One Book Four Covers

It’s time for another edition of one book, four covers. This time Lolly Willowes.

Once again I read the NYRB edition. That’s the one all the way over on the left. I think it’s a bit lousy–misleading and unappealing. It calls to mind folk artwork and certainly doesn’t tell you what the book’s likely to be about. The second one… umm.. yeah… First I guess it was published during the 60s/70s Gothic boom where a cover required an old house, a young woman, and some stuffy disapproving mysterious dudes. I’m surprised she’s not wearing a nightgown. Second, the ad-copy:

A charming woman–a midnight meeting–the scent of witchcraft “remarkable… pungent and satisfying”.

From now on I am going to say “remarkable… pungent and satisfying” whenever I smell anything.

The third cover is great. It screams THIS BOOK IS ABOUT WITCHES DEAL WITH IT! while also suggesting a playful irreverence. The fourth cover is a bit too much. Again it’s misleading and takes itself too seriously. It’s much too dark and brooding. As with the second cover it plays up the Old House aspect of the story, which is really a negligible part of the whole story.

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9 responses to “One Book Four Covers”

  1. J. Spinazzola says :

    I think One Book, Four covers is my favorite feature on your blog. Is this an original concept created by Ten Bad Habits? It’d be a fruitful seed for a school lesson plan.

  2. Justin says :

    Well, now that I know you like it I WILL NEVER DO IT AGAIN!

  3. J. Spinazzola says :

    In that case, I also like when you write opaque fiction.

  4. J. Spinazzola says :

    That, of course, was a joke. As I’m sure was yours. You’ll be happy to know our witty jab routine inspired a new story this morning. All polished and submitted. Oh, and my wife has actually done a variant of a one book, four covers lesson plan with middle school students. And it went very well.

  5. NK Shapiro says :

    So glad to see you writing about STW, who is my literary goddess. (And who, he asks himself, are YOU, that I should care about THAT?)

    None of those covers really does it for me … the witches one is such a stereotype, and one of the many marvels of Lolly is how the novel rescues the whole idea of the witch from its silly stereotypical imagery.

    I own a few copies of this, and my favorite cover is this one. It’s got nothing to do with the story but it’s elegant, isn’t it?

    • Justin says :

      I’m a nobody here myself 🙂

      I think the witch one plays with stereotypes. At least the color to me suggests the book will not be ye olde witches, and it works better than 2 or 4 IMO.

      My plan is to track down STW’s Elfin book while in the USA along with any other books by her I can find. I’d seen the NYRB edition a few times before I bought it, but it was a friend’s recommendation that made me pick it up and not the cover.

      I’m very glad I did.

  6. NK Shapiro says :

    Hmmm, image seems not to have made it into my comment. It’s here.

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  1. Favorite Reads 2012 « 10 Bad Habits - December 2, 2012

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