Judging the Cover of My Books

Posted on April 11, 2022

There is no one in the world that doesn’t judge a book by its cover. One of my fellow bloggers even wrote her blog on how to choose a book you may like by looking at its cover! When there are tons of books on the shelf to select from in a book store, the book cover or even its spine can help it catch your attention and lure you to take it off the shelf and all the way to your home sweet home. With that being said, let’s judge the cover of some of the books that have come home with me and rate them out of 5 stars! (aka exposing my taste in books) All photos are taken by me!

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller - cover designed by Allison Saltzman

First up, we have one of my favourite books of all time – The Song of Achilles, a book that has kept me up at 5 o’clock in the morning, sobbing, weeping, and hugging the book in my bed. The content inside the book is phenomenal and magnificent BUT the cover of the edition is sadly not my favourite. It does include lots of elements that give us Greek mythology vibes like the golden helmet that takes up most spaces on the cover, the font choice of the title, and the subtle pattern in the background. It does a good job of hinting at the fact the book is a retelling of the Greek mythological hero Achilles. However, there isn’t an illustration that is specific to the story. For example, those of you who have read the book will know figs and a lyre are some of the important objects in the story. For me including objects that are specific to the story in the cover design can really attract me to the book, making me think what is the significance of them. Another thing I don’t really like about the cover is the fake circular sticker. I think it is kind of a distraction. With all that being said, I’m gonna give it a solid 3 out of 5⭐️.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz - designed by Chloë Foglia

Next is also a book that I have read. Ari and Dante is a coming-of-age story about the relationship between two boys of Mexican background. It is a very heartwarming story and it includes everyone’s favourite trope – the friends-to-lover trope. Let’s talk about what I like about the cover first. It clearly shows that the story represents the Latino community through all the beautiful patterns and illustrations surrounding the title and the font also gives a magical feeling to it. There is also the illustration of an activity that the specific and meaningful to the story – Ari and Dante driving to a vast space to look at the stars. However, to me, this cover seems to be a bit messy. There is the font of the title has lots of tails at the end of some of the letters and there is also a rather realistic illustration of the grassland and the red truck at the bottom. And to add to the messiness, it has not only one but FOUR fake circular stickers on the right side of the cover, blocking the beautiful patterns. There seems to be a bit too much information to take in from this cover so I will rate it 3.5 out of 5⭐️. 

This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone - designed by Greg Stadnyk

Moving on to the next one. It is a book that I haven’t read yet so I’ll be rating the cover based on the knowledge I gained from the blurb. This book is a science-fiction written in collaboration between two authors. The first thing that catches my eye right away is the colour dichotomy of the birds and the authors’ names. It is clearly shown that there are two teams in the story and they are in a war opposing each other but as the title suggests, it is not merely a military war but a time war. The cutting off of the birds also gives it a sci-fi twist to it – despite the allusion to nature, there will be elements of futuristic technology. The serif typeface also gives a majestic and serious feeling to it, again echoing the story about a war. This cover design is much more simplistic than that of the two previous books we have rated but it is still able to give us a sense of what the book will be about. The only thing about this cover that doesn’t sit right with me is that it is slightly trimmed on the right side, revealing the first page. I notice that it has been quite a common thing for cover designers to do recently but to me, it just makes me feel weird when I am holding the book in my hand and flipping through it. BUT they quoted Madeline Miller, the author of my favourite book, on the cover so best believe this book is coming home with me! Overall, I rate this cover a 4 out of 5⭐️. 

Memorial by Bryan Washington - designed by Alexis Farabaugh

The last book cover that we will be rating is Memorial and it is yet another book with a simpler cover design that I haven’t read yet. It is a funny story about the life of a married couple Benson, a Black daycare teacher, and Mike, a Japanese-American chef. The most eye-catching thing on this cover (except the real golden sticker that says “Signed Copy”) is the flag-like illustration of the plastic bag flying in the air, hoisted up by a pair of chopsticks. It is interesting because the whole illustration looks like someone is flying a white flag, suggesting surrender but at the same time such image is constructed by household items (chopsticks and the plastic bag). And to be specific, these are domestic items that are associated with East Asian culture. As a student from Hong Kong myself, I can pretty much say that we always use chopsticks and collect plastic grocery bags for future use. Besides the simple yet effective imagery, the san serif typeface of the words on the cover is also a really clever choice because it help suggests that the book will be a lighthearted read as the typeface usually gives a playful vibe to the whole design. So overall speaking, I have to give this cover a 5 out of 5⭐️!

Posted in Blog.

Coen is a first-year RTA Media Production student from Hong Kong who is passionate about films, music, books and anything creative… and coffee! He likes to write and is open to writing about anything. In his blog, you’ll most likely see him ranting about the last movie he saw, fanboying over Taylor Swift, maybe crying over The Song of Achilles, and many more… Oh! And also coffee. ;)