Saturday, January 27, 2007

book covers

As I'm not still a child, I may simply misremember, but I do not believe I would have picked up a fiction book based on the cover if it had a photographic image on it. A photo is fine for a nonfiction book, but fiction is displaying imagination and the cover should too. That's why this story that children prefer photographs on covers doesn't sit right with me.

As I think back, the idea of a photograph on a fiction book makes me think of Babysitter's Club. This is a series of books I never read, so all impressions of them are prejudiced. The impression I had of them was as something prepackaged and formulaic. I looked at these books and deeply suspected that the heart of each one was the same story. I don't even remember if they had photos on them, they probably didn't. I don't remember anything actually having photos on the cover. There's a few other popular series of books that others have read happily, but when I saw the extremely uniform packaging that implied uniform insides, I wanted to run for the hills.

I also remember the first book I stole off my dad's shelf, a direct result of the image on the cover. It may not have actually been the first, just the important one, but it is the one I remember as the first. That image was the Josh Kirby cover for The Light Fantastic. I wanted to read the book that had the nerve to wear a cover with so much character on it.

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