I don’t judge books by their covers. I judge books by their titles. It’s an intriguing, unique title that makes me pick up a book, and it’s a compelling description on the back cover that makes me buy it. But always, I read titles first. Why? I’m not entirely sure, but I think it’s because titling my own work stresses me out! It’s like if you think you have ugly hands, you tend to always look at other people’s hands and compare. It’s kind of like that, I guess, with me and titles. Besides, there are too many amazing stories out there caught between lackluster covers by no fault of their own. (The Hunger Games comes to mind.) So, I don’t pay much attention to covers until I’m standing in the checkout line.
This topic comes up often around the blogosphere, and I seem to be in the minority with judging books by their titles. So for today I decided to research the covers of classic novels. I tried my best to find first and current edition covers, but some of them are just an early and recent edition cover. Compare, enjoy, and imagine what YOUR novel’s first and recent edition covers will look like!
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, 1813
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, 1818
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, 1878
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, 1936
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, 1954
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, 1960
Children’s/Young Adult Classics:
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, 1868
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, 1900
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, 1950
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, 1951
Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls, 1961
Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume, 1970
"I'm so glad we live in a world where there are Octobers. It would be terrible if we just skipped from September to November, wouldn't it?" ~Anne Shirley (L.M. Montgomery)
Happy October! Have a wonderful weekend, zigzaggers!!!
What are your thoughts on these covers? Do you judge a book by its cover or its title? For your own novel, would you prefer a breathtaking cover or a captivating title?