Favorite Book Covers

You can’t tell a book by its cover, or so the saying goes.  But I know that if I have a choice between several editions of the same book, I’ll always choose the one with the nicest looking cover.

I want a book that will look nice on my shelves and will also be attractive for loaning out to friends.

I’ve noticed a trend in the past week or so, on several sites that I read, of discussing book covers.  You can see a couple of the conversations here, here, and here.

So, I thought I’d list some of my favorite book covers, in no particular order.

  1. signet-shakespeare-msndThe Signet Classic works of William Shakespeare.  My personal favorite is A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but the artwork on these little paperbacks is very creative and colorful.  It often represents key elements of the play in fanciful tones, but ones that represent the overall mood of the play.
  2. twilightTwilight by Stephanie Meyer.  I like how the cover includes an metaphor that references the original sin.  It’s the apple from the garden of Eden, the forbidden fruit, which perfectly captures the desires in the book.  Plus, it’s visually appealing in its stark contrast, the red against the black and white.  There’s a coolness to the hands and life to the apple, very appropriate, I think.
  3. foreskins-lamentForeskin’s Lament by Shalom Auslander.  It might seem strange that two books that I’ve read recently are on this list, but maybe it says something about publishers paying more attention to the quality of the artwork on their covers these days.  Auslander’s cover is an ironic commentary on Orthodox Jewish life.  It looks like very proper, quaint, rural, domestic scenes, sketched on a red background.  But when you look more closely, the father is beating his child.  A man and woman are walking side by side, but the woman is only looking back and not at him or ahead.  Another scene features a young boy sitting by a tree reading a magazine.  But, further inspection reveals that he’s holding it sideways, as you would for a centerfold.
  4. rebeccaRebecca by Daphne du Maurier.  The famous silver foil on the maroon cover gets me every time.  I never want to crack the spine on my old copy, lest I marr the foil.  It’s got a rural landscape printed into the foil, with Manderly featured off to the right hand side.  Its simplicity is beautiful.  I also like it for its uniqueness.
  5. confessionstop-coverConfessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire.  Actually, I like the entire series of covers for the four books including Wicked, Lost, Mirror Mirror, Son of a Witch, but this one is my favorite.  All of them, in their hardcover form, have a basic cover that opens up to reveal the full picture under the dustcover.  I think it’s a brilliant way to use both covers.  They tell a story because the initial cover glosses things up, but only when you see the full cover do you see some of the less glamourous elements.  Sort of like what happens with celebreties.  They have their public personas, but their private lives are a mess.

Okay, it’s your turn.  Are there any book covers that you love? Feel free to share a link to a website that has a picture, so we can see what you’re talking about.


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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I love the Modern Libary Classics books–not only are they inexpensive paperbacks, but they have great illustrations on the covers. Oliver Twist has really great illustrations inside as well, but I imagine that isn’t the case with all of the books in this series.

    You can view some of the covers here:


    Barnes & Nobles also does a similar cheap classics series.

    AL: You’re right, those are very nice! I like how colorful they are, especially the more abstract ones. I’m not a fan of the Jane Austen covers, since they seem to pick odd Victorian portraits.

    The Barnes and Nobles ones are good. I almost picked the Dracula one as one of my top 5. It’s easily in my top 10.

  2. This is more of an unusual cover than a favorite cover – “Bitesize Theology” by Peter Jeffery. I read this last year and would highly recommend it (browse through it if you have time). This short book covers major theology terms and doctrines of the Christian faith…but the cover seems to be a better fit for something like “How To Get Things Done” or “Learn Microsoft Office”.

    Anyway, just wanted to send it along 🙂


    AL: That’s great! I think it looks like a women’s diet or self-help guide for the working woman or something like that. It doesn’t look like your standard fuddy duddy doctrine book!

  3. Book covers add marketing value to books, this is why most authors or publishers would invest on the book cover.
    A bookworm like me would definitely check the cover first as it can help tell me whether the book is worth reading or not.

    Thanks for the insights…

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