Covers too (WasRE: titles...)

McMullin, Elise mcmullea at
Tue Aug 3 11:46:01 EDT 1999

>Helen confessed:

>"I have the same thing but for the cover picture.  Some pictures just make me
>squirm and I have to pick a book up and try to decide if it is worth reading 
>despite the covers lack of appeal."
>"Other covers just draw the eye and my hand is reaching out to the book 
>before I realise what I'm doing.  For instance, Robin McInley's The Blue 
>Sword had such a compelling cover of a girl on a horse with a sword (and I'm 
a sucker for those) that I just had to buy it."

You aren't alone Helen  :)  I also *do* tend to judge a book by its
cover and sometimes the cover just has to be overcome.  And sometimes I
like the cover better than the book - I think of those Patricia Keneally
Morrison Celts-In-Space books.  Gorgeous covers but the actual books
turned out to not be my mug of java.  Still, I often pluck them from the
bookstore shelf before I realize that I have no interest in the

I don't know the name of that illustrator who does those wonderful
fantasy illustrations.  I've seen his/her work on the Year's Best
Fantasy & Sci-fi anthologies, the Keneally Morrison books, all over the
place.  The work is very High Fantasy.  And the cover for McKillip's
Book of Atrix Wolfe - that illustrator is another great one.  Deerskin
had a great cover.  I like the covers on Sean Stewart's and Kara
Dalkey's books too. And speaking of Dragonsong and Dragonsinger, my
paperbacks of those had beautiful illustrations - don't know if they
still have the same ones.  Dragonsinger had a slight girl with wavy
brown hair wearing a richly patterned robe standing in the window of a
grey keep.  Nice!

Tepid title and yick-covers can hinder but they won't stop, though.
Sometimes I get very finicky over the cover illustrations to dwj books,
but I know I'll be thrilled with the contents.  With dwj covers I often
feel like the illustration doesn't match my idea of the story - and yet
they are always accurate insofar as they depict characters and events
from the story.  I think I might prefer it if they showed a scene but no
characters on the cover - so there would be no dissonance with the
pictures in my mind.  Not sure though.  I thought the cover
illustrations to the new editions of Lives of Christopher Chant (and the
little Chrestomanci portrait they have on all the Chrestomanci books)
was really good - a really good flavorful Chrestomanci.  Unmistakably
Chrestomanci and none other.   It's just not the same person I had in
mind, exactly.

 But that's all looking the gift horse in the mouth. I'd seek them, buy
them and read them over and over even if the covers and titles were
repellant.  At least I know that if dwj had a book called Unicornia the
Horse Girl, with rainbows and shimmery sad-eyed sylphs on the front of
it, it would be a really amusing book.

On the other hand, I really love the cover to my copy of Archer's Goon,
showing the Goon hugely sitting in a chair having a snack and smirking
toward the unsuspecting potential reader.  That's a *great* cover which
does seem to capture the flavor that I get from the story.

And I'd rather see all dwj tales interpreted in all media than not!

But what of thinking of books where everything was consistent and
pleasing - story and title and cover?

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