Life of a Book Hoarder

Ugly Books

Happy New Year, bibliofriends! To bring in the new year, I thought I’d start off with something a little different. Every Friday I take time to appreciate one of the many beautiful books on my shelves, but I know you’re all thinking “Gee Milliebot, I wish you’d show us your ugly books!” and so today I shall.

Last December I read Greyglass, by Tanith Lee, and I simply couldn’t get over how ugly the cover was. This inspired me to do an ugly books post, and so I scoured my shelves for covers to feature. Now, I own plenty of books where I don’t really like the cover – whether it’s the style, or that it has nothing to do with the content of the book – but I quickly discovered there are few books that I actually find hideous, and I was hard-pressed to find any that really rival Greyglass. I somehow imaged I’d be able to show you seven or maybe even ten, but it turns out I’m so happy with my collection that I could only find three!

Let’s start with the least offensive, From a Whisper to a Scream by Charles de Lint:

Two things bother me about this cover – that girl’s face and the horrible color choice for the text. The red and gold really doesn’t stand out against the highly detailed black and white illustration.

It’s hard to read, and the shade of gold is so dull…it’s just not nice to look at.

Next is Taliesin by Stephen Lawhead:

This is a series about Merlin and Arthur and whatnot (no, I haven’t read it yet), but the cover makes me think of the biker from the Village People.

His stare is intense yet empty…and seriously that mustache, gross! I’m not saying he should have been painted as some bo-hunk, but even just eliminating that terrible mustache would help.

Alright, so here’s the real reason I made this post, Greyglass by Tanith Lee:

UGH! Just look at how horrible this cover is – it’s not only poorly designed, but the image quality is terrible. There’s a blurry photo of a brick wall, and a blurry photo of an eyeball crammed in the arch. This looks like it was made in MS Paint by someone who had to make a last-minute assignment for fourth grade and they jacked some low-res images from Google. I mean, come on. What is this!?

To add insult to injury (yes, probably I’m too upset by all of this), this cover was designed by Lee’s husband. Obviously, I have no idea how the process for designing this cover went, but I have to imagine someone other than Kaiine looked at this cover and gave it the thumbs up. Was it Tanith? The publishing house? I don’t know, but it gives me the impression that no one cared, not even enough to go purchase some high-res images to manipulate. If I was designing anything for my spouse, I’d sure want it to look like I put some effort into it though.

Lastly, this cover has nothing to do with the content of the book. Normally that doesn’t bother me, but since I’m already hating on this cover, now I’m wondering why in the world they picked a giant eyeball in a brick wall to draw readers in. WHAT WAS ANYONE THINKING?!

This cover is just garbage. /endrant


So! Have you ever come across a cover so ugly it made you mad? An ugly cover won’t stop me from buying a book, but that doesn’t mean I won’t complain about it!

4 thoughts on “Ugly Books”

  1. Actually, the Taliesin cover is from the 80s! It has been updated at least three times I know of, maybe more. Give em a break.


    1. That one’s really not hideous, the guy just creeps me out. I thought I’d find more ugly covers in my collection, but I didn’t. So I grabbed it so I’d have at least three. Lol.


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