Friday, 13 February 2009

Books by their covers...

Sorry for the lack of actual reviews recently, but I've been suffering from a horrible cold. Good result - more time to read, bad result - can't actually gather my thoughts together to review what I've read. They will be written eventually though.

A post about Aurelia at Em’s Bookshelf got me thinking about book covers and how influenced I am by them. (Aurelia was one of those books where the cover influenced me a lot) Usually if I’m buying over the internet they don’t have so much influence over me, but if I’m in a bookstore the cover is the reason that I’ll pick a book up. Then I flick to a random page and read a bit to see if I like the style. Sometimes though, I see a cover I can’t resist.
Be warned! The book covers featured below are utterly irresistible and may well make you unable to withstand their beauty! But you must! For sometimes, books are simply not as beautiful as their covers! (Although sometimes they are and this will make you very happy) For some of these books I know practically nothing about them – I’m not endorsing the books, just the beautiful, mesmerising covers.

Books I have bought solely (yes, I’m not proud of it) for the cover:

Aurelia by Anne Osterlund. The cover promises so much; intrigue, masks, disguises, court, take your pick. There is something about masks that I just can’t resist! If I’m honest, I was disappointed by this one. It didn’t live up to the cover for me (which is a bizarre way of measuring a book as other people will like the cover more or less, but there you go)
The Secret Countess (aka The Countess Below Stairs) by Eva Ibbotson. I loved this, but then I was in the right mood to love it. Now that I’m more initiated to Ibbotson, I know her formula much better. But this was my first Ibbotson book and I enjoyed it a lot.
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. The pic here doesn’t do it too much credit – trust me, it’s sparkly and beautiful. You can read my thoughts on Ella Enchanted in my Fairest review – once again I was slightly disappointed.
Books that the cover made me pick up, but I knew a bit about before I bought them:

The Lady in the Tower by Marie-Louise Jensen. I like that the head isn’t cut off. And you can see the Tudor French Hood. And it’s got a shiny red title (although it looks pink here) and shiny letter writing down one side. And the girl looks like she has a secret.
Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr. The contrast of colours is so pretty. It pretty much sums up the whole book – urban, faeries, mystery.
Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin. I love the title and the cover, especially the drawn-in headphones, which just fits the book so well. (Strange but true fact – I don’t like the photo of the girl if you turn it upside down. I can foresee a lot of people twisting their heads in an effort to see the picture on the screen upside down right now! It surprised me a lot how different the cover looked the other way around. But there you go!)

Books I want to buy solely for the cover (I hardly know anything about these books, but they are so pretty!):

Faerie Rebels by R J Anderson. I don’t really like the UK cover at all (or the UK title, which is Knife) but this US cover makes me want to read the book so much. I think it’s the white hair on a young person – eye-catching and intriguing. Plus the beautiful illustrative style.
Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George. Look at the dress. Look at it! The motion of the dress as she moves is so gorgeous. That is the sort of princess dress that’s probably very uncomfortable, but most girls would like to march through a castle in, swishing dramatically, at least once. Ok, maybe not for real, but the idea is appealing...
Taken by storm –byAngela Morrison. I know nothing about this one at all, but I just love the cover so much! The colours, the watercolour paint effect, the clouds, I love it!
Undercover by Beth Kephart. The colour contrast between the leaf and background is so striking. And is that ice I see? Ice with a skate mark? I love ice-skating!
What about you? Are there any books that you have bought or want to buy just because of the cover? Any that you haven't bought because of the cover?


  1. I love the UK Wicked Lovely one!

    I have bought books because of their cover before, most recently Solace of the Road by Siobhan Dowd. I didn't buy Guantanamo Boy because it's bright orange and has a really boring cover.

    Great post!

  2. They ARE really beautiful though! I've always wondered about the artists behind these covers. You rarely hear them mentioned, and yet they play such a big role in grabbing our attention.

  3. I'm a total sucker for pretty covers. And it's funny, The Secret Countess was my first Ibbotson read, too, and it remains my favorite. :)

    Oh, and I think you'll really love UNDERCOVER, especially since you like ice-skating (it's a major part of the book). If you get a chance to read it, let us know what you think!

  4. I love the look of Undercover too. I'm definitely getting that one.

    Thanks for this great post - I loved looking at all the covers.(And I know what you mean about the Teenage Amnesiac cover upside down!)

  5. I admit, i mostly only get books with pretty covers, but it's not a horrible prejudice-like skin color...
    The thing is, mostly I'm right on. I can 9/10 tell whether a book will be boring, okay, or awesome, just looking at the cover.
    I like your posts...

  6. Steph Su - I once found a book cover I really liked and noted the name of the cover artist. Then, for about half a year after that whenever I found a cover I loved, I'd look to see who drew it, and it was literally always the same guy! I can't remember his name but I guess that shows how important the artists are.

    Amy - I usually only look at books with pretty covers, but it always makes me sad when great books have bad covers.