Thursday, 17 March 2011

Judge A Book By Its Cover

When it comes to books, I am a magpie.  I am drawn to covers that are bold and beautifully designed, often falling in love with the story before I have a clue what it is about.  And I don't think I'm the only one. 
The current trend of self-publishing is allowing authors to retain creative control of the entire process, including cover design.  But designing a book cover is an art, and while the author might be the best authority on the theme and content of their novel, they are not necessarily the best candidate to express these ideas visually.
Below are a few of my personal favourites from the world of books.

The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson
Not only is this a beautiful cover image, but when closed the book's pages appear entirely black.  Another great story that I discovered only through the book's aesthetic appeal.
Atonement by Ian McEwan
The design may be stark, but the image is a perfect representation of the story - Briony's bored solitude in the early stages of the novel are a key part of every event that follows.
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
I must admit, I am not a fan of the Twilight saga at all. But there's no denying the evocative imagery in this cover; bringing the themes of temptation, seduction and sin to the forefront of your mind, it has since become iconic.
The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
This novel is part fantasy, part coming of age tale, part homage to the storytelling tradition.  The book's cover creates a world much like that of fairytales, a wood in which the reader can easily become lost... and fall prey to the Crooked Man.
The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan
Levithan's love story is told through a series of non-chronological definitions, all of which are pertinent to a relationship between two unnamed parties.  This experimentation with the form of the novel is reflected in the simple but effective cover.
Strangeland by Tracey Emin
Taken in a photo booth, this cover image could not be more telling of the book's contents.  Raw, unembellished, and unflinching in its honesty.  Much like the artist herself.
Hey Nostradamus! by Douglas Coupland
This is a prime example of a book that I would never have picked up had it not been for the instantly engaging cover.  Fortunately, the story lived up to it.
Out by Natsuo Kirino
Visceral, cold and disturbing. An excellent indicator as to what you can expect from this novel.
The Passion by Jeanette Winterson
I first came upon this when studying Winterson's novel at university.  The lushness of her prose and ambition of her story are perfectly summed up in this artful, almost seductive cover.
Persepolis by Marjane Strapani
As a graphic novel, this cover image is a perfect representation of the author's work.
Which of these do you like best?  And what are your own favourites?  Let me know in the comments below, I'd like to make this a regular thing.

1 comment:

  1. Twilight!!! I knew we could tempt you to the dark side, young jedi! ;-)

    Seriously though, it is a great cover and I love the one for 'Out' too, never seen it before, thanks for sharing!

    J x