Jane’s post earlier this week about how book covers come into existence, got me thinking. We know we’re not supposed to, but I know that I, at least, will almost always judge a book, and my willingness to read it, by its cover. Its cover, spine, type face, page layout, even its binding. The simpler, the better. I’m drawn to plain, unassuming books; preferably paperbacks with French flaps and those roughly cut, thick, and slightly uneven pages. That’s just me being really particular, though. If I had it my way, almost all covers would be extremely sparse, perhaps designed, but without actual pictures or photographs if these can be avoided. The words on the front don’t have to be a specific size or font, but the text inside does—preferably with serifs and not too spaced out. I sound picky, I know, but we’re talking ideals here! Book cover utopia!
Obviously, there are exceptions, and there are covers that feature people or animals or what have you, that I fall in love with, too (I’m thinking the applicable covers of Lolita, The Virgin Suicides and this series of Evelyn Waugh’s oeuvre, for example), so maybe it’s not that easy to classify. All I know is that when I’m drawn to a book initially, it’s on the spine or cover alone—aided in part by the title, I suppose—and I am always surprised when I find myself really enjoying a book whose cover I dislike and am more disappointed when a book with a great cover turns out to be less than satisfying.
In any case, the merit obviously lies in the writing itself, no matter the form in which it is presented, but I thought I’d indulge a little in the most famous literary taboo. What are your preferences? Are there any book covers that stand out in your mind as the pinnacle of perfection?