Tag Archives: design

judging a book by its cover: part 2

My all-time favorite book covers

The Eyre Affair

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

AHhhhHHH. This is great book cover design. My mother and I found this book at Barnes and Noble and were just drawn to it. The faceless woman walking in to the book. The ink stained title. Fforde’s odd spelling jumping out in neon lime green. I had no idea what the book was about, though it turned out to be quite clearly explained in the cover (a woman jumping into a book), I knew I would love it. And I did.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

When I first saw this cover it was in a magazine with a positive review. Then I saw it at Barnes and Noble and finally my father bought it for me at a book sale with a water damaged cover. Maybe I am just a fan of ink blots. This cover bores on the plot even less. Between the sort-off goofy elementary school letter home print and really simplistic image, this cover might not work. But it does and is beautiful just like the text.

The Complete Works of Flannery O’Connor

The Complete Works of Flannery O'Connor

I love peacocks. So did Ms. O’Connor. This is one of those covers that feels powdery that I talked about once before. I really love the dual imagery of eyes and peacock feathers. And the combination is not forced, visually or meaning-wise.

Uncommon Arrangements: Seven Portraits of Married Life in London Literary Circles

Uncommon Arrangements: Seven Portraits of Married Life in London Literary Circles by Katie Roiphe

My love of Bloomsbury is not a secret one. This is the book that started it all. I read it while doing my research paper on Virginia Woolf during high school and I fell in love with the people stuck between their parents’ Victorian ideals and their own progressive ideas about sex and gender. There has since been another cover introduced that I don’t like as much. I love the clarity of the blue and the clear divide between the fonts, one inspired by the swirls of Art Nouveau and the other the streamline of Art Deco, and somewhere in between these two art movements seven couples existed.

Mrs. Dalloway

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, cover design by Vanessa Bell

Everyone should recognize this cover. My header on the blog is cropped from this design. Vanessa Bell, Woolf’s sister, painted this cover. I love the simple color scheme and the abstraction of the bouquet and stage?.

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judging a book by its cover: part 1

This is my dream job: designing book covers. My fabulous cousin, who is just about the coolest person ever, Sarah did it for a while. And I really do love book covers. I love nice editions, I love when the cover works well with the text and I will not buy an edition of a book if it is a bad cover if I can help it. Prime example: Barnes and Noble classic editions of Jane Austen’s work. Let’s look at a book with multiple editions and then some of my “greatest hits” of favorite book covers ever in the next post.

Pride and Prejudice

All of these editions are currently available.

Pride and Prejudice: Nook Digital Cover

This is Barnes and Noble’s cover for the Nook digital edition. Weirdly, I think it is my favorite. I like that it doesn’t attempt to look “classic” with paisleys, swirls or gilded edges. It actually captures part of the story, and the essence of Jane. Her novels are about people. These faceless people could be any of the heroes and heroines, but their illustrated costumes are accurate, at least. And they are talking, an important aspect of all of Austen’s novels. The concept of the text boring out the image breaks down in the next few examples.

Barnes and Noble Classic Edition

This cover is ludicrous. The woman and the man look like a Victoria and Albert marriage portrait. And the sitting room looks like it was done in the French style. How unpatriotic and so very obviously post the Napoleonic Wars.

Norton Critical Edition

The only covered featured in this post that is neither abstract nor features people. Houses are an important symbol in Pride and Prejudice. I think I actually wrote about on either my AP Literature test, or one of my practice prompts. This is an appropriate non-people cover. But it isn’t that much fun to look at…

Barnes and Noble Classic Paperback

Why does this look like a Berthe Morisot painting?  Why do the people look like they are in a French/New Orleans apartment in 1887? Did you read Pride and Prejudice? This definitely word work more with The Awakening. Or any book written after 1860. And on Continental Europe.

Dover Edition

At least this one doesn’t annoy me. Doesn’t really do much either. But it is called thrift for a reason, it is nice and simple.

Pride and Prejudice Annotated

ooo Meta cover! Maybe I am biased because I like reading this edition the best. But I love how the image is annotated and obviously chronologically correct.

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