Saturday, 3 December 2011

Book covers - art for story's sake

I don't usually buy different editions of books.  I'm happy with one good edition - normally. However, lately Penguin have begun really tempting me with new illustrated covers on their Penguin Deluxe Classics that are beguiling, intriguing, artistic, and totally fabulous.  Today I found at Books on the Ceiling blog two more covers of books that I really want:

Sense and Sensibility has this gorgeous pink cover with a tea cup.
 
Persuasion has this cover by the Audrey Niffenegger:  I love it too.


Then over at the Penguin site (I linked it above) there is this one for Pride and Prejudice, which I think is perfect:

and then just because it's gorgeous, here is Jane Eyre

 This cover of Wuthering Heights might make me dare to face the boring Catherine one more time - I read it for Heathcliff and the descriptions of the moors and the weather, NOT for Catherine.  I once yelled at her out loud I was so mad at her wimpy teary character.

This cover though, could tempt me.

So what about you?  Have you ever been tempted by covers?  Do you own multiple copies of a book simply because the covers were beautiful? I could really do with owning all of the above!!! They are so pretty, so moody, so interesting and lovely. I wonder if one or two might find their way into my Christmas box of books?

And why not dream over owning beautiful editions?  That's partly what makes books so irresistible - we can change the cover, and illustrate some part of the theme or text or character, differently than other editions do. I've often bought specific books over other editions because of the artwork on the cover. And then referred back to the cover often, to gaze at it while I mull over something I'm reading in the text. Covers are - can be - part of the experience of reading the book, when they are done right. I think that is one reason why I am against the kindle - I don't get that experience of the book from cover to cover, from seeing the front and letting it work it's way through my imagination while I read the story itself.  Artwork and storytelling build on one another, at least in books, or they ought to.  Even though the above covers are more representational than representing an actual scene in each of the texts, to my mind each of the covers instantly reminds me of the story in some way.  That's what great artwork on the front of a book can do.

So, are there any special editions you are dreaming of for Christmas?  Any covers you've seen recently that tempted you, or were irresistible?  Do you agree with me about covers, or could you care less, so long as the story inside is good?

14 comments:

Bybee said...

I love these covers! The Penguin one for Persuasion is perfect.

JaneGS said...

I have the Penguin P&P and both Brontes and would love the Persuasion and S&S, which are perfect. Penguin's new covers are superb. I'm not usually tempted by covers as I buy online and don't browse much, but these really are wonderful and worth updating my library to get :)

Susan said...

Bybee: Aren't they gorgeous! all day I've been thinking about them! lol

Jane: Aren't they though, worth adding to anyone's library? I really love these covers. It helps that I love the books even more. To have Persuasion in that lovely cover is a booklover's dream. *sigh* I can see a pre-Christmas 'must go in my box' spending moment coming! lol

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I'm loving these new covers, and though I try to resist, delightful covers such as these are often tempting.

Susan said...

Diane: Aren't they eye-catching and irresistible? :-D

Molly said...

While I believe the old adage that "you can't judge a book by its cover" I must confess that I have purchased many books based on the eye-catching appeal of the book jacket.

I rarely buy multiple copies of the same book - being like you and having one good edition suffice - but I do see the joy of owning multiple copies of a favorite book or series. The ones you showcase here are absolutely GORGEOUS and I just may have to revise my Christmas wish list :)

Susan said...

Molly: I know! I keep saying they are irresistible, and they are! I love the bright colours, and the design. These covers help show the book as a work of art, I think.

It's good to have you back!

omstreifer said...

I love these covers! And luckily there are several titles her I do not yet own ...

Chrisbookarama said...

I love those covers especially the Jane Eyre.

I really love the Penguin Classics clothbound covers. They are simple but pretty.

Nymeth said...

I love those covers! I'd seen them before, but I had no idea Persuasion was by Audrey Niffenegger. I actually just started that (for the first time, yes!) yesterday. I bet I'll appreciate it all the more when I'm done.

GeraniumCat said...

I fell absolutely head over heels for the Vintage cover of Iris Murdoch's Under the Net and want it very badly, but I don't have room for multiple editions! (I do have a couple...)

I admit that the Kindle doesn't feel the same as reading a lovely edition of a book, but it has been a godsend for me. It's got a whole shelf-full of books on it.

Susan said...

omstreifer: yes, it is lucky then, you can have your choice of what covers/editions you want to have!

chrisbookarama: yes, I've been looking at those too - I'm thinking of the right ones - they are the ones with the simple designs on the cover, like a repeating flower design, aren't they?

Nymeth: I'm a bit late with replying here, and I see that you have just posted about Persuasion today. I'm off to read what you wrote about one of the my favourite books. :-)

Geraniumcat: a lot of people have been discussing the pros and cons of the ebooks. You are the first one to mention that you have a virtual shelf of books, though! lol

and just because I feel like playing Devil's advocate here, I'd say - you know the cover of Under The Net that you love so much? you could always buy the book and send one of the other editions you currently own to the charity shops. Of course, if you're anything like me, our reading selves are tied up with editions too, so this might not be as easy as it sounds....lol

Trish said...

I admit that the cover of Wuthering Heights absolutely sold me on re-reading the book a few years ago. I love all of these covers but really like the Pride and Prejudice one.

Susan said...

Trish: I know! The covers could convince me to pick them up again, though these are books that I read every couple of years, especially the Jane Austens. Did you buy the Wuthering Heights Penguin book too, and read it?