Tuesday, May 21, 2013

In Which Trai Lists Her Top Ten Favorite Covers of Books She's Read

Hello again, everyone! It's been a while! And this time I'm hoping to really be back for good, because I'm a college graduate! My last few semesters kept me very, very busy, and time to myself to read, let alone to think on what I read for myself enough to compose a coherent review, was rare if not nonexistent. But now that I have some time to myself, I'm hoping to really get this blog back up and running!

A Top Ten Tuesday caught my eye yesterday, as it dealt with something I love thinking about: book covers! Specifically, my favorite book covers of all the books I've read. I'm not much of a visual person, but I'm a huge fan of evocative book covers, and some of them have really stuck in my brain.

1) Delicacy, by David Foenkinos - I wanted to avoid putting movie poster covers on this list, but I just can't, with this one; it was the cover that drew me to the book in the first place! When I saw it in a recommendation email from Barnes & Noble or Kobo, I just couldn't look away. The colors are vibrant and the shot is strikingly composed. I was so taken with the cover that it lingered in my mind, and I was delighted to find the book at my local library last summer. Fortunately, the book itself was just as good as I'd hoped!

2) Tess of the d'Urbervilles, by Thomas Hardy (Vintage Classics edition) - I absolutely adore the Vintage Classics edition covers for some of my favorites (they just recently released some Bronte editions I had a bit of a fangasm over). This one really floored me. The strawberry scene is so pivotal in the book, and the contrast of the red strawberries against the white cloth (maybe a commentary on Tess' purity?) in the green grass is gorgeous. I don't own this edition, but if I ever run across it, I really want to buy it!

3) Here Comes the Groom, by Karina Bliss - Sometimes I'm really struck by how pretty the covers of the SuperRomance line (my preferred imprint) can be. I really like how something that could come off as sleazy or suggestive instead comes across as tender and caring, going by the expressions on both parties' faces. And the dress is wonderful!
4) Shiver, by Maggie Stiefvater - I have yet to read the second and third books in the series, but I just love this cover. The leaves shaped like hearts, the blue that really evokes the dreadful feeling of cold and impending loneliness that pervades the book, the tangled branches, the wolf peeking out of the trees, and that tiny, tiny spot of red blood amidst the stark white.
5) The Man Who Loved Pride and Prejudice (Pemberley by the Sea), by Abigail Reyolds - This is another one like Here Comes the Groom, where I just love the drawing and the intimacy of the pose. The Cape Cod setting is so important in the book, and I think it really comes off here in the lush colors of the ground, the sea, the lighthouse. And the intimacy between Cassie and Calder is conveyed by how close they're standing and the various ways they're touching.
6) Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart, by Beth Pattillo - Once again, I'm hardly a visual person, but I seem to like covers where the colors really pop. This color scheme is similar to the Tess cover, but I think the absence of white like in that cover makes this one even more striking. The red dress (which is beautiful all on its own) against the green grass and the model's fair skin and hair is really eye-catching and a great focal point for the cover.
7) The Girl Who Played with Fire, by Stieg Larsson - It's telling that I hate fire and yet this cover made the list! I remember really looking at it one day and noticing for the first time that the seeming flames on the cover were actually wisps of blonde hair against the reddish orange background. Given that Lisbeth spends most of the book in disguise (a blonde wig) and the series' general crusade against "men who hate women," and sex trafficking particularly in this volume, I thought the choice to evoke a wig--a disguise worn to escape such hateful men--was really clever.

8) Dearly Devoted Dexter, by Jeff Lindsay - This one will go down in my all-time favorites; it still blows me away. It's the second of the books Showtime's Dexter series is based on, and I can't get over how perfectly and succinctly conveys the contrast between domestic Dexter (who, in this book, finds himself engaged to Rita) and killer Dexter, by highlighting the bouquet of roses and the knife being held in the same hand.
9) Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell (Pocket Books edition) - I read Gone with the Wind, a favorite of my mother's, when I was 18, and insisted on my own copy not only because my wrists screamed in protest at the thought of hefting one of her hardcover versions, but because I loved this cover so much! It's another fire themed one, so it's a surprise to me, too. As many conflicting feelings as most of us have about Scarlett and Rhett, I find the drawing itself to be really gorgeous, and the choice to deck Scarlett out in white really interesting.

10) I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith (St. Martin's Griffin alternate cover and Vintage Classics edition) - This one does make me a little sad, because the St. Martin's Griffin edition (left) seems to be one of those conceptual covers that only exists on product pages and not in real life! I love the nature imagery and the Mortmain girls running through the field to their home, and have sought this cover for years to no avail (the only cover I've ever seen is this). Earlier today, as I was looking up Smith's 101 Dalmatians (now that I'm 22, I figure it's time to check out some of the children's classics I never read as a kid!), and saw another Vintage Classics cover I fell in love with on sight (right). It's another really gorgeous evocation of the nature theme, featuring a lake, flowers, and leaves (and a much more appealing color scheme than the standard cover I linked to above!), and hits the nail on the head with the lake being heart-shaped: a really brilliant indicator of one of the central focuses of the book being love and courtship. (One of the love scenes even takes place outdoors!) It's another Vintage Classics edition I'd love to own if I ever get the chance; it might even soothe the sting of the St. Martin's Griffin cover not existing in real life!

I'm glad to be back up and running, and hope to really get this blog going again soon. Until next time!

- Trai

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