Despite the stark advice to “never judge a book by its cover,” these book jackets call for a shameless double take with their creative and original designs.
1. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury:
The first of these covers is one of the coolest book concepts I’ve ever seen. Created with a striking pad on the binding, this publication of the text also includes a set of matches, reflecting the themes of the book in a very direct way.
The story takes place during a time when books are burned by “the firemen,” and extremely illegal to possess and/or read.
This cover design is extremely clever, but also very dark. By appealing to the reader’s sense of curiosity, the matches and striking pad reflect the inherent desire to create and destroy.
The second cover shows a paper man on fire, wiping his brow and beginning to keel over. The symbolism of the image embraces the same themes of creation, destruction and conforming to society. The man, assumed to be protagonist Guy Montag, represents the destruction of man through the destruction of the written word.
Without language we fall to ashes.
2. The Harry Potter companion books:
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander and Quidditch Through the Ages by Kennilworthy Whisp were both referenced as textbooks in the Harry Potter series.
Granted, the books are just as a fantastical as the series they stem from. But, what makes them magical are the notes and drawings within, supposedly created by Harry, Ron, Hermione and Malfoy during their time at school.
The books are pretty cool to read, but even cooler to look at. With the most recent addition of The Tales of Beedle the Bard, all three books are available here on Amazon for purchase as a set, or separately here (FBWTFT) (QTTA) (TOBTB).
3. Snuff by Chuck Palahniuk:
This racy read by famous Fight Club author tells the story of a woman who attempts to break the record for continuously-filmed porn movies.
This novel is definitely an acquired taste—pun intended—so approach with caution. Palahniuk covers the story from the narrative of the record breaker’s personal assistant while exposing the history of pornography and sexual deviance in America.
Like most of Palahnuik’s covers, this one is very thematic and expressive in both image and text use. The body of a sprawled woman drowns in inflated text and is consumed by shiny, pink lips.
The lips are too big, and the mouth is too open, representing the over-sexing of gender and stereotype through their hyperbolic size. The figure, and meaning, of the woman is lost in the abundance of sexuality, encapsulating the motifs of the novel.
4. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
The first time my seventh-grade self came across this book, it
terrified me. So much so, that I never picked up the text again.
Now, I’m not sure if that was the publisher’s intent, to completely scare off any new readers, but the cover definitely set the mood for the stories within.
The eerie and sparse use of color gives the photo a bloody look, making the image literally, and figuratively, drip fear. The face isn’t really human or animal, creating an amorphous monstrosity you would only see in your dreams.
Covers from other Scary Stories… books are equally as disconcerting, unsettling the reader before they even open the book.
Whether you pick this up for Halloween or just some light reading, you’re guaranteed a creepy experience from cover to cover.
- “Harry Potter” Gets Seven New Illustrated Covers (buzzfeed.com)
- Everything You Need To Know About J.K. Rowling’s “Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them,” The Basis For The New Harry Potter Movies (buzzfeed.com)
- The Harry Potter Books Are Getting New Covers (buzzfeed.com)