Friday, July 29, 2016

I Judge Books By Their Covers: "Burial Rites"

 I'm Lindsay, I'm a bookaholic, and I absolutely judge books by their covers. 

Today we're comparing covers for "Burial Rites," a beautiful novel I recently devoured and awarded 5 stars (review). It's about a woman facing the possibility of execution after being accused of a terrible crime, and the author vividly depicts the harsh and weather-worn Iceland of 200 years ago. Which cover do you prefer?

U.S. hardcover // U.S. paperback

 U.K. hardcover // U.K. paperback

I think the U.S. hardcover -- the book I read -- is actually my least favorite of these four options. I love the large calligraphic text, but the image of a woman in profile clutching a shawl doesn't do a lot for me. Likewise, I'm not a fan of the bright blue cover on the U.K. paperback.

I like the U.K. hardcover, with it's simple lines and just a pop of color in the raven feather. It conveys the starkness of the setting, 19th century northern Iceland. But if it were side by side with the U.S. paperback, I think that's the one I would be more likely to grab. Overall, it's more pleasing to my eye, and it also makes clear that it's a historical fiction novel, whereas the U.K. hardcover could easily be anything from gothic to crime thriller. I love the rugged, beautiful scenery in the background and I'm intrigued by the rather foreboding image of three ravens circling overhead. The colors are subtle but eye-catching. I appreciate how the artwork manages to convey so much -- a historical setting, cold weather, a dismal atmosphere, a female main character -- without feeling overwhelming.

My winner: U.S. paperback


  1. I like all of them except the UK paperback. Sometimes though, I feel you can't really know which cover you like the best until you've read the book, so I feel I can't choose among the other three without having read it.

  2. I love covers-- unfortunately for authors, I do base some of my buying/borrowing based on what I first see. Not always bright colors or busy graphics, sometimes something stark that grabs me. And many covers share the same stock images, and that bugs me.

    I too choose the U.S. paperback. I haven't seen it in person, and I read the e-book of this incredible story. But if I had to choose again....


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