I always judge a book by its cover

I thought this post was going to be about celebrating the beauty of paper cut and die cut style book covers.  However as I started writing it I realised that all of the books I was looking at may have nodded towards this style but more obvious was their colour – or as some might say – the lack of it.

It wasn’t until I started teaching at the current school I am in 2 1/2 years ago that I realised my wardrobe had been painted one night by the colours red, white and black.  Students who I’d never even taught were coming up to me and stating ‘your favourite colour is red and black’ (yes they do leave out the plural of ‘colour’ usually); the white always seems to be a given.

And I realised that my colour choices, conciously or unconciously, have been influencing my choices in almost everything.  It’s apparent through the way that my partner and I choose the decor in our flat, the presents I have bought for me and, it seems, the books I sometimes choose to read:

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Night-Circus-UK-cover The-Night-Circus

I remember seeing this book (the UK design on the left) cover in my local Waterstones and wanting to immediately place my cash down on the counter and run away with it.  Not only was it in a colour palette I don almost every day of the year but it was about a circus!  I’m not sure why I didn’t buy it when I first saw it.  My shelves are heaving with books and I probably figured that I didn’t need another to read.  Or it could have been that it looked TOO similar to a book inspired by The Dresden Dolls – one of my favourite ever bands.  I know what some of the fans of Ms Palmer and Mr Viglione are like and the idea of reading fiction inspired by them wasn’t something I wanted to indulge in {of course after reading the book and reading about the author I realised that she is, indeed a fan, but definitely not to the detriment of her writing – and yes I do realise how awful that sounds.  I have tried to rephrase it in many other ways but I’m nothing if not honest and what I essentially didn’t want to read was a book that seemed full of veiled DD references and song lyrics}. Following a drink with my ex-husband one night he told me about this book I should read.  He assured me that as soon as he started reading The Night Circus he knew I’d love it.  I told him why I’d avoided it and he said that I should read it.  I’ve always trusted him on his recommendations so  I bought it the next day and devoured it.

As far as I can work out Erin Morgenstern designed the cover herself – oh how I hate her!  A compelling author and a stunning artist.

I don’t hate her I am just green with envy.

My ex’s recommendation was based on my love of this book:

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norell – Susanna Clarke

41NOmkjmCxL._SL500_SS500_ jslg 200px-Jonathan_strange_and_mr_norrell_cover

I was so excited to take down this tome from the bookshelf in the shop.  I was immediately drawn to the matte cream paper, the simple cover and the silhouette of the raven.  The monochromatic scheme and the size of the book meant that there had to be so many treasures inside that to reveal them all on the cover would have ruined it.  I had to wait for a 4 week sojourn in my ex-in-laws house in the South of France before I could read it – it’s not a book for carrying with my marking to and from work.

Since those days I’ve read the book again twice.  I bought the red covered paperback a year later and fell into it’s magical realm again.  However it took me much longer that the 6 days it took in France a year earlier simply because of its weight.

A few years later and my new beau bought me a copy from a charity shop.  He proceeded to pull it into three parts.  Not being the novel lover that I am I was shocked at this destruction of this book but it did mean – that  I could carry a ‘normal sized novel’ to and from work with me to yet again follow this tale.  Perfect.  No doubt I will purchase it again for my Kindle so I can have an even more portable version for the next time I want to read it.

My final choice for this ever-changing blog entry is:

The Book of Lost Things – John Connolly

the_book_of_lost_things robryan03

Like The Night Circus this book not only indulges my love for black, white and red {with a bit of grey which never goes amiss} but also uses a stunning paper cut design by Robert Ryan.

Now, I haven’t read this book, yet.

It’s been sitting on my shelves for ages and again, I have no idea why.  The only reason I can think of is fear.  Fear that it’s not going to live up to expectations.  That the entangled leaves, brambles and keys will not hold me to it as the cover promises.

There is nothing worse that a book not living up to their cover.


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