The Best Book Covers That Will Make Your Bookshelf Into A Work Of Art

April 9, 2018

|Ariel Rodriguez
best book covers

People who say they don't judge a book by its cover are lying.



When walking into a bookstore, how do you choose a title? Do you walk around looking at your favorite sections or do you immediately go straight for a particular author? I'm like a magpie, for me, it's all about the cover. The designs can be bright and bold or they can be simple and minimalist, what's important is how intriguing they are and if they make me want to start reading right then and there. I know we're not supposed to "judge a book by its cover" but then again, there are so many books out there to choose from, why not have interesting and beautiful reads? But don’t take my word for it, look at the list I’ve compiled for you and decide whether just by looking at the cover, you’ll want to own one of these titles.



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Stories remain gripping and never changing, but book covers are constantly evolving to suit our tastes and current moods.





Jon Ronson: Lost At Sea: The Jon Ronson Mysteries


This cover shows a man helplessly raising his arms as he's being squashed by a pile of documents. These files have been painstakingly pieced together to spell out the title of the work. Lost at Sea is a compilation of articles written by Ronson that detail all the characters and personalities he's met and interviewed. Each chapter is carefully put together in an effort to "explain human dysfunction in its various, colorful forms," according to Jesse Singal from The Boston Globe. So, it is no wonder the disjointed and colorful cover echoes this underlying thread.


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Kevin Brockmeier: The Brief History of the Dead


How many people have you met in life that appear empty inside? This particular cover was designed by Archie Ferguson and compliments perfectly the fantasy elements of the novel. The book tells the story of place called The City, which is inhabited by people who have died but are still remembered by the living. A haunting novel that explores loss, death, and the power of memory. After all, when we are forgotten by everyone is when we truly perish.



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Michael Skerker: An Ethics of Interrogation


Designed by Isaac Tobin, this cover is a celebration of minimalism. Its simplicity is deceptive, the swinging lightbulb is an iconic image in any good detective story and the perfect backdrop for this hair raising exploration of torture. While we see acts of interrogation carried out daily on our favorite shows and mentioned in the news, we never bother to question the moral implications. So as the lightbulb swings and shadows begin to encroach, Michael raises questions about the morality of keeping secrets and where our rights as citizens begin, and ultimately end.


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Toni Morrison: Burn This Book


Toni Morrison's title is powerful on its own and while the cover has changed a few times, the imperative is always the focal point. The published work is a compilation of essays about censorship, the persuading power of literature, and the title makes reference to the spy techniques used when passing down sensitive information.


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Kelly Link: Get in Trouble


This beautiful and detailed cover reminds us of Magritte's artistic vision where everything is turned upside down. The cover pays homage to the playful voice Kelly has developed throughout the years and has garnered her a great following of fans. The stories housed within this book are fantastical and always expanding the limits of our imagination.


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Ruth Hogan: The Keeper of Lost Things


We all need beautiful books and Hogan's The Keeper of Lost Things is a good place to start. Once you get over the beautiful roses and luscious leaves, you begin to pick out little items, from a piece of a puzzle and button, to a key and locket. Book covers such as this one hide little meanings that begin to take shape once you begin to read the stories.


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Jon Ronson: The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry


Designed by Alex Merto, this cover shows a torn cover that reveals another one underneath. The duality of the bunny and the cheetah is an allusion to the mental health industry and the serious personality disorder that is psychopathy.


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Howard Blum: American Lightining


I personally love this cover, at a first glance it looks like candle but it's a dynamite stick waiting to explode. Blum explores one of the most controversial crimes of the century, the bombing of the Los Angeles Times building, which resulted in over twenty casualties. As he sifts through the debris and destruction, Blum arrives to chilling and gripping conclusions that shed new light on the bombing.


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Book covers constantly evolve because either the publishing house wants to give them a fresh update or the film adaptation can attract more readers. No matter the reasons, book covers are the calling cards that create a mood once you pick them up. So, as you build your own personal library, your eyes will be drawn not only to those beautiful stories, but the works of art that encompass them.


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Check out these other book articles:


15 First Sentences From Classic Books That'll Convince You To Read Them

8 Bone-Chilling Books That Take You Inside The Twisted Mind Of A Serial Killer

5 Books With Female Protagonists You'll Love If You Hate Romances


Ariel Rodriguez

Ariel Rodriguez


Creative Writer
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