Cover Lust: Classic Covers and Sentimental Favorites

I thought I’d take a different approach to Cover Lust this week and peruse old books. Books whose covers are utterly timeless or books whose covers remind me of the story within.

For example, Catch-22—a book I have read so much, the pages are barely attached to the spine and almost every other sentence is underlined. The cover is both eye-catching to a modern reader and heart-warming (at least to me).

The same for Slaughterhouse-Five, a book I first discovered in high school and still quote regularly. Just seeing those bold colors, and I get a little thrill. If you’ve never read Vonnegut, you should. You absolutely must, in fact.

And this book goes straight to my heart. I adored Nancy Drew growing up—I mean, I literally read all 56 original books (yes, I still remember how many there were) over the course of my 3rd grade summer break. Just a glance at one of these covers, and I feel 100% invincible (‘cos admit it: Nancy was The Master) and 100% adventurous (I mean, Nancy and crew got to go everywhere). Plus, a single glance at the cover, and I can tell you vaguely what it’s about. For example, The Spider Sapphire Mystery took Nancy to Africa, and I distinctly recall she and swoon-worthy Ned getting a furious rash after touching a poison suitcase. Oh, the intrigue!

But once I grew out of Nancy Drew, I moved onto the gothic mysteries of Mary Stewart. From Greece in The Moonspinners to France in Nine Coaches Waiting, Mary Stewart featured kick-butt heroines, sexy male leads, and a whole lot of mystery. But my favorite still remains The Moonspinners. That Mark was just too sexy—even to my 14-year-old self.

Finally, the book covers that really set my heart on fire—but literally hold NO modern appeal (because seriously, she’s wearing neon spandex and atop a neon dragon on a neon sky. It’s a lot of neon)—are the covers for The Dragonriders of Pern series.

I. Loved. These. Books.

I still love these books. No other world has EVER made me want to give up my entire life as much as Pern. I would still trade this ol’ world for a shot at being a dragonrider or a Harper or a dolphin rider or anything in Pern.

What about you? What covers do you think have timeless appeal? Or what covers instantly make you feel warm and fuzzy inside?


27 Responses to Cover Lust: Classic Covers and Sentimental Favorites

  1. Amie Mar 22 2012 at 6:14 am #

    Oh, those Pern covers. I would be right there with you, Sooz. In fact, if it wasn’t for a mutual love of the amazing worlds Anne McCaffrey built, I’d never have met Meg, and WRECKED never would have been!

    I have so many old covers I love. If I hadn’t gone to Pern I’d have wanted to be a talent, so Lyon’s Pride: and I always adored this cover of The Magician’s Nephew:

    Sigh, swoon. Great topic!

    • Sooz Mar 22 2012 at 10:36 am #

      Yay for Pern-bonding!!

      And wow…those old Anne McCaffrey covers. I mean, they’re exactly the ones I remember picking up…but they are pretty hideous if you look at them objectively. I remember thinking CRYSTAL SINGER and KILLASHANDRA were the most beautiful covers ever.

  2. Julie Mar 22 2012 at 6:54 am #

    Great covers, Sooz! One of my all-time sentimental faves is the cover to CHARLOTTE SOMETIMES by Penelope Farmer. There have been maybe a half a dozen covers, I’d guess, but this is the edition I read:
    Thanks for this great post! 🙂

    • Julie Mar 22 2012 at 6:57 am #

      After posting that link, I realized the cover seems really “blah” if you don’t know that the reflection in the mirror is the same dorm room in a different time. I realized when I looked again that the tiny pic doesn’t do the cover justice. :p

      • Sooz Mar 22 2012 at 10:39 am #

        Oh wow! I DIDN’T notice it was a different time until you pointed it out! Ha! How cool! I used to analyze covers so thoroughly when I was a kid–look at all the little details and decide how well it matched up to the book. 😉

  3. Meredith Mar 22 2012 at 8:00 am #

    The Nancy Drew covers for sure, but also the old school Little House on the Prairie and Anne of Green Gables covers. Those were the books I read so many times the spines cracked and the pages fell out.

    • Sooz Mar 22 2012 at 10:37 am #

      Ahhh, I had an old library-bound LITTLE HOUSE that was my mothers. I can very, very clearly remember what it looked like… And ANNE OF GREEN GABLES–I checked that out at the library, and ALSO have such a vivid memory of its cover. GOSH, books have a lot of power, huh?

  4. Bri L. Mar 22 2012 at 10:02 am #

    The cover of THE GREAT GATSBY is one of my all-time favorites:
    There have been a lot of covers for Fitzgerald’s book, but I love any of them that use the painting featured on this one!

