Hello! I am so excited to write this article, because it’s one I’ve been really looking forward to getting down onto paper (the screen) for a while, but have been simply too bogged down with essays.

A while back, I contributed to an article for the print version of Impact Magazine, the University of Nottingham’s magazine, about judging a book by its cover. We asked various people to tell us what they thought a book would be about, based only on the images on a cover, with the words blacked out. It was interesting to see how people viewed different novels, and it got me thinking: what do I like about a book cover? So I’ve picked out a few of my faves (click on photos to see photo credit links)…

Life on the Refrigerator Door

ImageI read this book on the way to France in year 11, and remember passing it down the bus and literally making my friends and teachers cry one by one. If you haven’t read it, you should, because it’s such an adorable little read you’ll devour in one, and who cares that it’s a teenage book afterall. And I think the cover remains a favourite because it’s so simple, and reminds me how clever the book itself is. Incidentally, one of those crying readers still has my copy!





Vintage 21 Series



Right guys, I’m sorry, but if you don’t think coloured book pages are just a little bit cool, then I’m not sure we can be friends. The covers are even that lovely paper that feels a little bit soft/furry, and I’m worried by how creepy that makes me sound. Anyway… I bought Trainspotting and The Woman in Black in this, read one page of Trainspotting and decided I just couldn’t read a book in Scottish dialect and shut it. But bloody hell, the orange looks fantastic on my bookcase, so frankly, I regret nothing.


J. G. Ballard Series


Apart from being one of my favourite writers, I think the newest printing of a number of his books is just fantastic. The stencil type design catches my eye everytime, and in the two times I’ve purchased his books for various literature modules, I’ve been a bit gutted when I’ve realised being a cheap skate and buying a cheaper used copy meant I got an uglier version! I was too pleased to receive Millenium People in this gorgeous design for my birthday. Anyway, these had to make the list, not only because the designs remind me a bit of Banksy, but there can be nothing better than matching books, surely?




This is by far my all-time favourite. A new re-issue, I can’t imagine a better way to re-dress an old classic. Browsing in Waterstone’s, I was drawn nearly halfway across the store to this beauty, because I just wondered ‘what kind of a book is that, it doesn’t even have a title?’ Only in some lights can you see the censored, embossed title, which for me – a lover of typography – is everything I ever want, as well as very appropriate given the book’s themes. If you haven’t read it, buy yourself a pretty copy, and if you have, usurp your old tatty one now.

So, there’s just a few of my favourite designs – what are yours, and why?


3 thoughts on “Let’s judge a book by its cover

  1. Pingback: A Book Addict’s Treasury | zoë ashton

  2. Pingback: Nineteen Eighty-Four | zoë ashton

  3. Pingback: Book Covers – October Favourite | zoë ashton

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