Author Topic: Really dreadful book covers  (Read 17719 times)

Really dreadful book covers
« on: June 08, 2011, 11:43:49 AM »
James Joyce's oeuvre really suffered when it was reprinted under the Flamingo Modern Classics/Paladin banner in the mid-nineties. a combination of horribly inappropriate artwork and truly hideous design choices. Believe it or not, there was once an edition of Dubliners that looked like this:



I think the worst thing about it is it's so...slapdash. It looks like they cut round the artwork with safety scissors. Surely Joyce deserved a bit more effort than this?

Here's another one, which seems to've been mistakenly attributed to someone called "James James Joyce Joyce"



And if that wasn't bad enough, they were at it again with The Third Policeman!



The painting on it's own might not be too bad, but check out that ker-aaaaay-zeeee font! Oh ho, we're in for some wacky times ahead!!! The icing on the cake is the logo just slapped in carelessly near the bottom there, in a way that smacks of artlessness.

This one I'm including because of it's total lazyness. I mean really, they couldn't do any better than a stock photo of Chapman against a bright pink background? And fuck Eric Idle, frankly.


Retinend

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Re: Really dreadful book covers
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2011, 02:13:54 PM »
I prefer paperbacks to hardbacks because I think cover art is an important element of a book, even though it's only packaging.

I have a problem with this publisher 'Vintage' who use this vector style of artwork for old novels, though I admit they're not horribly designed if you like that kind of thing:



I've never read an Austen but these just reinforce my prejudice that they're long boring books about women in pretty dresses and broken-hearted toffs - they are literally dressed as wallpaper. Their faces are pure, (just) off-white shapes without any character. They do things like look out of windows wistfully.

I really like the old penguin tradition of pairing older books with artwork from the era, especially when the link isn't immediate. When you're bored and you flick back to the cover you can almost always find something appropriate in them - some little element that has a harmony with the mood of what's inside. Also, looking at something composed and complex for a little while is a nice break from reading. If you closed the leaves over your thumb to see those Joyce covers it would make it hard to take the contents seriously. Penguin modern classics are pretty crap looking since they got rid of the big silver bars on the bottom:





My aunt buys our family the Booker Prize nominations gift-pack most years. Though I appreciate it, the covers are all so dull that I'm hardly ever compelled to pick them up. That probably makes me shallow but if I'm sticking with a novel of unknown value for 4-8 hours then I want to have something compelling on the front.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2011, 02:43:32 PM by Retinend »

Re: Really dreadful book covers
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2011, 01:16:53 PM »

I've never read an Austen but these just reinforce my prejudice that they're long boring books about women in pretty dresses and broken-hearted toffs - they are literally dressed as wallpaper. Their faces are pure, (just) off-white shapes without any character. They do things like look out of windows wistfully.


Austen books generally are about women in pretty dresses and/or broken-hearted toffs but that doesn't stop them being razor-sharp comic brilliance.

Re: Really dreadful book covers
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2011, 04:48:15 PM »
This one's turned up on a few websites:


Just bizarre.

Wet Blanket

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Re: Really dreadful book covers
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2011, 05:56:25 PM »
This is the shittest wrapping to one of the best books I have ever read. The painting itself is marvellous, so why the godawful massive gold block? And that font, like a digital clock, makes it look like a spinoff from '24' or a work of science fiction, both things it isn't.


CaledonianGonzo

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Re: Really dreadful book covers
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2011, 09:46:38 PM »


Is awful.  As is:


Funcrusher

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Re: Really dreadful book covers
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2011, 10:15:51 PM »
The last but one versions of John Le Carre's novels are bloody awful - they look like chick lit. Noticed the other day that they've all been redesigned, so clearly someone saw sense.

http://images.contentreserve.com/ImageType-100/1531-1/%7B2664683D-41C9-449B-A460-6E0E854AA7AE%7DImg100.jpg


gmoney

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Re: Really dreadful book covers
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2011, 10:54:37 PM »


My brother reckons it's very good.

EDIT: The book that is, not the cover.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2011, 11:24:55 PM by gmoney »

Re: Really dreadful book covers
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2011, 11:41:57 PM »
This is probably the worst cover on my shelves:



& this used to be the best cover, now made mystifying by new technology




Re: Really dreadful book covers
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2011, 02:29:17 PM »
Off on a bit of a tangent but I've always thought that this...


...was a really lovely cover for one of my favourite books.

I had a look on Amazon to see if there were any shoddy inappropriate covers to laugh at and came across this...

What the fuck! Are you allowed to just copy a title from another book, a recognised classic, and just peddle a load of old shit on the back of it. I don't understand. You'd think someone at the publishers would have told Bertrand 'E' Brown that there's already a book called The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter and perhaps he should go away and think of a title for himself. Prick. I hate him.

Pan did some godawful covers for their Steinbecks.


