Book Covers That I Think Are Really Nice

MIDDLESEX Cover design by Henry Sene Yee, Cover illustration by Olga Grlic, published by PicadorI haven’t read this book yet, but I look at it every time I end up perusing Barnes and Noble. The black and white/matte finish is classy.Hell, even the gold-embossed Pulitzer badge – something usually slapped on long after the cover has been completed – looks great. The mix of photographic smoke-as-water combined with flat silhouette figures is awesome. The implication of cool naked chicks hanging around being naked while smoking cigarettes doesn’t hurt anything, either. And now that I’ve read the credits and know the illustrator is named “Olga Grlic”, well, I’m in love. This is a really nice looking book cover. C’mon!

RICHARD IIIPelican Shakespeare edition, illustration by Riccardo Vecchio– Not a great cover generally speaking, but the illustrations on this whole series are pretty fucking outstanding. Check the rad lion.

CONSPICUOUS CONSUMPTIONPenguin Great Ideas edition, 2006 – Designer: David Pearson, Art Director: Jim Stoddart– This whole series is really sweet, nicely printed. I like this ‘unbest. In fact I lifted the text box design for the cover of Broken Lines. I’m an unimaginative prick sometimes.

THE AREAS OF MY EXPERTISE (2005)by good ol’ John Hodgman, published by Dutton, cover layout by Sam Potts– Great mix of flat blue and gloss orange. I really like covers that are filled with text and info… if you care, you take the time to read it (like a good Chris Ware cover). It helps that it’s all extremely funny and sharply written, ‘course.

THE COMPLETE PEANUTS SERIESdesigned by Seth, published by Fantagraphics– I’m psyched for this whole collection for the Charles Schultz goodness, of course. But I gotta say these books look pretty great. The color variations are dang pleasant, Seth’s lettering (and occasional aping of Schultz’s style for endpapers, etc) are top notch and really fit the project well. My only complaint was the decision to feature a different character on the cover/spine, which has already led to really lame useless characters being featured. Seems like an idea that sortof paints the publishers into a corner, but I suppose they have a master plan. Err, right?

GOOD FAITHby Jane Smiley, cover layout by Gabriele Wilson– A fine example of using clip art in a non-stupid way. Simple,straightforward, great color choices. Jumps off the ol’ store bookshelf, ya know?

THE VARIETIES OF SCIENTIFIC EXPERIENCEby Carl Sagan, cover layout by Amanda Dewey– I can’t tell if I like this cover, or if I just like the typeface. I mean, I appreciate the stark simplicity of it all. I like the two colors. I look at it every time I walk by it in Barnes’n’Noble. So I guess that means…. I like it? Semi-interesting side note: Google Image Search “sagan varieties” and you get photos of Kirsten Dunst. Okay… that’s not even semi-interesting. Sorry. But it’s weird, am I right?

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