Good Book/Bad Cover

Hey folks, it's me again. Maughta's happy that I'm posting again. "Rock," was her reaction. Me, I'm just happy it's Winter Break and I've got a little free time on my hands again.

Tonight's edition features that relatively rare conjunction: "good book/bad cover."

Maughta's had folks clamor for her to post on this phenomenon, but has had a hard time finding fodder for such posts. (If you out there in readerland have come across any works of high literature encased in atrocious artwork, please tip us off to it, we'd be happy to put it on display!)

This afternoon Maughta and I took a trip out to Black Mountain, NC (about fifteen minutes east of here on I-40) and ended up having lunch downtown and wandering through a few of the kitschy high-priced artsy-fartsy shops that cater mostly to rich New Englanders, with which downtown Black Mountain is infested. At the end of our wandering we found ourselves in Black Mountain Books, a nice, well-kept bookstoore with a very nice collection of classic fiction.

It was there that I came across the following image, adorning one of my favorite author's classics:

This edition is from the Time Reading Program Special Edition, put out by Time-Life Books in 1980. Time-Life, awash with malaise and still stung by skyrocketing distribution costs brought about by the oil crisis, was a little strapped for cash and turned to the nation's elementary schools to staff its graphic design department.

I think the powerful pencil strokes are meant to connote a dynamic sense of motion...the end result is more that of motion-sickness and confusion. I can't figure out how the two baseball players are related to one another spatially. (If you didn't know the book was about baseball, would you be able to tell what in the hell is going on here?)

Meanwhile, Glenn Close lurks in the background, carrying the disembodied head of Robert Duvall under her arm.

Yeah, that's it.

Boy, I'm tired.

I'm going to end this, before I really stop making sense.

Hey, folks, let us know if you've got other examples of "good book/bad cover." We'll do what we can to put 'em on display for public mockery.

Oh, and, if you're in the area and would like to check out a pretty bitchin' ongoing book sale, stop by the Swannanoa Public Library in Swannanoa, NC. (And give props to the librarian who works there, she's got a nice one-woman show going on over there.)


Miss Maggie said...

I thought they were golfers, so shows you how much I know!

Eunice said...

Well when you consider the guy standing up is holding a tennis racket and the guy bending over's leg is broken... Yeah I would'nt have know what it was about either.

It would've been interesting to blot out the title and see if anyone could've guessed what it was.

But it is a cover that, the more you look at it, the more you see: Holy snikeys! Glenn Close's arms are missing! That's not Robert Duvall's head, it's Henry Silva's.

...Not that anyone remembers Henry Silva.

WhiteMage said...

If you're looking for good books/bad covers, there's always some of the early editions of Lord of the Rings.

Specifically, the Ace Books 1965 pirate edition, or the Ballantine 1965 first official American edition. Both are pretty trippy.

Anonymous said...

Have you seen some of the various covers for The Princess Bride over the years? Horrible.

Anonymous said...

The Moorchild by Eloise McGraw (a Newbery Honor) has a horrible cover: http://content.answers.com/main/content/wp/en/1/16/Moorchild-1-.jpg