Thoughtful Thursday • Book Covers

Thoughtful Thursday

Thoughtful Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Reading Is Fun Again. This week:

What features do you like in a book cover?

Do you like plain covers? Do you like covers with drawings on them? Do you like covers with photographs on them? Do you like movie-tie in covers?


Alright, answering the easy question first!

Generally, I do not like movie-tie in covers. Even if I love a movie version to pieces, it tears at my heart when movie related covers happen. Like. Casting choices may be fab and all, but I still prefer to keep the actual book story in my head, without anyone, even the movie-tie in cover, telling me what a character should look like. Or a place. Or a thing. I find that it takes away the magic for me and puts me off a book, actually. Chances are that if there are movie-tie in covers to a book that I haven’t read yet, it’ll totally move down the list on my mental TBR and end up somewhere between school-assigned literature and textbooks about chemistry.

Now with that off my chest, let’s go into all the covers that I love. >.> Life is hard and I am a shallow cow who tends to pick books solely based on their covers, so I’ve got a vast array of HEY THIS IS PRETTY to choose from.

AND NOW TO THE THINGS I LIKE! Orphan Black. I like Orphan Black. You should all watch it.

Let’s just cry a little because when I started writing this post I was pretty sure I was going to be all “oh I prefer covers without people on them etc blah blah” and stuff like that. Well. Let’s just say I’m sitting here with my head in my hands, mortified at how well I respond to certain trends. But then again, I like lots of things!


For example, completely illustrated covers.

covers of 'Unspoken' by Sarah Rees Brennan, 'Shadow and Bone' by Leigh Bardugo, 'The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls' by Claire Legrand, 'Fangirl' by Rainbow Rowell, 'The Nightmare Affair' by Mindee Arnett

On Goodreads:
UnspokenShadow and BoneThe Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls
FangirlThe Nightmare Affair

Three of these are actually pretty similar as you can see. I’ve only read Shadow and Bone and The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls out of these and, uh, I won’t touch some of them, to be honest, but ugh they’re all so pretty????? The symbolism on Shadow and Bone with the antlers is wonderfully done and it looks so dark and mystifying! I love the mysteriousness that Unspoken and The Nightmare Affair play into, and I adore how simple they look despite being really intricate. I bet they’d look awesome in my bookshelf. >.> And then there’s Fangirl with the gorgeous cover drawn by Noelle Stevenson, whose art and comics are just so stunning. Just like the cover she illustrated!


Of course, because I am a shallow cow I love lots of things, not just drawn covers. In my search for examples of what I love, I realised just how drawn I am to blue covers. Oops?

covers of 'Miss Fortune Cookie' by Lauren Björkman, 'The Death of Bees' by Lisa O'Donnell, 'The Whispering Road' by Livi Michael, 'The Assassin's Curse' by Cassandra Rose Clarke, 'The Diviners' by Libba Bray, 'Cress' by Marissa Meyer, 'Lirael' by Garth Nix, 'Curtsies & Conspiracies' by Gail Carriger, 'The Ocean at the End of the Lane' by Neil Gaiman

On Goodreads:
Miss Fortune CookieThe Death of BeesThe Whispering Road
The Assassin’s CurseThe DivinersCressLirael
Curtsies & ConspiraciesThe Ocean at the End of the Lane

I genuinely hadn’t realised just how much blue covers call to me. Of course I would’ve read Curtsies & Conspiracies even if it had been brown or green or some kind of putrid yellow because it’s the second in a series that I love, but you know? The blue background? It’s gorgeous. I don’t know what it is about blues, but for me they make books look really refined, like they’re worth the money I’m spending on them, like they’re going to reveal really fascinating information. Wit and wisdom, you know. They’re just incredibly stimulating with the coolness they exude.


Of course it doesn’t have to be all blue! You know that trend with the red dresses? Yeah. That one works on me. Like a charm.

covers of 'The Elite' by Kiera Cass, 'The Girl in the Steel Corset' by Kady Cross, 'Supernaturally' by Kiersten White, 'Grave Mercy' by Robin LaFevers, 'Illuminate' by Aimee Agresti, 'Ruby Red' by Kerstin Gier, 'Scarlet' by Marissa Meyer, 'Clockwork Princess' by Cassandra Clare

On Goodreads:
The EliteThe Girl in the Steel CorsetSupernaturallyGrave Mercy
IlluminateRuby RedScarletClockwork Princess

So far I’ve only touched three of these – The Girl in the Steel Corset (which I DNFed), Scarlet (who doesn’t wear a red dress per se, but the red cloak still worked wonders on me) and Grave Mercy. Let me tell you that the cover was the only thing that mattered when I first saw Grave Mercy. Yeah. 10/10 would bang. I know it’s done to be eye-catching and heaven knows it works on me so well. I probably won’t touch at least two of the ones I haven’t read and the other three are sort of on my TBR, but boy those covers make me want to buy these books and stroke them lovingly. I find they’re so incredibly seductive to the eye. I don’t even know, but ladies wearing red is such a strong statement, one that exudes power and bravery, elegance and beauty. I’m just really into these covers, especially Clockwork Princess with the beautiful light effects.


