Friday, January 21, 2011

The Sunday Question

Which books have you bought for their covers?

There have been a proliferation of books that have been coming in with fantastic covers. I want every one. Which makes me a little sad for all the great books out there that have lost out in the cover wars. And anxious for my own books, too, I might add. It's a little known fact that authors usually have absolutely no pull when it comes to cover design, unless they self-publish. It's a good thing that different artwork appeals to different people. For as much as we all hate to admit it, we often can't help ourselves: we do judge a book by its cover.

This hasn't always led to errors in judgment on my part. I was introduced to the marvelous A.S. Byatt via the striking cover of Possession, with its painting of The Beguiling of Merlin by Edward Burne-Jones. It certainly beguiled me, as did the book, which remains one of my all-time favorites.

The cover of local author Dori Ostermiller's Outside the Ordinary World led me to expect a complex, rich, gorgeously written tale of family secrets, and I wasn't disappointed.

Striking an altogether different note is the cover of Kim Addonizio's collection of poetry, Lucifer at the Starlight, edgy and retro all at once. The poems are unexpected: poems about teeth sold to fairies, Teflon spatulas, and wooden legs beside the bed.

At the opposite end of the spectrum is Mark Dunn's Under the Harrow, a book I'm looking forward to just holding as I read its tale of the imaginary Dickensian town of Dingley Dell, a utopian society based on 19th century novels. The cover is old-fashioned cloth, with no dust jacket, the kind of book you want to read in a hammock and leave out in a gentle summer rain to add character to it.

The cover of
Jonathan Evison's West of Here
mimics a delicious old-timey guide book to the Rockies. It is actually a novel, set in another fictional town, Port Bonito, Washington. It's been billed as a McMurtry-esque saga merging the history of the old west with a modern comedy. It will be available on February 15th, and is our First Edition Club pick for March. Can't wait!

Marika considers the covers of EVERY book. As an artist, she doesn't want to be seen reading a book with an ugly cover. "She looks for simple and effective covers, like Chris Cleave's Little Bee.


Which books have you bought for their covers?

~ Chrysler

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