Monday, November 28, 2011

Cover rage

I've recently finished reading Outrage by Arnaldur Indridason and LA Requiem by Robert Crais (reviews shortly). In both cases, I had the same experience every time I picked the book up - the cover just didn't match the book. In the case of Outrage, the murder victim was killed in the living area of an apartment, not at a bus stop in the middle of winter. In fact I can't remember snow being mentioned once in the entire book, but that might be my memory. In the case of LA Requiem, although there a couple of trips to Palm Springs the vast majority of the action takes place in the city and the atmosphere is one of enclosure and claustrophobia, not wide open spaces. I've no real problem with generic style covers, but for me they have to be reflective of the story to some extent. Neither did in these cases. Not that it detracted from the stories themselves, which were very good. What about you, does a cover that doesn't match the book induce some mild form of cover rage?

6 comments:

Sarah said...

I tend not to pay much attention to the covers of authors I know and like. I would have read Outrage whatever the cover. But you are right that it doesn't reflect the content of the book, although I do quite like it. A new author Megan Abbott has written a book called The End of Everything which comes highly recommended by a friend but the cover is seriously putting me off reading it. Lovely Bones crossed with Judy Blume. Shame

Rob Kitchin said...

Which version are you looking at - the UK or the US one? I think the US is stronger, but both clearly indicate innocence lost. She's a good writer. Not yet read The End of Everything, but have read a couple of her others.

Sarah said...

It's the UK version I don't like but I've just looked at the US cover and I'm not wild about that either. Personal taste I suppose - it just seems to indicate a particular type of book I don't normally purchase/read. But the reviews are excellent so I think I need to put my prejudices aside.

Maxine said...

I tend not to pay any attention to the cover in a decision about reading a book as I often get sent them for review on the basis of author/synposis. I agree it is irritating when publishers do this, eg I have just finished an excellent, really good book by Charles Lambert (Any Human Face) set in Rome - moody greytone pic of man/building in soft focus but- a bright blue scooter is focal point. Why? No scooters in book. I suppose some publicist or art designer associated Rome with scooters and had not read book.

What annoys me much more than the covers are the blurbs, which invariably give so much away that one wonders what the point is in reading the book - if a crucial plot event mid-way through is casually revealed in the blurb, then the author's careful suspenseful build-up is ruined in impact. To me that is much more of a sacrilege than an ignorable cover....

pattinase (abbott) said...

It is annoying and increasingly I see it. It's like covers are chosen from the sale bin at a resale shop. Very few great covers now. Too often they are trendy: feet, shoes, turquoise, the backs of heads, roads.

Rob Kitchin said...

Maxine, yes blurbs that tell you the whole story should be banned. Likewise stickers that make ill-judged comparisons between authors.

Patti - I think there are still some great covers out there, but too many of them have become generic stock photos.