It’s Top Ten Tuesday once again, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. I love this week’s theme, because I am a visual person and I’m usually drawn to anything with strong graphic design. This week I’ve gone to the stacks and randomly pulled out books with covers I love. It’s hard to pick only ten, but these ten books are all graced with either beautiful artwork or a bold design. Most just happen to be science fiction or horror, but I didn’t choose them based on any type of genre. Here they are, graphically arranged for the greatest impact!
1. Vurt by Jeff Noon. Cover design by Joe McGee. Vurt is a whacked out science fiction story unlike anything you’ve ever read. If you love SF and you haven’t read Vurt, go get a copy right away. This is the American cover, which I like better than the British one (Noon is English). It’s a simple design with high impact.
2. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. Cover design by Dave Caplan and Alison Impey. This is a cross-over book from another Top Ten Tuesday, but I love the cover so much it just had to be in this list. The simple concept, turquoise mask, and eroded font make this a stand-out cover. I’m pretty sure this will show up on other lists!
3. Sharp Teeth by Toby Barlow. Cover design by Suzanne Dean. This is a great example of one of my favorite book designs: books without dust jackets. The red cloth background is directly imprinted with the black dog and title. Again, simple and bold design catch my eye ever time. And the book’s great too! (yes, it’s about werewolves)
4. Lonely Werewolf Girl by Martin Millar. Cover design by David Janik. Another werewolf story, this is a paperback original (in other words, it was not published in hardcover). And again, this just happens to be the American cover. Millar is another British writer, and the British cover is the same, but without the color. I like the color much better…
5. Nameless Sins by Nancy Collins. Cover design by Joe Christ. OK, this jacket is a bit disturbing, so don’t look too closely if you’re squeamish! But I love it because it’s not something you see every day, especially not these days. This is an older book, from 1994, from small publisher Gauntlet Publications. The one I have is a limited, signed edition, and hey, I just noticed it’s signed by the cover designer as well as the author! Cool…
6. Perdido Street Station by China Miéville. Cover design by Edward Miller. This book cover is a conservative choice for me, but it’s a truly beautiful illustration. It perfectly describes the strange and otherworldly quality of Miéville’s story. This is the British version, which I prefer to the American one. Also one of my all-time favorite fantasy/SF books.
7. Conjunctions 39: The New Wave Fabulists. Cover design by Gahan Wilson and Jerry Kelly. Conjunctions is a publication of Bard College in New York. I’m very surprised that this image was on file with Goodreads, since it’s not your typical “book.” This edition is filled with short stories by some big-name writers, and I hope it’s still being published, because not only is it a beautiful example of cover art, but it’s quite a wonderful publication.
8. McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, Issue 20. Cover design by Jacob Magraw-Mickelson. You can’t really have a Top Ten about book covers without including at least one McSweeney’s, can you? I love all of their covers, and this is just one example of their awesomeness. It’s a shame I can’t show you the insides as well, since this issue is loaded with incredible artwork from many different and talented people.
9. Zombies vs. Unicorns edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier. Cover design by Lauren Rille and Sonia Chaghatzbanian. Cover illustration by Josh Cochran. I wish I could take off the black half-jacket and show you the entire illustration that is printed directly on the book. It’s gorgeous. In fact, the entire book, published by McElderry Books, is a great example of high quality book design.
10. The Hallowed Hunt by Lois McMaster Bujold. Cover illustration by David Bowers. It’s hard to tell from this dinky picture, but the artwork on this cover is really beautiful. And it has everything I want on a cover: beautiful scenery, cool animals, and a cute guy with weapons! I need to re-read this stellar fantasy, now that I’m looking at it again.
That’s ten, folks! There are plenty more lovely covers out there, maybe we’ll have Part Two someday…