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Book covers that disturb us

April 1, 2009 |  2:10 pm

Breuer-book-cover The content of a book is supposed to be more important than its cover, right? That's the idea, though some authors consider their covers works of art worth big bucks on their own, and there's no end to contests rating book cover designs.

Our Astral Weeks columnist, Ed Park, couldn't get over the creepiness of the cover for a collection of Miles J. Breuer's fiction in his last column. Here it is.

"Such a stomach-turning cover will pretty much insure that few readers pick up this book," Park wrote.

I'm not sure I agree. That image is pretty bizarre, but that seems like a competitive advantage, doesn't it, especially if that book is sitting among a hundred others on a table in a bookstore? Who wouldn't be drawn to those eyeballs?

Park writes about being thoroughly creeped-out by this image, but I didn't share that chill.

And then came along Richard Rayner's Paperback Writers column for the following week. Then I knew exactly what Park was talking about. Rayner wrote about reissues of two novels by Australian Nobel laureate Patrick White — "Voss" and "The Vivisector," from Penguin Classics. The cover of "Voss" is straight-ahead, simple, bleak. "The Vivisector" is something else entirely. You can look at that cover after the jump — if you're brave enough.

In the meantime, what book cover illustrations disturb you?

— Nick Owchar

"The Vivisector" cover is right after this jump.