The 10 Best Book Covers of February
Bare Chests, Chimeras, and the Ultimate Blob
Another month of books, another month of book covers. This February, while short on days, was long on eye-catching cover art—from the moody to the playfully nostalgic to the downright naughty. Below, my favorite book covers from February.
Colorful blobs are a certified cover trend, but it’s the purity of this one that appeals to me. The green blob is just off-kilter enough (see how it almost eclipses the “L”?) to keep drawing my eye back. Bow down to the queen of blobs!
Much like the once and future writer of this column, I love a trompe l’oeil, and this one is not only beautiful, it’s unusually convincing. The hand-made quality of the image gives it the feeling of being one of a kind, and makes me want to hang it on my wall. (You can read Paul Tran’s own take on the cover here.)
Olga Ravin’s “funny and doom-drenched” book is a workplace novel set aboard a spaceship, so its appropriate that this cover strikes a balance between the strange and the familiar, the terrestrial and the cosmic. It also looks a little diseased, in the most beautiful way imaginable.
This cover takes an instantly recognizable photo—taken outside the New York offices of the NAACP in 1936—and lets the impact of the text do its work. A simple, effective, and affecting design.
I love how this cover inverts the coziness of the watercolor—a photo-negative version of an otherwise homey medium—making it into something unsettling, slightly unfamiliar, and yes, cold. (Here’s Sarah Manguso sharing her thoughts on the design process.)
It must have been a challenge to design a cover that could hold its own against the glorious subtitle “A Heartbeaking Work of Staggering Penis,” but I think the disembodied mouth, clown-painted and smoking grimly, does the job beautifully.
The first of two chimera collages on my list this month, this one strikes a somewhat whimsical note, without being cutesy. There’s also a sense of rewilding, in the way the branches are overgrowing their partitions (and, of course, the neck wing). Like any good collage, this one rewards deep gazing—it took me a few go-rounds to spot the elephants.
And here’s the creepier of the two chimera-collages! Undeniably horrifying, and undeniably cool.
If you, too, are a Geriatric Millennial, you don’t need me to tell you how large this phone looms in the nostalgia centers of our people. It’s the perfect image for sending anyone who lived through the nineties in this country right back to those days.
How could I possibly fail to include a cover that manages to be both literary and vaguely reminiscent of a flyer for an escort service? As striking as the image itself is, this one comes down to the details: the elegant typeface, the gold chain, slightly off-center, the forest-green corduroy, and of course, that hand placement.