Category Archives: Covered

Covered: “It’s hard to tell with the sun in my eyes but I think I’m wearing skinny jeans.”

Earlier this year Betsy Bird (A Fuse #8 Production) published a post about works of historical fiction with covers that imply a modern setting in the name of shelf appeal. In the post, Bird mentions the most infamous example in recent memory, that of The Romeo and Juliet Code. The book caused a fair share of controversy in the blogosphere due to its anachronistic cover. The smoking gun? A pair of colored Chucks, which, although stylish, were not produced until a good twenty years after the novel is set.

Fast-forward to the present day.

The scene: dusk, a dwelling in a Midwestern university town.

A librarian settles down with an e-galley of the latest Cristina García book for young adults, Dreams of Significant Girls.* A story about unexpected friendships at a posh summer camp in 1970s Switzerland, she thinks as the file loads. This has potential! Then her eyes widen as she sees the cover up close for the first time. Are those…skinny jeans?

Outside of repeated viewings of Mary Tyler Moore I don’t know know a great deal about 1970s fashion so please, correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think skinny jeans, long untucked shirts, and hoodies were popular in the early 1970s. But if you tell me that these girls are so rich that they are that on trend, thirty-some years early, I’ll believe you.

Oh, I kid. So what if a marketing person took a tasteful stock photo and passed it off as historical? (At least these girls get to keep their heads, unlike the much-maligned Sarah Dessen and Maureen Johnson heroines.) It’s a pretty, eye catching cover and I think it’ll encourage people to pluck it off the shelves. And, since I’m really enjoying the book so far, I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

Anachronism for good? I vote yes.

* Forthcoming July 2011, thanks Simon & Schuster Galley Grab!

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Lemony Snicket Re-designed for Adults

Did you know that the Harry Potter books were re-released with serious covers marketed toward adults? Apparently some grown-ups aren’t keen to be caught reading children’s literature. As if. Using this marketing opportunity as his inspiration, graphic designer Matt Roeser (New Cover) designed several (hypothetical) revamp covers for another popular children’s series: Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events.

What say you?

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Covered: We Have Always Lived In The Castle

Shirley Jackson fans, raise your hand. Or better yet, make a spooky sound.

There’s a certain beauty to well done genre fiction covers isn’t there? (And the bad are at least good for a chuckle.) If you ever attend Friends of the Library book sales (or the like) make sure to visit the genre fiction section. It’s fun to get in touch with your dramatic side every once and a while.

Anyone who follows my Goodreads queue will notice I’ve been in a horror/suspense place lately. I can’t really explain why. Maybe I’m nostalgic for my adolescent Fear Street binges. Whatever the reason, given my current reading mood, I decided it’s time I read something by Shirley Jackson. I saw The Haunting (the original, naturalment) a few years back at a film festival and loved it, although I’ll admit my walk home in the dark afterward, though a neighborhood of historic homes, was a bit touch and go. But I made it to safety and quickly added Jackson to my “to read” list.

I stopped by the Dawn Treader Book Shop (a used bookstore with an excellent genre collection) on my way home from work on Friday in hopes of finding an old copy of We Have Always Lived in the Castle. I knew a spooky old retro cover would add to the experience. The Dawn Treader didn’t let me down. They had quite a selection to choose from – and all of them delightful. I was so impressed by the variety of covers available, I thought I’d share them with you. Always interesting to see how a story’s contents are represented over time.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle was originally published in 1962. Here is the cover from the first edition.

Credit: Amazon

The 1966 mass market edition. (This is the edition I purchased. Doesn’t the girl look like she belongs in The Grudge?)

Credit: Amazon

An edition from the 1970s.

Credit: Amazon (user David Rolfe)

Late 70s/early 80s?

Credit: Amazon

The 1984 edition.

Credit: Amazon

The 2006 edition.

Credit: Amazon

The 2009 edition.

Credit: Stuck In A Book (blog)

2010 audio cover. (This one frightens me most of all.)

Credit: Amazon

Which one’s your favorite?

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