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Best and Worst Book Covers

At Bookslut, Heather Smith weighs in with her best and worst book covers of 2006. Sorry, Heather, but I can't disagree more. I'll ignore the clever categorizing and cut right to the chase, with the very best and very worst of 2006.


This gorgeous cover (by Brunetti himself, I'm assuming; I'll have to check my copy at home) is just so striking -- clean and simple lines, vividly colored in black and blue (to me, a highly underrated color combination) and accented in light gray and pristine white, and with compelling illustrations. The main picture oddly invokes one of those old audience-facing movie theater photos, with the twist that none of these people are blankly staring at a movie screen, but instead are raptly reading comic books. And they're all adults, when comics have long been dismissed as mere childrens' fare. The suggestion is that not every member of society is distracted by the flash-and-crash of Hollywood (publishers' woeful lamenting of their sales figures notwithstanding) and that today's comics are highly worthy of even adults' attention.


When Doctorow's otherwise laudworthy novel came out in 2005, it included this hideously garish cover, which invoked not a thoughtful and penetrating Civil War narrative, but instead a trashy romance novel (something like The Battlefield of Passion) or, most charitably, one of John Jakes' dubious Revolutionary War epics (The Bastard, et al). But I held out hope for the paperback edition, to be released in 2006. With the paperback, the publisher had the chance to rectify its error, and come up with a cover that's artful and subtly evocative, something more fitting to the quality of Doctorow's prose. No dice. They used the same damned cover again.

January 9, 2007 in Books | Permalink


I agree with you about the Doctorow cover, though I think it's just boring. I don't agree with you about the Brunetti cover; I think that one's pretty hideous.

Posted by: Brandon at Jan 10, 2007 12:02:22 PM