Mental Floss

Judging Books by their Covers: 10 Unforgettable Designs

David K. Israel
facebooktwitterreddit

If you're a fan of this blog, you probably like to read. A lot. And you probably have your own favorite book jacket designs. Go ahead and drop "˜em in the comments so we can build on this admittedly subjective list. Oh, and if you have a book jacket you just find revolting, let us know about that one, too. We'll be doing a follow-up post in the coming week about really awful book jacket designs.

1. The Great Gatsby

Born in Spain in 1893, artist Francis Cugat couldn't have known what history had in store for him when he was commissioned by Charles Scribner's Sons to create the cover for this monumental 1925 novel. As the story goes, Cugat finished the artwork way before F.Scott Fitzgerald finished the manuscript. When the publisher shared the design with Fitzgerald, he was so enamored of it, so inspired, he is thought to have worked the design into the fabric of the narrative. Where? Well one hypothesis is often cited in Nick Carraway's description of Daisy, as the girl whose disembodied face floated along the dark cornices and blinding signs. Another possible influence may been seen in the symbolic billboard eyes of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg. From the novel: But above the gray land and the spasms of bleak dust which drift end¬lessly over it, you perceive, after a mo¬ment, the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg. The eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg are blue and gigantic -- their retinas are one yard high. They look out of no face, but instead from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a non-existent nose.


Whether Fitzgerald was influence by the artwork or not, we may never know. And this is hardly the only mystery associated with the novel. For instance, no other Cugat book jacket has ever been identified, other than The Great Gatsby, and no one knows when or where the mysterious artist died. Sounds like Hollywood material, no?

2. Darkness at Noon

darkness
darkness /

3. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

DoAndroidsDreamSignet1971
DoAndroidsDreamSignet1971 /

4. Norwegian Wood

nor
nor /

5. The Last Lonely Saturday

Picture 2
Picture 2 /

6. Jurassic Park

425px-Jurassicpark
425px-Jurassicpark /

7. Of Mice and Men

OfMiceAndMen
OfMiceAndMen /

8. Catch-22

Catch22
Catch22 /

9. One Red Paperclip

clip.jpeg
clip.jpeg /

10. In Cold Blood

x3412
x3412 /

So does this blogger.

How about you all? What are some of your favorites?

facebooktwitterreddit