CaledonianGonzo

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Re: Really dreadful book covers
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2011, 02:42:32 PM »
Heh - those were the Steinbeck covers my parents had.  This one too:


Re: Really dreadful book covers
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2011, 02:45:22 PM »
The Beat writers seem to come off particularly badly. When I first read Charles Bukowski, Black Sparrow Press were doing some beautifully designed editions, obviously made with such love and care. Nowadays you get tosh like this.


Jack Kerouac doesn't get much better either.

chocolateboy

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Re: Really dreadful book covers
« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2011, 02:55:58 PM »
♫♪ It's so elegant, so intelligent ♫♪



FUCKING HELL, GENTLE READER!



Retinend

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Re: Really dreadful book covers
« Reply #14 on: June 24, 2011, 01:13:23 PM »
Off on a bit of a tangent but I've always thought that this...


...was a really lovely cover for one of my favourite books.

Thanks for the reccommendation! I flashed through it in two days and it's now one of my favourite books too. It's pretty funny how in the 'unofficial' THIALH the title on first glance seems appropriaty seductive-sounding ("hunter") but then you actually read the title and it's not a very sexy statement to make at all.

btw I reccommend E.L. Doctorow's 'Ragtime' which is similar in style and takes part in pre-WWI New York, rather than the South pre-WWII. I thought it was an eerie comparison in parts.

Re: Really dreadful book covers
« Reply #15 on: June 24, 2011, 11:25:27 PM »
Just had a look at that on Amazon and it sounds really good. Yoink!

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Re: Really dreadful book covers
« Reply #16 on: June 25, 2011, 07:10:24 AM »
You're right holyzombiejesus, but I will do a yoink at the local library later. Bloody hell, there's a lot of good books to read.

Re: Really dreadful book covers
« Reply #17 on: June 25, 2011, 07:39:06 AM »


Ballard must have cut the chapter where a giant topless woman blows up the building...

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Re: Really dreadful book covers
« Reply #18 on: June 25, 2011, 10:41:58 AM »
Makes me want to read it!

Retinend

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Re: Really dreadful book covers
« Reply #19 on: June 25, 2011, 12:19:46 PM »
Just had a look at that on Amazon and it sounds really good. Yoink!
You're right holyzombiejesus, but I will do a yoink at the local library later.

Sweet! I should qualify that by 'similiar in style' I don't mean 'similar in atmosphere', although there are some moments just as heartbreaking in 'Ragtime'.

Pepotamo1985

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Re: Really dreadful book covers
« Reply #20 on: June 26, 2011, 07:37:44 AM »
Ballard must have cut the chapter where a giant topless woman blows up the building...

Fair enough, it's not a particularly great cover, but Shoulders is right. I'd probably buy it on the basis of the cover alone, perplexed as to its contents.

The new one isn't good either...

Re: Really dreadful book covers
« Reply #21 on: June 26, 2011, 07:25:44 PM »
Fair enough. I just thought it was a good example of a cover completely misrepresenting the book. But you're right that the new one isn't much better, or representative:



Bring back the booby, boomy version!

The Cloud of Unknowing

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Re: Really dreadful book covers
« Reply #22 on: June 28, 2011, 01:38:01 AM »


If Amis had been alive when that edition was published he'd have kicked the artist's cunt clean off.

daf

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Re: Really dreadful book covers
« Reply #23 on: February 22, 2013, 05:11:41 PM »
Thomas Hardy 'Wessex Tales'

A collection of tales about marriage, grammar, class status, how men and women were viewed, and medical diseases set in the 1840's?

Ah yes, this'll do :



daf

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Re: Really dreadful book covers
« Reply #24 on: February 22, 2013, 05:16:40 PM »
Here's another.


Re: Really dreadful book covers
« Reply #25 on: February 22, 2013, 05:32:48 PM »
This particular publisher does a great line in weirdly inappropriate and cheap-looking covers:












Re: Really dreadful book covers
« Reply #26 on: February 22, 2013, 05:56:30 PM »
I was never happy with the art direction that Houllebecq's books have in the UK. They mostly, with the exception of The Map and The Territory, look like books for grubby teenage boys.

Compare and contrast:

UK version


US (retitled) version

pigamus

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Re: Really dreadful book covers
« Reply #27 on: February 22, 2013, 06:00:06 PM »

>>>>What the fuck! Are you allowed to just copy a title from another book, a recognised classic, and just peddle a load of old shit on the back of it. I don't understand.


Believe it or not, yes. There's no copyright on titles.



billtheburger

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Re: Really dreadful book covers
« Reply #28 on: February 22, 2013, 07:14:41 PM »
Here is an Urdu one from my bookshop:


& here is a very distasteful Pushtu one:

mothman

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Re: Really dreadful book covers
« Reply #29 on: February 22, 2013, 10:29:28 PM »
So, judging a book by its cover, we have Bono attempting to absolve Patsy Palmer of the sin of stealing a magnifying glass?!

. . . Can you get that on Kindle?