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What's your favorite book cover?

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You can't judge a book by its cover, but let's face it... one of the greatest pleasures of bookstore browsing is scanning the latest cover designs on the new release shelves. It can be as interesting as browsing an art gallery; book cover art is a fiercely competitive field, and thus the art is often quite arresting.

So I'm curious... regardless of the content of the book, have any books grabbed your attention recently with their striking front cover design?

What are your all-time favorite book covers?

Which are the most clever? The classiest? The boldest?

I was really quite taken with the original cover for Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go, and I was surprised at their selection for a strikingly different paperback cover :

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Thanks. I guess going to Search and typing in "book cover" just wasn't enough help to me. Try it.

Edited by Jeffrey Overstreet

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That's okay, the search engine often does not work for me. Here are a few I never got around to posting, there are tons more where they came from. I am also a sucker for the Library of America hardbacks, the hardcover Ian Rankin editions, and I avidly collect the old school Modern Library hardbacks.

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This one has had 7 or 8 different covers, but the elegance of this one has landed it on my shelf as a permanent copy:

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Edited by MLeary

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A few more:

A truly great book cover, in which the tenor of the stories has leaked out onto the front:

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the "old school" Modern Library collection looks like this. Much simpler than all the cool covers so commonplace today, but the perfect balance of the graphic design and whimsical use of color gets me every time:

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I wouldn't mind a copy of this, but they sell for about 40,000 USD. I think the facsimile edition is even quite high:

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Another perfect cover. Great font:

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Edited by MLeary

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First edition of The Silmarillion. It's so simple. And the design is based on drawings by Tolkien.

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I wish I could find an image of the back cover...

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To add to the fast-growing number of Ray Bradbury covers in this thread, here's a favorite of mine:

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I was drawn into reading this book from the cover, and ended up liking the cover almost as much as the book's content, when all was said and done.

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In close reference to Jeff K.'s exquisite example, here is my favorite cover for the Silmarillion:

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Edited by Joel C

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love this cover:

http://www.harpercollins.com/harperimages/...80060898526.jpg

while we're at (and maybe this should be another thread), any shouts out to fave book cover designers?

i'll suggest the always fabulous (no, really, he is!) chip kidd. in fact, check out:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detai...nce&s=books

mmmmmm. chip.

PS if anyone can teach me how to imbed the book cover images within the message, that'd be swell...

Edited by techne

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Chip Kidd, basically the rock star of book cover designers. As a graphic arts junkie, I often turn to Fred Troller or Germano Facetti for a fix. I think the name of the artist responsible for the spindly illustrations in various Ray Bradbury editions from the late 60's early 70's is Joe Mugnani. If that is the right guy, I like his stuff a lot.

Paul Rand is another interesting character, one can browse Google images for a good selection of his artifacts.

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yeah, he is the rawk star of book design - has spawned a legion of imitators...

check out this book about the history of penguins books and their book design over the years (i know, i know - redundant):

http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/item/b...+covers+-+Books

yum yum!

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^Ooh, that a is a lovely edition of The Hobbit. Mine is the ugly 60's one with the eggplant trees and the emus.

This cover is a favorite...though I've never read it. I also adore the painting on the B&N edition of The Picture of Dorian Gray.

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I like the US covers of the first editions of Pullman's Northern lights and The Subtle Knife (resused in many countries, with some annoying colour shifts):

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I'm less keen on The Amber Spyglasss cover. The UK editions weren't as good, but they had a lovely drawing of an alethiometer on them which was reused on the bound trilogy:

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Edited by Tony Watkins

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I have such a love of books, this will be tough. I'll likely think of titles I should have mentioned for the next several months. But I really like this one -- BLUE: THE HISTORY OF A COLOR (maybe partly because one of my daughter's middle names is 'Blue').

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I design a number of covers every a year (DVDs mostly), and it's tough to do a great cover. And fun to try, though I haven't come close to great yet...

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I think my current favourite is the new edition of The Chambers Dictionary - the best single-volume dictionary there is in my view. I've had mine for a week now and it's even better than the 9th edition (as it should be, but you never know). The cover is simple, typographical and intriguing - exactly right for a dictionary:

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A couple of the words have instantly become part of my vocabulary - mulligrubs (sulking, as in 'my kids have got a bad case of mulligrubs today) and fizgig (giddy, flighty, flirtatious girl). The definitions are remembered, not as Chambers gives them because it's upstairs and I'm not.

I also like the fact that it's typeset in Optima - beautiful. Very unusual choice for setting a book, but brilliant for a reference book - it looks so light but is clear and elegant.

What a dictionary! A thing of wonder and delight from end to end!!

Edited by Tony Watkins

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I suppose because they're the books that are indelibly imprinted on my brain, children's books are the first ones that come to mind.

Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl, illustrated by Donald Chaffin.

The Story of Ferdinand. I can't find my copy of the book and can't seem to track down the one we had online. I recall it being bright bright yellow.

The Tintin covers were always fantastic, suggestive of the adventures and hijinks inside. However, if I had to choose between one of them, I wouldn't hesitate in saying "Explorers on the Moon" (closely followed by "The Blue Lotus" and "The Shooting Star").

Equally, ALL of the Calvin & Hobbes covers. Particularly the 'widescreen' collections although "Something Under The Bed Is Drooling" is a favourite.

Photos on the cover: Faber & faber's edition of "The Genius of the System" makes my heart's cockles glow.

From the first time I saw it, I have always been drawn to the cover of "Birthday Letters" by Ted Hughes as much as the poems contained therein.

Edited by gigi

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Hmm...Nobody's mentioned illustrators yet, but off the top of my head, I'd have to pick Chris Van Allsburg as having some of the most arresting covers (for his own books, too, of course) working in book publishing today.

Ooh, very good call, nardis! Van Allsburg has some great stuff. My favourite entry in The Mysteries of Harris Burdick is on the cover:

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Edited by Jeff Kolb

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Thought of a few more, and this time children's illustrated books.

Thomas Locker's books are always gorgeous, very nice landscape artwork.

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Margaret Hodge's version of St. George and the Dragon is very nice, all the way through:

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Edited by Joel C

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even though i've tried reading this in the past and could hardly wade through it past 50 pages (too many tangents, too little time) i still love this edition's cover of rushdie's midnight's children: http://www.lacoctelera.com/lectorileso/imag/midnights.gif

ps how do you include the image of the cover in the post?

Edited by techne

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