Sunday, January 31, 2010

Book Covers

For those who know me well, they know one of my great loves is for books. I read an average of a book a week and this has been true since I was little. Aside from books I want to read for their content, I often choose a book based on its cover. Book design now has changed our understanding of literature so much. Not only is it art, but in many cases, if well designed, the book cover can help convey the meaning or spirit of the story itself. The old saying, "You can't judge a book by its cover." is not always the case, it seems.

In all fairness I must say that some of my favorite books, like A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens and One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez do not have the most interesting covers I have ever seen, but are literary masterpieces none the less.

Some books, even if they were mediocre, I will keep because of their cover designs. I have compiled a couple of my favorites here. These are, for the most part, great novels as well. I did not include any of my art books because that is a whole other realm of discussion.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
Leaf Storm and Other Stories by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
In the Woods by Tana French
Innocent Erendira and Other Stories by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

The Three Musketeers
by Alexandre Dumas
The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Half Life by Shelley Jackson

On a side note, all the books in this series by Stieg Larsson (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire and the upcoming The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, are excellent. I would highly recommend reading them.


  1. I have read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and loved loved it!!!! I received The Girl Who Played with Fire for Christmas but haven't started yet. I am currently reading the Alienist and it takes place in the 1800's in New York. I am finding it a little hard to get into but I am keeping at it. Love the blog and talk to you soon. Jenn

  2. This is great! I'm so glad you photographed your book covers. I confess that I often choose books by their well-designed covers (just as I buy wine based on the label!) sometimes, too. I think Chip Kidd is one designer who has changed the way we think about the importance of book jackets—and it always breaks my heart when a brilliant book has a bad cover!