By Cornelia Yesterday I got sent a jpeg of the proposed cover for my next book, which I think is wonderfully spooky and PRETTY, in a dark angsty kind of way. It got me thinking about what I like and don't like in book covers. Two of my favorites ever were designed for novels by Darcey Steinke, which is cool because I like Darcey so much (we were on junior year abroad programs in Ireland together in 1983--me in Dublin, Darcey in Cork). Here's the cover of her first novel, Suicide Blonde: And here is the one for Milk: And here is Darcey herself, equally great looking: Here are some covers I found at a fantastic website dedicated to the art thereof: Roz Chast and Stella Gibbons, two great tastes that taste great together....
Designer: Roz Chast title: Cold Comfort Farm author: Stella Gibbons publisher: Penguin Classics, 2006 available at Amazon.com
This one I think plays wonderfully on traditional illustration connected to the subject matter, plus which the red is just so sumptuously perfect:
Designer: Mark Melnick title: Chance author: Amir D. Aczel publisher: Four Walls Eight Windows, 2004 available at Amazon.com
And speaking of sumptuous, this is one of the most slyly erotic covers I think I've ever run across:
Designer: Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich title: Eat Me author: Linda Jaivin publisher: Broadway, 1998 available at Amazon.com
Though this is a close second, and perfect for the subject matter:
Designer: Jasmine Lee title: History Lesson for Girls author: Aurelie Sheehan publisher: Viking Adult, 2006 available at Amazon.com
This one is a great update, don't you think?:
Designer: Gregg Kulick Illustrator: Gregg Kulick title: Brave New World author: Aldous Huxley publisher: Harper Perennial, 2006 available at Amazon.com
This one is just plain beautiful, to me:
Designer: Charlotte Strick title: The Noodle Maker: A Novel author: Ma Jian publisher: Picador, 2006 available at Amazon.com
Here's one I love not so much, especially since the short film on which it's based is so iconic:
Designer: Brian Barth title: Bambi vs. Godzilla: On the Nature, Purpose, and Practice of the Movie Business author: David Mamet publisher: Pantheon, 2007 available at Amazon.com
The film in question:
Couldn't they at least have added this: plus this?: Some of the most memorable covers ever are from children's books I've known and loved: N.C. Wyeth's paintings for Scribner's are particularly gorgeous. And there are many other Scribner's dust jackets I think were beautifully and thoughtfully designed: This one was published in 1934. This one was published in 1960, and is probably the worst design I've ever seen for a book. Can you imagine anything LESS evocative of The Great Gatsby?: I looks like something out of an SRA reader nightmare. What were they thinking in 1960? Makes me kind of happy someone discovered LSD. And then sometimes it's not the dust jacket which is the most beautiful thing about a book, but the cover beneath. I love the blue of this, the gold, the design of the type itself: It reminds me of my very favorite kitschy painting:
Maxfield Parrish, "Stars," 1926
Just remember, though, as Bo Diddley said, you can't judge a book by looking at the...
What are your favorite covers? Which ones do you remember best from your childhood?

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Comment by Tribe on April 5, 2007 at 11:36am
And I should add that I love that damn title, too!
Comment by Tribe on April 5, 2007 at 11:36am
Yeah, a very hot cover, Cornelia.
Comment by Karen Dionne on April 5, 2007 at 11:10am
Wonderful cover, Cornelia! I love it!
Comment by Daniel Hatadi on April 5, 2007 at 11:04am
My partner was reading this one the other day (by the same author as the Horsie book):

Comment by Naomi Hirahara on April 5, 2007 at 11:00am
Love your covers, Cornelia. And you picked out some great ones. The Mamet one is so much fun!
Comment by Patricia on April 5, 2007 at 10:50am
I think your new cover is wonderfully atmospheric and it sure would catch my eye on a shelf.

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