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The Best Book Trailers of 2014

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Detail from a sticker sheet included in the first edition printing of Haruki Murakami's Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and the Year of His Pilgrimage by Random House Australia

This year’s top book trailers include French New Wave, acerbic dry humor, what looks like a marble borzoi, and the sleekest animation design that has ever graced your computer screen.

1st Place: Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami

Knopf, Murakami, and designer Aimee Hunt win the internet with this jaw-dropping book trailer. The perfect marriage of narration and animation, the transition of geometric shapes — from musical notations, to the location dots in Tokyo railway maps — make me feel downright devotional. Then there’s the impeccable narration, which belies a taste of what the book is about: a close group of friends who fall out of each other lives. If I believed that licking the screen would make me feel closer to the awesomeness of this trailer I would.

2nd Place: The Love Song of Jonny Valentine by Teddy Wayne

This is a trailer for The Love Song of Jonny Valentine (a book about a Bieberesque 11-year-old heartthrob who slowly realizes he is but a saleable product to his mother and marketing men). But like a snake that bites its own tail, it is also a skit that hilariously portrays how Teddy Wayne is caught in a similar marketing web, and it is also brilliant subtle commentary. “Can you imagine James Joyce prostituting himself–” Wayne is cut off by a behind-the-scenes someone who shoves a book into his hand. Not only that, but this trailer cleverly portrays the type of comedic stuntsmanship that Teddy Wayne has become known for. Wowza.

3rd Place: Perfidia by James Ellroy

When have you had this much fun watching an author simply address a camera? Let me answer that: never have you had this much fun. James Ellroy is capable of just leaving you breathless, taking you along for a ride with his punchy sentences that are also dazzlingly specific. His writing is similar. The New York Times called Perfidia “a staccato bebop: less Chandler or Conrad and more Spillane, or possibly Runyon overdosing on Benzedrine.” Plus he is sitting next to that white marble dog and how could you ever take your eyes off such a strange scenario?

Runner Up: Now I See You by Nicole C. Kear

Tragicomedy is king in Nicol C. Kear’s 2014 memoir about going blind and keeping it a secret. So too in this snappy trailer, disguised as a tips-for-the-secretly-blind video. The elevator music that runs in the background makes everything extra funny — cutting off the tip of your finger! setting your bed on fire! putting jingling ankle bracelets on your kids to keep tabs on them!

Runner Up: One More Thing by B.J. Novak

I love the concept of this trailer: the stark black and white, the snobby air of guest star Mindy Kaling as she holds court at a Parisian café with her short lace gloves. But I love more the moment when the concept crumbles and Mindy Kaling breaks character. “Oh my God? Did you see the cover of the new GQ with Rihanna on it? She’s like—” Best line is Novak in response to Kaling breaking character, “Can we just try to be French New Wave for, like, a minute?”


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