Speaking of light effects, I also really love covers that look almost magical.

covers of 'The Peach Keeper' by Sarah Addison Allen, 'The Oracle Glass' by Judith Merkle Riley, 'The Ghost Bride' by Yangsze Choo, 'Lost Lake' by Sarah Addison Allen

On Goodreads:
The Peach KeeperThe Oracle GlassThe Ghost BrideLost Lake

They’re such simple effects but I really do adore the flowers and sparkles. Graphic sparkles, that is. No physical glitter sparkles for me, thank you very much. I haven’t read any of these but I know that Sarah Addison Allen’s books are very magical reads and her covers up there? They just feel right for her books. I don’t know what it is with this graphic effect but they make the books look soft, make the world they’re set in seem dreamy and wistful, which I think really adds to the reading experience.


What also adds to the reading experience is when books are about books and actually happen to have covers that imitate books.

covers of 'The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen' by Syrie James, 'Inkheart', 'Inkspell' and 'Inkdeath' by Cornelia Funke

On Goodreads:
The Lost Memoirs of Jane AustenInkheartInkspellInkdeath

I wasn’t particularly interested in the content when I bought The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen but the cover lured me in. It was just sitting there in the bookshop and basically urging me to buy it. I love the entire composition of it, the manuscript pages, the ribbon, the flowers… it’s a very good look altogether. Same goes for the German covers of Cornelia Funke’s Inkworld books. I love that they’re made up solely of initials and an open book or two. They’re very symbolic for the book too! The bird on Tintenherz (Inkheart) plays a role in the book, and I love the decorations that the initials carry. Just. It’s something different from the usual middle grade fiction covers, you know?


And speaking of different, something that is actually truly important to me when consciously selecting books: the title writing.

covers of 'Cinder' by Marissa Meyer, 'Siege and Storm' by Leigh Bardugo, 'Etiquette & Espionage' by Gail Carriger, 'Born Wicked' by Jessica Spotswood

On Goodreads:
CinderSiege and StormEtiquette & EspionageBorn Wicked

I’m going to be honest here: fonts can make it or break it. You cover can be super pretty and I might even still pick it up despite any issues I find with it if the summary sounds good, but I’m going to go into your book with a negative attitude if the title is fugly. Papyrus and the like should be outlawed, honestly. Which is why I love these particular covers. I love the swirls in the capitals of Marissa Meyer’s books, I love the sharp edges and curves of the Grisha series and the way the writing always is involved with whatever symbolism the rest of the cover is on about, I love the boldness of the Finishing School titles and the way the ampersand is weaved through the words and I love the simplicity and sort of enticing playfulness of the Born Wicked writing. Good font choices and title design can elevate a cover from good to excellent, and bad ones… well, really I don’t care if you paid for the image you used if your title looks like it was slapped on randomly like there was no time left.

I guess all in all I don’t quite have preferences so much as things that I am subconsciously drawn to and having thought about this deeply now I am actually surprised by how unbothered I am by models on a cover. I thought that I was one of the people who dislikes it because I really don’t like being told by a stupid book cover that the main character should look like this, but oddly enough unless it’s really jarring I don’t seem to mind.

(Not included in this post: Redheads. REDHEADS. >.>)


6 thoughts on “Thoughtful Thursday • Book Covers

  1. Just for fun, I once separated my books by cover color. Interestingly, yellow seems to be used least, but the ironic thing of course is that that color makes the most eye catching covers.

    • I’m not surprised by that. Off the top of my head I can only think of four yellow books I have (though incidentally I bought none of these because they were eye-catching, lol). I think yellow could be used more, not in the oppressive “I want to give you eye cancer” way, but it can be quite pleasing to the eye and as you say, it’s eye-catching. Which I think might be the most important thing in a bookshop or library. I’m not going to pull that book out of the shelf if it doesn’t catch my eye!

  2. At first I had things I wanted to point to and say “This is what I really like in a book cover!” But after reading your post, I’m just not sure! I even like movie-tie in covers – ONLY if I adored the movie and thought the casting was perfect. If it’s a pretty cover I will probably go for it, but it’s hard to define just what “pretty” is! But I think out of everything, the number one thing that appeals to me the most is simplicity – often just pretty text on a solid background will attract my eye. And I know I’m not really fond of books that have cartoon-like illustrations on it. (unless it’s for a children’s book…) This is such a difficult question! :)

    • It really is a difficult question, isn’t it?? I had a really hard time and eventually just checked my goodreads shelves (and Ren’s goodreads shelves) and looked for the covers I liked the most. It was really quite eye-opening because I hadn’t realised that I had a thing for blue books. I do agree with you about the cartoon-like illustrations. Now I love me some amazingly illustrated covers and if Noelle Stevenson were to illustrate all the book covers ever from now on I wouldn’t mind that at all, but I’ve also pondered over books and whether or not they should go on my TBR, but then decided against them due to their covers. (But then I am a cover whore and often pick books based solely on covers, so that’s not really surprising.)

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