Monday, March 26, 2018

Judge a Book By Its Cover

Over the weekend I was looking for a book that fit my mood, and I was considering a re-read of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. I listened to it at the end of 2017 and gave it four stars, but I've been thinking that it really is a book that deserves a slower and more thoughtful listen. I'm not sure I really plumbed the depths of Eleanor and her story the first time.

While I was searching, I came across three versions of the book and was struck by how much the covers differ, and what each cover conveys to me.

Hardcover, May 2017, Viking

Paperback, May 2017, Viking

Paperback, May 2017, Harper Collins

There are also some interesting foreign language editions.

In the end, it was these two editions that convinced me a re-read was in order. I read the book only three months ago, but embarrassingly enough, I can't remember a thing about jaguars or flamingos. Clearly they figure into the story somehow because they're featured prominently on several covers.

Covers are important to me as I think they can reveal quite a bit about what is inside and set the tone before you even open the book. I started reading the Harry Potter series with the UK edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, cover art by Thomas Taylor. While I like the US covers illustrated by Mary GrandPré, they always feel a bit like second best to me. When I re-read The Shell Seekers, it is always the beautiful 1989 floral hardcover version.

So right or wrong, I do judge a book by its cover. (And I changed the artwork on the Eleanor Oliphant file in itunes to the Harper Collins paperback cover above. I think it's genius!)


  1. Interesting post, I like how you showed the various choices for covers - they really do convey different feelings and expectations.

  2. I most definitely choose books based on their covers! I noticed that you and Kat had shelved different versions of Eleanor - and I'm fascinated to learn the backstory - thank you for sharing!

  3. I'm always intrigued by the various cover-versions of books! Fascinating. :-)
    I've committed to reading slower this year -- fewer books, more savoring. So far, I like the slowing down! (And Eleanor Oliphant is definitely worth a slow, savoring, second read.) XO

  4. I love book covers - they are the first thing that draws me to a book! And, this post has caused me to go back and look at the different versions of Eleanor! Thank you!

  5. Me too! I definitely judge books by their covers (and wine by labels - lol). I loved seeing all the various covers. This is on my list to read (and on my nightstand)...but a new one (The Immortalists) just came through on overdrive...reading that first.

  6. I try not to let covers to influence me, though some do such as romance covers with long-haired men and swooning females - I am turned off in a second. (. . . disclosure, I rarely read them.) On Goodreads I do note the exact book edition and it is amazing what is out there.
    “Eleanor Oliphant” does deserve another look-at, but when does it get fit in with all the other ones I want to read a second time? Ha, I think I am fooling myself to believe I will read all those when I am older. 🙄

    1. I agree, I'm not enticed by bodice-ripper covers either! I've got loads of books in my TBR pile, but I think I was in too much of a rush to get to them that I didn't read Eleanor carefully enough. I'm just going to make time for a re-read and other books will have to wait! :-)

  7. I worked as a therapist for a good part of my career and I found Eleanor Oliphant to be such a deeply moving story, she reminded me so much of some of my clients. Thank you for sharing these covers, I like how they convey different aspects of the story.

  8. I am definitely influenced by the book cover! That variety is amazing...

  9. This is a great post! And I've had Eleanor on my list but she's now risen to the top!

  10. So often I find the UK covers are more interesting than their American counterparts. I haven't read Eleanor but I am attracted to the more tropical covers. Eleanor is high on my TBR list!

  11. I do judge books somewhat by their covers, but not as much as I did in the past. I read a lot on my Kindle, so the covers are often not seen. I certainly do remember the original Shell Seekers cover. I love that cover! I don't really care if they have anything to do with the book. I will have to look up Eleanor. I just finished The Great Alone, and I recommend it. I think all books about living in Alaska are fascinating. Not something I would want to do, but nevertheless fascinating.

  12. My edition of Eleanor had the first cover. Funny . . . I don't remember jaguars and flamingos either. I loved the book.

  13. many of my impulse buys in a bookstore or a book sale is the cover art :) I want to read that book but so far I haven't picked it up yet on goodreads (on a sale) or at the store. I could borrow it, but then I would be on a time restraint...ugh!


Thank you for visiting and taking the time to comment! :-)