books don't include a "naked bums on the cover" list.  We'll have to generate our own and share it around.


lime said...

i'd be with you on this. 'd be putting up the display so fast. maybe look for a vintage coppetone ad too, the one with the little girl having her panties tugged down by her puppy to reveal her tan line.

Ruth Seeley said...

My suggestion was to get Random House Canada and the BC Civil Liberties Union to hand out so many copies of the book that EVERYONE on the ferries would be reading it. ;)

Mark Leslie said...

Hmm, Lime, a vintage Coppertone ad would work nicely with this.

And Ruth, brilliant idea. That or hand out free book jacket covers featuring the cover art from The Golden Mean. Maybe even one of those iPad skins or something for those reading ebooks . . .