for writers and readers….

Favourite book covers

I’m editing a charity anthology right now and I’ve been thinking a lot about book covers. Over the years some covers have burned into my memory – a sudden artistic dart that doesn’t so much tell the story as nail an essential element, binding words and images together. These are some of my favourite. I would love to hear about the ones you love (or hate).
Best book coversRemember seeing this on the school library shelf and the promise it offered of  something very different.

Best Book Covers Current editions of Alias Grace have a different cover but I think this one has a striking simplicity. It is a first person account of a 19th century murderer

Best Book CoversNot only about the best 30 words in the English language, but some of the best pictures too. Sendak originally thought that there should be horses on the island and he put the manuscript away for about three years when he realised that he couldn’t draw  horses. Then he had a light bulb moment – no one could say what a wild thing should look like and he was free the draw them anyway he wanted.

Best Book CoversI’m not sure that I’ve ever seen the original cover of A Clockwork Orange, the one used when it was first published in 1962, but this is the one that’s been used since the early 70s. Compelling and unforgettable.

If you want to look at covers that don’t quite work visit The Guardian’s article on incongruous book covers. And then there’s the straightforward lousy book covers on tumblr.


4 comments on “Favourite book covers

  1. Luanne
    March 12, 2014

    What a creative idea for a post. I might riff off this at some point. Thanks, Bridget, for getting me thinking.

    • bridget whelan
      March 12, 2014

      Be my guest, but is there a good cover that spring to mind (even if you can’t find a picture of it)?

      • Luanne
        March 12, 2014

        I like memoirs with photographs on the cover. Like emily Rapp’s “Poster Child” and like Frank McCourt’s “Angela’s Ashes.” I like the art on Amy Tan’s books.

  2. bridget whelan
    March 13, 2014

    I know the Angela’s Ashes cover very well – the cute/ angry/determined little boy staring straight at camera. Is that from the film? Can’t find my copy, bought long before the film was produced so i can compare…

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