Saturday, January 28, 2012

Books Are Pretty!: Part I

You know what's a silly phrase? And by silly I mean annoying? "Don't judge a book by its cover." Not because I don't think it's true. You shouldn't judge a book by its cover. But we all DO. I think every detail about a thing influences our perceptions of that thing, and to think otherwise is dumb and somewhat condescending. Like, "Tsk, tsk," *shaking head* "Don't judge a book by its cover, little ones! I mean, I would NEVER."

I could argue that a book's cover actually often resonates with or at least is connected to our personal, emotional attachment to a story--otherwise the dreaded Movie Covers wouldn't get me so riled up every time. But I also love admiring the art of the book cover for art's sake. They're fascinating and lovely and beautiful.

At the library-run used-bookstore where I've volunteered for almost five years now, I spend my hours each week in the backroom quickly rifling through stack after stack of YA novels, mainly inspecting for quality and publication date along with a few other things to deem it worthy of putting out on the shelves. This practice has made me incredibly familiar with a few things: copyright pages and back-jacket author bios, really shitty book binding jobs, and the fine art of the cover. I go through hundreds of books each week, so it takes a good cover to make me stop in my tracks and say, "WHOA. THAT'S PRETTY. LET'S LOOK AT THAT FOR ANOTHER SECOND."

The wonderful Jill D. over at Looks & Books has a feature called Coveralls, where she takes a book cover and matches it with corresponding fashionable outfits inspired by the cover art, which is a lovely and neat-o concept. I, however, lack the creativity, energy, and cute fashion sense that Jill D. has, so on this here blog, I've decided to just, like, post book covers that I think are pretty, just cause. I'm titling this series BOOKS ARE PRETTY! 

I know! I AM brilliant!

1) Imaginary Girls, Nova Ren Suma (2011)

This book was included on my reading list for the Mock Printz workshop I attended this year. It wasn't necessarily my favorite book of the year--I thought the writing was wonderful, and the story deliciously creepy, but I felt in the end she couldn't quite wrap up the mystery she'd woven for herself. To be honest, I had no idea what was happening half the time--even though the words always sounded so pretty! That said, a 13 year old girl who was in my group at the workshop loved this book so much she was hugging it to herself. So. There you go.

But without a doubt, I love this cover. The piercing blue combined with that red ribbon, so strangely wrapped around the floating girl's wrist, fluttering behind her--it is perfect. It feels as delicate-yet-haunting as the story did.

2) My One Hundred Adventures, Polly Horvath (2008)

I haven't read this one, but every time it's in my stack, I have to stop and look at that house floating away above the puffy clouds above the warm-toned ocean, and I want to read it. I love this cover.

3) Pretty Dead, Francesca Lia Block (2009)

Most of the time, I admit, I like the pretty, dreamy covers, the ones that make me go "Oooooh" and want to cuddle the book in a warm blanket. But I can appreciate sass, too. And the first time I saw this cover and really examined that dripping peppermint on those shiny red lips, I thought, "That is freaking genius." And very Francesca Lia Block. God bless her (and whoever designed this cover).

4) Crow, Barbara Wright (2012)

This is a brand new book and I know nothing about it, but it caught my eye this week when I was at Powell's and I stopped in my tracks to look at it more. The lovely grey & yellow combination, along with a bicycle in the corner? Done and done, my friends.

5) The Stranger, Albert Camus (1946)

Oh, well, this is strange. This is not a YA or a children's book (whaaaaa?!), and it's old, and as certain people (who may be) reading this know too well, not even a book I particularly like. (I'm sorry, truly.) However, this book for a variety of reasons has been resting on the bottom of our coffee table for awhile so I keep staring at it. And I have to say--this cover is perfect. Simple, and perfect. This is, like, kind of maybe my favorite cover ever.

(Does that make it at all better, M? No? Okay, I didn't think so.)

What are your favorite book covers?

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