Thoughts

Thoughts #14: Judging A Book By Its Cover

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Today I want to talk about how I often commit the biggest of bookish sins: I judge a book by its cover. I can’t help it, some parts of book covers just make me cringe. Funnily enough, when I was writing this post, this popped up in my Twitter feed:

It seemed very appropriate! Now to share what really puts me off a book cover – and I’d love to hear your opinions too! I won’t be using actual book covers to illustrate this point, as it seems unfair. Disclaimer: proceed carefully, some images may ruin your eyesight. You have been warned!

1. Half naked figures

Yum...

No no, of course I didn’t just want an excuse to post a half naked photo of Mr. Fassbender… no way… But in all honesty, if I see a book with a semi-nude figure, or several (normally entwined) together, then I’m probably not going to touch that book. Chances are it’s a romance or erotica which are two genres I never read. Bonus (minus?) points if the heads/faces are cut out of the picture…

2. Certain fonts

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If you use Comic Sans then yes, I will judge you. Hard. Every time I see that font, I cringe – I don’t even like having it on my blog to demonstrate how rubbish it is. Above is just a small selection of fonts that always scream ‘unprofessional’ to me. There are PLENTY of free fonts available for commercial use that look so much nicer than the ones that come with office packages, or you could spend a little to purchase the commercial license for a font. Also, if you’re going for a ‘typewriter’ style font, there are many more choices than Courier New. Typography is important, people. It can really change an image.

3. Some colour palettes

ugh

I found a book with ALL of these colours on the cover the other day. This, combined with a very amateur Photoshop job just made it look hideous. I know people can perceive how different colours go together in different ways, but sometimes there are certain shades that just don’t work together. Which leads me onto my next point…

4. Clashing font & background colours

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I just… no. I don’t know why some people think this is a good idea?! Combine with a horrible font for bonus points!

Yep, I’m pretty judgmental when it comes to book covers. I don’t like really ‘girly’ covers either, like a woman with lots of shopping bags or makeup etc. In general, I tend to prefer more abstract or ‘dark’ covers, or ones with artwork rather than photographs.

How about you – what book cover elements can really turn you off? What sorts of covers are you normally drawn to?

Sci-Fi Month

Sci-Fi Month: Favourite Sci-Fi Book Covers

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Today I’m going to share my favourite science fiction book covers with you. Feel free to join in and share your link in the comments below! Don’t forget to check out the schedule for the rest of today’s posts. You can also Tweet about the event using the hashtag #RRSciFiMonth.

 

Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos #1 & #2) by Dan Simmons – I love these editions of this amazing series. Silhouettes are always a good choice, and the pilgrims on the front of the first book and the Shrike on the front of the second emphasise  whom each book centres around. And I really like it when series use a similar format for each book, changing small details like a main colour.

Fahrenheit 451 and The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury – these editions of Bradbury’s books are just gorgeous. The vector illustrations and colour schemes work so well, and they’re eye-catching without being too cluttered.

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells – this abstract cover works so well. It represents the blueprints and designs for the time machine, and is as mysterious as the workings of the machine itself. I always love the Penguin Classics covers!

The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham – I chose this one because of the bright colours, it really catches my eye. I don’t actually particularly like a lot of the SF Masterworks covers, but this one is pretty. Plus giant man-eating plants attacking London!

Ender in Exile by Orson Scott Card – this cover really says ‘science fiction’ to me. It’s pretty simple, whilst being gorgeous – I love the NASA photos of deep space, all the wonderful colours and different stars.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – 8-bit cover! Pretty much instantly captures the book in one. Whilst not a ‘pretty’ cover like some, I think this one works so well with the subject matter.

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer – I mostly just think this cover is really clever. Cinder is a cyborg after all, so instantly conveying that message whilst using a traditional Cinderella image was a really good idea.

All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill – this one is so much nicer than the UK cover! The drab, grey buildings and stormy sky remind me of the dullness of every day life, and the clock in the middle represents the excitement of time travel. But that’s just me… just waiting for the TARDIS to arrive.

Jack Glass by Adam Roberts – definitely one of the prettiest covers I’ve seen so far this year, of any genre. It looks absolutely gorgeous and completely bends the stereotype of a ‘typical’ science fiction book cover.

What are your favourite science fiction covers? If you make your own post, feel free to link it up and let me know in the comments!

Fantasy Friday

Fantasy Friday #2: Favourite Fantasy Book Covers

Fantasy Friday

Fantasy Friday is my new feature, made to replace Why You Should Read This Book. It will be posted every other Friday. It’s pretty self-explanatory: I do a feature on something to do with the genre. Sometimes it will be a book recommendation, sometimes showcasing a book or series I’ve loved and other times it might be a discussion post. You’re more than welcome to join in with this feature, let me know if you make your own Fantasy Friday post!

Today I want to talk about: favourite fantasy book covers.

 

  • Mort (Discworld #4) by Terry Pratchett – I love the artwork of Josh Kirby, who does all the Discworld covers, and I think it really suits Pratchett’s work. The cover images always capture the essence of the book, whilst injecting that Pratchett-style humour.
  • HarperCollins’ covers for The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien – the effect isn’t obvious looking at the image on screen, but these covers are just lovely. Within the ring on the front (yellow for Fellowship, red for Two Towers, green for Return) there are light grey patterns relevant to the specific story, as well as runes along the top and bottom edges of the books. It’s not just The Lord of the Rings that has these covers – most of Tolkien’s Middle-earth based works have similar editions.

 

  • Lirael (Abhorsen #2) by Garth Nix – a darker cover than the first book, I think this captures the story very well: a lonely journey, through a dark landscape. The rune also has a pretty nice effect, as it’s raised from the rest of the cover.
  • Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1) by Leigh Bardugo – known as The Gathering Light here in the UK, our cover isn’t as nice as this US one. I really like the vector images and the colours used, plus the text intertwining with the horns/branches.

 

  • The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling – a gorgeous cover because of the colours used and delicate illustrations, it also looks suitably aged and you could almost believe it is the same edition that Hermione herself has!
  • Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) by Sarah J. Maas – whilst Throne of Glass also has a beautiful cover, I love how Celaena is really herself on this one – she looks deadly. I like that it’s almost a greyscale image, but for the bits of red.

What are your favourite fantasy covers? Share them with me and my readers in the comments below!

Thoughts

Thoughts #2: Favourite Book Covers

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These are the covers that I could just stare at for hours, the kind that instantly draw me to a book – sometimes it is the reason I read the book in the first place. I definitely do judge a book by its cover…

One of the things I am always looking out for in bookshops (even if I don’t intend to buy them) is pretty versions of Homer’s The Iliad or The Odyssey. The new Penguin Classics hardbacks are beautiful, and I absolutely love the colour of this one:


Here are just some of the beautiful clothbound editions you can buy:

The cover of The Snow Child, by Eoywn Ivey, is also gorgeous. It mirrors the storybook within the book itself, and the print effect looks fantastic.

What covers do you really love? Do you judge a book by its cover?

Misc.

New Harper Voyager Special Editions

An exciting update on the Harper Voyager (Harper’s fantasy and sci-fi imprint) website: new special editions of various well loved books. The new covers are absolutely gorgeous. I’ve already seen the new cover of The Hobbit in Waterstones, but I didn’t realise they were doing others as well. I’m not sure if these are UK only editions, however.
 
 
 

You can read the original post here – what do you think of them?