Judging A Book By Its Cover: More Charles de Lint

This is my weekly post where I highlight and appreciate cover designs and the general physical appearance of books. We all judge book covers to some extent. I can’t say that I’ve ever decided against a book with terrible cover art if I liked the sound of the plot, but I have purchased special editions of books or multiple editions of books based on their cover art. If book covers didn’t matter, publishers wouldn’t put out so many beautiful editions!

Charles de Lint is one of the authors that I hoard (and am sadly totally behind in actually reading) and I was happy to find both these illustrated companion novels on BookOutlet. Both books are published by Little Brown and illustrated by Charles Vess with cover design by Saho Fujii. Cats was published in 2013, ISBN: 9780316053594. Sisters was published in 2014, ISBN: 9780316053525.

Judging A Book By Its Cover: Charles de Lint

This is my weekly post where I highlight and appreciate cover designs and the general physical appearance of books. We all judge book covers to some extent. I can’t say that I’ve ever decided against a book with terrible cover art if I liked the sound of the plot, but I have purchased special editions of books or multiple editions of books based on their cover art. If book covers didn’t matter, publishers wouldn’t put out so many beautiful editions!

Here I have three of my (vast collection of) Charles de Lint books – these are all illustrated by John Jude Palencar and I love his art style to pieces. Fun fact, Onion Girl was the first de Lint book I read and I recall it was the cover that first caught my eye in the library, followed by the strange title. If you’re looking for urban fantasy, I can’t recommend de Lint and his world, Newford, highly enough. You might be surprised to find I’ve read two of these three books! xD They’re all published by Tor. Onion Girl – 2001, ISBN: 9780765303813, Forests of the Heart – 2000, ISBN: 0312875681, The Mystery of Grace – 2009, ISBN: 9780765317568.

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 book – but I quickly discovered that 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!

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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.

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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.

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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. Now, 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

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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!

Do you Auto-Buy Your Favorite Authors?

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We all have our favorite authors – those writers whose work we need to own, or read, all of. I’m moving soon and my blogging has taken a back seat, but I wanted to post a little something anyway. Talking about my favorite authors is easy, and I’d love to hear some of yours!

I have my autobuy group – I will buy any new works of theirs that come out, because I’m sure I’ll love it. I supposed if I read the description and it sounded awful, I wouldn’t buy it, but I haven’t had that happen yet. If they have a larger body of work, it means that I’m usually hunting for any of their work I don’t own, so I can have a complete collection.

tanith

Tanith Lee – in my world, she’s the goddess of fantasy and sci-fi. A lot of her work is out of print, so I often find her novels in used bookstores. She has a very large body of work, but someday I hope I’ll own it all!

charles

Charles de Lint – he’s excellent at urban fantasy and also has a large body of work that I’m doing my best to own. If you’re into fairies and other characters from folklore living in cities and making human friends (or enemies), check him out!

george

George R. R. Martin – we all love A Song of Ice and Fire (or we should!) but I actually want to work on reading more of Martin’s other fantasy works, and his sci-fi stuff too.

philippa

Philippa Gregory – I own all of her Tudor Court and Cousin’s War books so I just need to work on a few smaller series that she has as well as her one-offs. She also has a young adult series that I’d like to check out.

walter

Walter Moers – Moers has created the fantastic world of Zamonia and at the moment I own all of his works. I’m eagerly awaiting the next City of Dreaming Books sequel and I have my eye on a full-color German edition of Captain Bluebear because his illustrations are fantastic.

gregory

Gregory Maguire – I love his fairytale retellings and while he has other works, those are what I’ve been focusing on so far.

michelle

Michelle Moran – she is my other go-to author for historical fiction. I just recently reviewed an ARC of her latest book, Rebel Queen and I plan on buying a physical copy once it comes out in paperback.

paolo

Paolo Bacigalupi – He needs to write more books in the Shipbreaker universe!

christopher

Christopher Moore – I own all of his novels and I’m eagerly awaiting more. He’s a master of comedy and…I guess you could call it modern fantasy and if you haven’t read any of his work you should check him out.

jane

Jane Austen – okay, so I realize she’s not going to be releasing any new novels, but I have her original novels and a couple of volumes of her other works. But in addition to just constantly buying new copies of Pride and Prejudice (like the most recent cover-buy featured in this post), I also hunt for books about her work or inspired by her work. I don’t automatically buy anything that’s based on Jane, because frankly, some of it sounds terrible, but it’s always something I’m looking for more of.

So tell me, whose work do you automatically go after? Do we share any favorite authors?