The flip side of last week’s …
Are there any good books that you read IN SPITE OF the cover and ended up wondering what on earth the artist and publisher were thinking to pair up a cover that so badly represented a perfectly good book?
And … if you didn’t like the cover, what made you pick up the book? The author? Assigned reading from school? A recommendation from a friend?
Like I said last week, I’m used to relying on the public library for my books, so I can’t be too picky about covers. And despite the fact that I’m easily distracted by an attractive cover, I’m also, by virtue of being a speculative fiction fan, used to reading amazing books with mediocre covers. I, in fact, delight in bad covers, much as I delight in bad movies; Good Show, Sir is a website completely devoted to silly fantasy and sci-fi covers, which I love.
That being said, there are two covers that have stuck with me for being off throughout the years. I once completely derailed a discussion about Sabriel because I disagreed with Leo and Diane Dillon about a costuming note on the titular character’s sleeves. The copy of The White Plague I got from the library showed a double helix coursing through the English country, which is just weird.
Sabriel by Garth Nix
read by Tim Curry
I read the entire Abhorsen trilogy in high school; I even derailed a book club discussion of it by complaining about the costume design on the cover not matching up to the description in the book. (…I deeply apologize to everyone involved.) But ultimately, I never retained much beyond a very vague memory of Sabriel’s first fight against one of the undead on a snowy night. Casting around for an audiobook (perhaps I should start keeping a list of audiobooks I want to listen to!), I discovered that Tim Curry, the former patron saint of my film depreciation society, narrated the entire trilogy in audiobook format. Not quite as exciting as Jeremy Irons, but still, exciting.
Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd edited by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci
Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd is one of those books I think everyone has read but me, albeit not in the massive numbers as, say, the Millenium trilogy. One of my cousins picked it up from my favorite independent bookstore the last time he visited my stomping grounds, a woman in my writing group read it ages ago, and other book bloggers have picked through it. The arresting cover—I’ve always loved pixel art—is eye-catching and the subject matter definitely appeals to someone who thoroughly identifies as a geek.
Firebirds edited by Sharyn November
As I mentioned in its review, So Long Been Dreaming was the second short story collection I’d ever read. The first? This anthology, back in middle school–it was on the first shelf to the left in my middle school’s library, and I was taken in by the gorgeous cover. (Not much has changed, apparently.) After encountering Firebirds Rising and Firebirds Soaring at the library near my college, I was feeling a bit nostalgic for it–but I couldn’t find it in either of my library systems. So I consulted eBay, where I found some remainder copies for five dollars a pop. The week before Narnia Week, I settled in to see if I would be as impressed as I was when I was a wee lass–but things certainly have changed.