Thursday, February 12, 2009

Weekly Geeks 2009-5: Judge a Book By Its Cover

Weekly Geeks
This week it's all about judging books by their covers! Pick a book--any book, really--and search out multiple book cover images for that book. They could span a decade or two (or more)...Or they could span several countries. Which cover is your favorite? Which one is your least favorite? Which one best 'captures' what the book is about?

I had a tough time deciding which book to choose, but finally settled on one of my favorite reads from last year, The Ruby in the Smoke by Phillip Pullman. I thought this was a fitting choice since it's one of the few books that I own multiple copies of -- and the reason for that is I couldn't decide which cover I liked better.

This is the cover of one of my copies, the most recent mass market paperback. I love the simplicity -- just three colors but it works beautifully.

The cover of the new trade paperback. I own this one as well. I like that this has a bit more color, but definitely emphasizes the red to go along with the title. I also like the Victorian style lettering at the top.

An older paperback cover. This is probably my least favorite. I don't care for the purple and too many scenes are represented. Less is more; there's just too much going on here.

This cover is wonderfully Victorian, but would you know that the book's central character is a young woman just by looking at this one? I'm guessing that you would not. I see this cover and think "Victorian Fight Club" -- not necessarily a bad thing, but not very representative of the book.

Generally, I'm not fond of movie tie-in covers. If I'm purchasing a book that has a movie tie-in cover, 99% of the time I will try to hunt down a copy with the original cover, even if the original is more expensive. However, I really like the BBC tie-in cover that features Billie Piper, who starred as Sally Lockhart in the BBC's adaptations of Ruby in the Smoke and The Shadow in the North. (Of interest to Doctor Who fans: Matt Smith, the actor selected to play the Eleventh Doctor, gives an excellent performance in both of these films.)

Finally, we have a German cover of Der Rubin im Rauch. This is another that doesn't really capture the title, but it is nicely atmospheric. I love the lamppost and the fog.

Which one of these do you like the most? If you've read the book, which one do you think captures it best?


  1. I think the second cover is my favorite.

  2. Although, I have yet to read this book, I agree that it should capture the essence of the story and not be diseptive. I like the first one, as the simple colors do enough to take a first look.

  3. I've never read this but I think I like the first one the most.

  4. I really like the first one. Even though it tells us very little about the story, it's very attractive and draws you in. Number 3 looks like it could be the cover of a trashy romance novel if only it had a bodice ripping scene in there!

  5. Great post! I love comparing the different covers. I have yet to read this book, but I really enjoyed the film version of "Ruby" (and was THRILLED when it was announced that Matt Smith is going to be the new Doctor Who!). I didn't like the film version of "Shadow in the North" as much - thought it dragged in comparison to its predecessor.

  6. I haven't read it, but I like the first and second ones. The purple one looks like it should be a romance novel!

    And I totally agree with you about searching out the non-mvie tie-in!

  7. I love the first one. It's simple yet effective. I've kind of got a thing for black and red, too, so black and red covers always catch my eye.

  8. I have not read te book , but the first two covers look nice and so does the German one.. it gives the impression of a mystery somehow :)
    I usually don't like the movie tie in covers either! here is no exception :)

    I passed by to tell you I tagged you, hope you don't mind.. check it out here..

  9. I read the Victorian Fight Club version LOL! I think the second one probably captures it best... that purple one is hideous! How old is this book?! Certainly not THAT old.

  10. I didn't realize this book had so many covers! It's one of my favorite YA books, I think I read it first with the purple cover, so I'm glad they came up with some better ones :)

  11. Just in terms of looks, and not relevence to the book, I like the first and last ones best. Yeah, the Fight Club version is way off, maybe hoping to attract a male audience (won't they be surprised!)