Judging a Book by its Cover

Okay, okay, worst blog subject header ever, I apologise. But really, who doesn’t love a good book jacket? When I’m struggling to come up with what to read next, I definitely look for something to catch my eye. In music, record covers are considered works of art, but in the literary world.. there are iconic book jackets, sure, but are you supposed to hang them on your wall, or wear them on your shirt? I say yes!

Going through this website’s list of 50 Most Captivating Covers of All Time, there’s quite a few images that, to book lovers, are as iconic as Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – or  Dark Side of the Moon-record sleeves are to music fans.

It’s a trip realising how many of those iconic book covers were designed by the same people; did you know Paul Bacon designed Slaughterhouse-Five, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Rosemary’s Baby and Catch-22? S. Neil Fujita is responsible for In Cold Blood and The Godfather (which also made for one of the most-recognised movie posters) — Chip Kidd’s concept for Michael Chrichton’s Jurrassic Park jacket was also used for the movie poster, and Kidd was behind iconic covers for Bret Easton Ellis, Donna Tartt and Haruki Murakami.

Penguin Books has always been really good at recognising the strength of their book covers, releasing several books on the subject (Seven Hundred Penguins looks like a goldmine), plus mugs, pencils, oilcloth shopping bags and brick-sized collections of postcards (featuring both Penguin and Puffin covers). In 2009 they released sassy-looking, cloth-covered classics and I’ll admit to happily forking over some extra cash for an extra pretty editions of Pride and Prejudice or Tess of the D’Urbervilles.

For everyone who rates a good-looking good book, head over to Out of Print Clothing and get your hands on a t-shirt or sweatshirt featuring your favourite book cover. Featured on the site are the classics (The Catcher in the Rye, Slaughterhouse-Five, Brave New World, 1984) but also several shirts designed by Mikey Burton, an amazingly talented graphic designer who reimagined the jackets for Lord of the Flies, Animal Farm and The Great Gatsby “as part of his grad school thesis project to get young adults interested in reading.” I have to say, that greaser’s curl on The Outsiders shirt would make S.E. Hinton proud.

PS: Are you a book cover lover? Welcome to your new favourite website!

Vanina Röling is the owner of film blog Sound Turned Low and the gorgeous, soon to be resurrected Bright Red Cardigans Over Printed Dresses.

If you have written something about books, or magazines, or anything else we sell, really, you’re welcome to blog more for us, too, for book vouchers.  See the original post for all the details.

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