    • Sooz Mar 22 2012 at 10:37 am #

      Oh yes! I recall that cover!! And it’s definitely one of those images that I think transcends time–it would still totally work for modern readers. 😀

  5. Sarah J. Maas Mar 22 2012 at 1:48 pm #

    LOOOOVE this post!!! Honestly, my favorite old-school cover is this one for THE HERO AND THE CROWN:

    And then I just looove the old covers for THE CHRONICLES OF PRYDAIN (THE BLACK CAULDRON in particular): I absolutely adore the way Eilonwy’s sword is on her shoulder like that. <3

    • Sooz Mar 22 2012 at 8:54 pm #

      I JUST looked at THE HERO AND THE CROWN in the library!! SUCH an epic, old school cover.

      And ::sigh:: PRYDAIN…Lloyd Alexander…::sigh::

      • Sarah J. Maas Mar 23 2012 at 1:37 pm #

        I know, right? I just SIGH every time I think about PRYDAIN. My love for Taran knows no bounds!!!!!!

  6. Erin Bowman Mar 22 2012 at 2:15 pm #

    The original cover to Charlotte’s Web will forever make me all warm and fuzzy: <333

    • Sooz Mar 22 2012 at 8:55 pm #

      Nice choice–that one is a DEFINITE winner. Instant heart warmth. 😀

    • Sarah J. Maas Mar 23 2012 at 7:05 pm #


  7. Leigh Bardugo Mar 22 2012 at 2:57 pm #

    That’s the very pic I posted when Anne McCaffrey passed. <3 <3

    • Sooz Mar 22 2012 at 8:56 pm #

      Oh, Anne. 🙁 I love those 80s covers–all of hers. My childhood is in all those books…

  8. Meagan Spooner Mar 22 2012 at 4:40 pm #

    PEEEERRRRRNNN. Omg. I know you I have already geeked out about Pern to the max, but yeah… I spent countless hours staring at the covers to the Dragonriders books, tracing and retracing and learning to draw dragons.

    And CURSE YOU, Sarah, for stealing the Prydain books. I was totally going to go there.

    Hmm… it’s not really an old book, but I love the original US hardback cover of The Golden Compass:

    And when I was little I absolutely LOVED this book called The Farthest Away Mountain, and the cover still makes me giddy (though I can’t find a better picture of it, bleh):

    • Sooz Mar 27 2012 at 9:32 pm #

      Meg–I. Did. THE SAME THING. With the tracing and retracing of dragons…and people too. I had a Harper I used to draw over and over again–my RPG character. 😉

  9. Erica Mar 22 2012 at 6:27 pm #

    I’m with you on the Pern novels. I read them to shreds growing up!! I even had the companion book The People of Pern. Which is amazing!
    Also, The Golden Compass:
    And…Firebird by Mercedes Lackey:

    • Sooz Mar 27 2012 at 9:31 pm #

      PEOPLE OF PERN!!! I HAVE IT TOOOOOOOO!!!!!! And yes–that version of the Golden Compass is TOTALLY the one I know too!!!

  10. Carrie-Anne Mar 22 2012 at 8:07 pm #

    I also love the Little House covers, and the covers of Lois Lenski’s books, Carolyn Haywood’s books, and Ida Vos’s books. For adult books, some of my favorites are the covers used for Hermann Hesse’s books during their 1960s/1970s-era editions. Demian and Steppenwolf in particular are some of my favorite of these covers, though some of the pictures on older editions of his books are also nice.

    I really hate the current trend to “update” classic covers on children’s and young adults’ books. I’ve looked up a number of old favorites on Amazon and saw these modern-style pictures that don’t match the stories at all, like for Hitty: Her First Hundred Years, Understood Betsy, the Little House books, and Carolyn Haywood’s books. Do they think modern children won’t want to read a book if a drawing is a little old-fashioned?

    • Sooz Mar 22 2012 at 10:19 pm #

      I know that when I was a kid, the old covers didn’t turn me off. Obviously I still went for Nancy Drew and The Moonspinners!! And I sure read through any and every book of my parents’…but I guess publishers think they can get MORE readers with a new look??

  11. Lori M Lee Mar 22 2012 at 9:58 pm #

    The cover of Dragonflight is SO awesome. I love it, and it always makes me want to reread 🙂

    • Sooz Mar 22 2012 at 10:19 pm #

      I KNOW. That one and the Dragonsong cover–even though I hated the Dragonsong cover as a kid (Menolly was so ugly on it!)…but nowadays, my heart just instantly melts at the sight of it. 🙂

  12. Daphne Vivienne Mar 23 2012 at 7:04 pm #

    What a fabulous, thought-provoking post. Thank you so much for writing it–it brought me back to my childhood years!!!

    You are SO incredible–such an inspiration to the whole YA community!!!

    • Sooz Mar 24 2012 at 12:02 am #

      Oh. pfffffft. Make me blush. But I’m glad I “brought you back”. That’s what those covers do for me too. 😀

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