Cover to Cover

Those who know me, know that I am a person who loves a book with great content: tales, photographs, instructions or histories. If the content is engaging or informative, I am satisfied. But my guilty pleasure is a really amazing book cover. Call me superficial, but I often do judge books by their covers and I’ve been known to buy a book simply because the cover is so spectacular. The best examples of exceptional cover art are often found at flea markets and used book stores. Many older books have covers that are beautifully illustrated, embossed or embroidered and, frequently, the designs are irresistibly whimsical or campy. It may sound trite, but they rarely do make them like they used to. I’ve selected five book covers that I wish were in my collection. (If you see any of these, let me know immediately!) Is there a book cover that you find particularly enchanting?


by Andrew

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I have had good fortune reading books that captured my imagination with their covers. Notably, I was drawn to the cover of Marge Piercy’s stunning “Gone to Soldiers” (paperback version), a historical novel set during WWII… told from the perspective of women. I knew nothing about it, but that cover… She used black and white photos from the era; instead of all books carrying the same image, different photographs were featured (one per cover). I love Magnum-genre photography; this book captured my attention from thousands of others. “Gone to Soldiers” remains one of my favorite novels.

Susan Allen

These books can’t all be that old. I have seen two of them and I am only 61. I too, love beautiful books, regardless of the content. I do, however, usually get something out of them. Thanks for sharing.

Joan Barnes

I read Rachel Carson’s “The Sea Around us” back in 1952. I was living and working in Bermuda. I thought the prose was so wonderful it was like reading poetry. I loved that book and have re-read it a couple of times. I still have the original copy.


The effort that went into the covers of these old books is amazing. Have a two volume french books called ” The social and political life of insects and animals ” published in paris in 1842 that I found at a book sale in Provincetown that I treasure. The covers are what caught my eye but the illustrations are incredible .

Ken Newman

These are wonderful Andrew…here are a few of my favorites…

Masterpieces from Dore : 1887 edition
Done in the open : 1903 edition
The Emerald City of Oz : 1910 edition
Men of Iron : 1891 edition

Forgive my departure from the subject. This one isn’t a book, it’s an album cover but I love this design….
Under the Iron Sea : Keane 2006 United Kingdom