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M. Leary

Book Covers

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I am working on this piece right now about how publishing companies will follow up filmed adaptations with a reprint of the novel that uses imagery from the film on the new cover. (Such as: The Da Vinci Code.) It has really forced me to think back through all the great book covers I can remember. I will get around to posting a few here, but do any of you have favorite book covers that you would like to share?

Edited by MLeary

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Hm, good question. Unfortunately I can't think of any off-hand, and to tell you the truth I usually take the dust jacket off. And I generally don't like how excessively large the names of authors can be . . .

I've seen a lot of them though. I worked in a pressroom where we regularly printed dust jackets, and have also worked in a used book warehouse filling orders.

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I am working on this big piece right now about how publishing companies will follow up filmed adaptations with a reprint of the novel that uses imagery from the film on the new cover. (Such as: The Da Vinci Code.) Anyway, it is all long-winded and complicated, but it has really forced me to think back through all the great book covers I can remember. I will get around to posting a few here, but do any of you have favorite book covers that you would like to share?

I'm particularly impressed by the cover of 10 Excellent Reasons Not To Join The Military. I haven't read the book, but seeing the dismembered body parts has me already convinced.

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I have written elsewhere on here about my appreciation for this cover, from the US Hardcover edition of "Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell". I find the minimalist, reversed silhouette of the raven in flight to be mysterious, jarring, and just darn pleasing to the eye. Plus the paper is a rough cut heavy weight, non-glossy surface. Great book reading texture.

Edited by Buckeye Jones

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F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby remains one of my favorite novels about spiritual emptiness. Its cover (below) struck me when I first read the book as a teenager, and it stays with me now - as much for the story behind it as for its evocation of the novel's themes.

The story goes something like this (going on memory here): Scribner & Sons commissioned an artist to render an "art deco" jacket for the book, a rendering of Daisy Buchanan shedding a single tear against a metropolitan New York backdrop. Fitzgerald loved it, despite Ernest Hemingway's critique that it was the ugliest dust jacket he'd seen. In fact, it inspired Fitzgerald to create the novel's central symbolic imagery - a billboard showing an optometrist's huge eyes watching over the sins of man. Fitzgerald allegedly told Scribner, "whatever you do, don't give that artwork to anyone else, because I've written it into the book!" (This actually appears in the foreword to some editions of the novel.)

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