A while ago I posted a link to an article on the We Love Brent Libraries Facebook page about terrible book covers. I didn’t agree with all of them, I thought 1984 was perfectly appropriate and The Bell Jar actually really creepy (in a good way) with the heavy make-up suggesting a woman in a mask and the reflection making me feel a disconnection from reality – maybe that was just me. Anyway, I thought I’d provide a balance to all that negativity by throwing out there some really excellent covers, some of my favourites – let me know what you think.
1. The French Lieutenant’s Woman
Confession time – I haven’t actually read this book, so I can’t pretend to know whether it reflects the novel well or not. I just saw it passing through Wembley Library and thought it was really beautiful. Quite haunting – although I do think the style of art looks quite Japanese – is there anything Japanese in the book? It caught my eye, it pleased my eye and made me want to read the book – so it qualifies for my list (even though I haven’t read it yet).
2. Brave New World
Great piece of art this one. I think I love everything about it; the image of the globe, the font used for the text, the layout. I would hang this on my wall. I think it suits the story well too (I have read this one). I thought the novel was OK, but I do love this cover.
3. The Beautiful and Damned
One of my all time favourite novels and this cover encapsulates the story and era so well. The book has had many covers over the years, some very good ones – but for me this one is the best I’ve seen. Something about the stilted glamour and artifice of the image really brings to mind some of the gloomier aspects of the story, while it is still a pleasing images and allows you to enjoy the decadence that sits along side the darker message.
4. The Hobbit
I do love this cover, but maybe I’m also swayed in my choice because the novel itself was such a childhood favourite. I like the way it’s quite a grown up cover and relatively enigmatic – it could have featured some kind of cartoon of a little hairy man fighting a dragon! I certainly felt quite grown up reading it, it was one of the first grown up looking books I read i.e. quite thick and without cartoon characters or girls with school uniforms and pigtails on the front. It’s a good cover that shows respect to the young reader.
5. ‘Bond Girls’
I’m sorry, but I just couldn’t narrow this down. Love these images! I once had a cocktail party where I used these as menu cards, each drink was designed to reflect the character of a Bond heroine (all invented by me, except the Vesper), the menu cards contained descriptions of the character rather than ingredients which my guests had to use to select which drink they wanted (yes – I am quite pretentious). I don’t just like them because they bring back good (and slightly hazy) memories of my Bond party. I also think they’re great images and really emphasise the fact that female characters so often play a very central role in Fleming’s stories. Bond has a reputations for sexism and even misogyny and some of the views he expresses (which I don’t believe he really feels for a second!) are quite close to the bone politically correct wise – but actually women often shape his fate in the stories. He gets saved by women, tricked by women, lied to, deceived , desired, rejected, attacked, loved, abandoned and protected by them. Anyway, I don’t want to go off on one of my rants about why Bond isn’t sexist (I could write a whole blog about that), I’ll just let you have a look at these lovely covers and I will leave it there.
Please let me know if you agree/disagree and maybe share some of you favourite book covers.