Is Jane Eyre about a miner? …And other observations about book covers
By Morgan on July 18th, 2012
Yesterday, this link from Babble made the rounds and had us laughing out loud. A writer asked her six-year-old daughter to guess what certain classic books were about based on their covers. My favorites? On Jane Eyre, she said “This is about a girl that goes mining. I don’t know why, but she looks like she would go mining, mining for gold.” And on Lord of the Flies: “This is all about a tiny town, beneath the ground. And it looks like it has a lot of people in the town. I think they live in Africa. It looks like a fun book for kiddies! Teens! All ages!”
The simple truth is: for most of us, book covers matter. We’re drawn to colors and fonts and pictures of trees and girls and unicorns and wizards. Book designers are artists, and I too have been swayed into purchasing a title I didn’t plan on purchasing once I saw the cover art.
Occasionally, there are book covers that make me think, “How did this become the book cover for the wonderful book that lives inside it?”
The Babble piece got us thinking about books we specifically skipped reading because we thought, based on their covers, they were about something else entirely. For me, it’s The Giver. (Gosh, I am so ashamed to write this.) But seriously: the cover of The Giver at the time of my childhood was entirely unappealing to me — I thought the book was about an old man who lived in the woods and chopped trees for a living. (And growing up in the Pine Barrens, I had enough trees in my life!)
Megan tells me that she never wanted to read Gulliver’s Travels because she thought it was Gullible’s Travels (as in, the many adventures of one who is easily duped). And she didn’t want to read The BFG because she thought it was about a half-man, half-elephant, based on the gigantic ears on the cover. Meanwhile, Michael thought Wuthering Heights was about a tightrope, based on both the cover and the title, and, slightly off-topic, thought Scarlett O’Hara was a type of bird rather than a fictional character.
Were there any books that you assumed were about something entirely different based on their covers?
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