Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Cover stories

I am intrigued by book covers, and quite honestly some of the best books I've come by are ones which attracted me with their cover art, interrupting my lazy bookshelf browsing. I guess all this means is that the cover artist did their job well, but still ... I can't help but think that there is some connection, something kismet, somehow indefinable, about this apparently haphazard way of selecting a book for a second look.

One of my favorite titles in recent years is Hens Dancing by English novelist Raffaella Barker. A little research shows that cover art has varied over the years, but the images have remained consistently great.

As for the inside? Maggie O'Connell writes: "I love [Raffaella Barker's] books - so funny and acerbic; a very good thing in a woman." I can only agree.

Here is the cover from the June '99 U.K. release (hardback):

From the 2001 U.S. hardcover:

The large print 2005 hardcover U.K. release:

April 2002 U.S. paperback: (I must admit to being partial to this one, since the cover art first drew me to the book in the paperback fiction section of the Seattle Public Library).

The June, 2000 U.K. paperback:

The sequel to Hens Dancing is Summertime, an effort which falls slightly short only because the fresh excitement of meeting the characters for the first time isn't there. It's still a favorite read of mine.

The U.K. paperback, April 2002:

The U.S. hardback, summer 2002:

And finally, the 2003 U.S. paperback:

I've seen slight variations on the cover of the 2002 edition, but I like this one best. The 2003 cover is delovely! I would love to have a full-sized print of the image, to grace a wall in my home.
All images are copyrighted property of the publishers.

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