08 February 2009

Weekly Geeks: Judge a Book by its Cover

Weekly Geeks

This week it's all about judging books by their covers! Pick a book - any book, really - and search out multiple book cover images for that book. They could span a decade or two (or more)... Or they could span several countries. Which cover is your favorite? Which one is your least favorite? Which one best 'captures' what the book is about?

My first thought was Wuthering Heights, but that’s already been done wonderfully by Claire. So I went for a modern classic instead - Possession by A. S. Byatt. I simply adore this book - I’m planning to read it again some time this year and rave about it here. Although it’s nearly twenty years old, there aren’t that many covers.

Cover 1 This is the edition I have, and I love it. The image and the script writing are both evocative of Victorian elegance, and promise a story that’s beautifully-written and romantic with Dickensian intricacy. Since this is just what Possession is, I think it’s a perfect fit for the book.
Cover 2 This is also very Victorian; in fact, it could be an illustration for one of Christabel’s tales. But I don’t like it as much as the first. It has a very cut-and-paste look to it - he’s distinctly lopsided. And she must be very uncomfortable standing like that.
Cover 3 Obviously, the movie tie-in version. I’ve never been a fan of tie-in covers, but this has one advantage over all the others - it shows that there are two separate stories, one in the present and one in the past.
Cover 4 My least favourite of the English covers. Sure, it’s elegantly minimalist, but what do moths have to do with the novel? Answer: nothing whatsoever. Now, if it was Angels and Insects I could understand it. Maybe someone in the art department got the two confused?
Cover 5 I found this Italian (I think) cover on LibraryThing, and it’s woefully dull. I’m not exactly sure what that picture is, but it makes me think of cramped, ill-lit garrets and the darker side of Victorian London life. (Well, there is that seance.... )
Cover 6 The French version, also from LibraryThing. She’s suitably pre-Raphaelite, but too much like some kind of faerie queen. A pair of wings and a magic wand wouldn’t look out of place, which doesn’t fit with the more serious nature of the book.
Which is your favourite? And if you’ve read it, which do you think suits the book best?


Lightheaded said...

The second one is taken from a painting, if I remember correctly, about Merlin.

This is the copy I have with me and I like it best compared to the print and paper feel of the first one although other than having the Victorian feel to it, it doesn't say much about the two intertwining stories save for the most generalized way :)

Dorte H said...

I agree with you that the first cover is best (even though I have not read the book).

Anonymous said...

I'm just going to have to buy this one. I've been wanting to listen to the audio version but my library doesn't have it. and not that I'm surprised, but I had no idea this was made into a movie! (whoops! I'm supposed to comment something on the covers? Yea, I don't care one way or the other about the book covers usually.)

claire said...

Hi, thanks for the link love!

You made a good choice with Possession. This was a lovely read. I also like the first two covers. In fact, I also like the Vintage one with the moths, beautiful design, but I agree with you, it really has nothing to do with the book.

Your blog is lovely, by the way. :)

Rikki said...

I don't know the books but all those covers made me curious. Must go and check it out. Just from the looks I'd go for the first cover. It is beautiful.

Frances said...

I really like the second one as well as the moth/butterfly one but your observation about how appropriate it is for this book is right on. An OOPS? Great post!

Robin of My Two Blessings said...

I've not read the book, but I do like the first cover the best. Great Post.

Kerrie said...

Thanks for an interesting post. I think i like the first cover best

CoversGirl said...

Lightheaded: I suppose it would be hard to include the modern element and maintain a Victorian look.

Dorte: You should read it! (I think everyone should read it.)

bkclubcare: I'm not fussy about covers either, but I do love a good one when I find it.

Claire: No worries! (If that wasn't a New Year's resolution, it should have been: link more.) If that cover had been on Angels and Insects, I'd adore it.

Rikki: Definitely get hold of a copy - it's a wonderful book.

Frances: Maybe . . . or an artist who hadn't actually read the book?

Robin: A surprising degree of unanimity here! Everyone likes the Victorian-style ones.

Kerrie: Glad you enjoyed it!

Anonymous said...

I like the first one, too. The cover of her new book is incredibly beautiful...have you seen it?

Terri said...

I do like that first cover; I have the edition with the second one though.

I also dislike movie tie-in books, I find them quite irritating and avoid them if I can!

gautami tripathy said...

I like the first and the second one too!


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Header image shows detail of A Young Girl Reading by Jean-Honoré Fragonard, c. 1776