Never judge a book by its cover. It’s quite probably one of the most famous phrases going. However, we all do it. I know I do. I see a book with a nice-looking cover and I immediately want to pick it up. So, today, I will be going over the book covers that have dazzled me, tempted me and lured me in this year.
Now, before I start, a couple of ground rules. These have to be books I have read this calendar. If I haven’t read the book in 2018, it won’t be making the list. Just felt like the best way to do this.
A Distant Mirror by Barbara Tuchman
Non-fiction, at least in my opinion, usually has reasonably dry front covers in comparison to fiction, but this one is really eye-catching. A modern take on medieval tapestry and art, the style blends the 14th century with today’s technology to make the colours pop out from the white background. Each image on the cover alludes to a major issue from the time period covered in the book, from the dancing skeletons and the Black Death, to the travelling knight turning his back on a disaster in relation to the crusades of the late medieval period.
The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
Now, I have to admit that I may be slightly cheating with this one: I haven’t finished this book yet. I can’t say I have read it as I am still reading it. However, I had to add it to the list. I love the front cover for this book! The colours are so bright and vibrant, making the title jump out and catch your eye, while the blue leaves seem to encapsulate the magical, fairy tale style of the book.
Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb
This book, for me at least, is why you should never judge a book by its cover. Unpopular opinion coming: I’m not a fan of this book. I just couldn’t get into it, maybe I’ll try again another time. However, I really like the cover. The opening lines of the book start in the style of a memoir or history, and I feel that this cover perfectly captures the sense of a medieval-inspired fantasy world’s book. I can almost imagine monks bent over their station and painstakingly painting the coat of arms and working on the calligraphy of the title.
Walking the Nile by Levison Wood
This photo, with its vast, endless sky that glows with the warmth of the desert’s sun, conjures up both the remoteness that Levison Wood must have felt as he traversed the course of the Nile on foot, as well as the enormity of the task he completed. A simple and minimalist cover that, despite the lack of detail, tells you everything you need to know before starting to read this book. I don’t know who took the photo (I really hope it is a photo now), but well done.
Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
Thor’s Hammer. What else was going to be on the cover of a book that collates the ancient and timeless tales of the Norse Gods? It’s the most iconic symbol of those tales, of the nine realms which make up the world tree: Yggdrasil. Its use on this cover, alongside the gold writing, are so simple and yet so effective. There are two versions of this cover- a black and a white one; I have the white version, but actually prefer the black version, where the writing jumps out more and it feels like Thor’s hammer is floating in the void of space.
A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin
The cover of this children’s classic promises magic, mystery and adventure. The mystical text, the shadowy form of a dragon, and the lone figure’s silhouette capture the essence of this book for me, whisking us away and into the world of Earthsea.