Famous Book Covers
By Sarah Hogan
Book covers influence us so much when choosing books – sometimes more so than the title. If I go into a bookshop or library, not looking for a particular book the cover will have a huge affect on which book I choose. From intriguing me to read the blurb or even purchase – the book cover can entice you just through its imagery.
Roald Dahl (Quentin Blake)
Quentin Blake’s illustrations and covers for Roald Dahl are synonymous with the stories. Thin wiry figures depicting key scenes from the story are familiar with children and adults alike.
The front cover of The Witches illustrates this perfectly. It depicts the central revelation of the story. And for some, may remind them of the childhood fear of the story!
The Catcher in the Rye
The red horse on the front cover of J.D. Salinger’s famous novel could be seen as an interpretation of the protagonist Houlden Caulfield’s rebellion. His longing to protect childhood innocence rendered him an icon of teenage angst. But before reading the novel, all the cover might seem is a red horse with a small city landscape in the background? Would this intrigue you to read the novel? For many, it did.
For me, a book doesn’t need an elaborate cover to draw me too it. Call me a book snob but the sight of that little penguin on a colour coded spine is enough! Penguin’s famous colour coding – green and white for crime, (as shown here in Donna Tartt’s The Secret History) orange and white for general fiction, dark blue and white for autobiographies, pink and white for travel and adventure, red and white for drama, grey and white for world affairs and yellow and white for miscellaneous. One day, I’d like a bookshelf full of colour coded Penguins ranging through the whole spectrum.
Penguin Classics use pictures to entice the reader – unlike their colour coded range. Here, the picture of the red gun is symbolic of the story, and with reading the title one can assume the nature of the book. An obvious front cover perhaps, but a famous one nonetheless.
The front cover of Denny Bradbury’s Denagerie of Poems depicts the Igazu Falls in South America. The spirit and majesty of nature is an important feature in the poems and short stories, so The Igazu Falls becomes a perfect front cover. To read more about the Igazu Falls click here.
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