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Judging a Book by Its Cover

ClassicPenguin200The old adage, you can't judge a book by its cover, may be true but that doesn't mean a striking design won't go a long way in getting that volume picked up in the first place or given a choice spot on a bookshelf where it can be admired regularly.

Last month a new book came out, Classic Penguin: Cover to Cover, celebrating the innovative design of Penguin Classics, a division of books that began in 1946 and which you would likely recognize from the little penguin icon on the covers and spines. Beautiful, strange, dark, simple, and abstract--the covers you'll find in the book run the gamut of styles and creativity. Below are some of my favorites:



Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

The creation of this cover apparently involved going down a few rabbit holes...I am particularly fond of the classic scenery crossed with the surreal.





The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri

In this triptych Inferno is the most striking image, matching the intensity of that particular chapter.  Keeping the colors to only black-white-red works really well here, gets the feel of the book across without resorting to anything really evil looking...



The Master & Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

According to Classic Penguin: Cover to Cover, Creative Director Paul Buckley loved this piece so much that he purchased it from illustrator and tattoo artist C.C. Askew. I can see why...



Fear of Flying by Erica Jong

Author Erica Jong says of this cover, "I was absolutely delighted." "It is sexy without being vulgar."   This is definitely one of the more provocative covers I've seen in a while and graphic in the best sense of the word by way of the striking red and cream color scheme.




Sherlock Holmes: The Novels by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Steering away from the usual deerstalker hat and pipe, illustrator Adam Simpson not only created a scene straight out of 1890s London, but he includes little gems tucked in on this wraparound cover that depict an iconic scene from each of the four stories contained within...  Most of the Sherlock Holmes covers I've seen have been very sparse, and I love the detail and activity of this cover.  Sherlock Holmes, out and about.




Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

A is for Austen...The first book in a gorgeous series of 26 titles that includes titles as varied as (D is for) Charles Dickens' Great Expectations to (T is for) Amy Tan's Joy Luck Club.  If there is ever a series to make a book lover itch to have them all, it's this one...





Othello by William Shakespeare

A serendipitous turn of events resulted in a very modern and original approach to the works of Willie S.  These are the freshest and most appealing Shakespeare covers I've personally ever seen.  I might've kept my copy of A Midsummer Night's Dream and Romeo and Juliet from college if they'd looked like these...



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