2022 round-up: favourite book covers of the year

With just 11 days left until 2023 (say it isn’t so!), here’s the first round-up post to finish the year – covers from books published in 2022 that would have me plucking them off the shelf in a bookshop in no time. We all know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but these are just *chef’s kiss*.

Recent book reviews

Stay True by Hua Hsu: a lyrical and devastating coming-of-age memoir ★★★★½

TW: Murder This perfectly sized memoir is beautiful and devastating. Hua is a college student in California in the 90s: a time of internet chat rooms and mixtapes and Nirvana and zines, a rich social and cultural history constructed through objects and pastimes – many of which are long gone. And given this past which…

The Centre by Ayesha Manazir Siddiqi: a translator discovers a sinister shortcut ★★★½

‘Translation…is highly mathematical. It’s about retaining the feeling, the thing underneath.’ Anisa spends her days adding subtitles to Bollywood movies, when what she really wants to be doing is translating great works of literature. Her Urdu – her mother tongue – isn’t quite good enough, and other than English, she doesn’t speak other languages. That…

Book tag

Covers That Could Do Better | Book Tag

I first saw this tag over on Ally Writes Things (originally created by CJ Reads) and it just felt like such frivolous fun that I’m giving it a go. I love browsing the library shelves and bookshops (pre-covid) and judging books by their covers, and so this is a lighthearted poking fun at the covers that are just not quite it. This is to say nothing of the so often wonderful content between the pages!

Say It Don’t Spray It: Cover with the most offensive use of type

The Heart's Invisible Furies
The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

It’s no secret that this is one of my favourite books from the past couple of years – thank goodness this terrible cover is NOT the version I own! This font’s serifs makes it feel like a Western, and the arrows through the type are just aggressive, and the cover overall does nothing to reflect the dazzling story behind it.

She’s serving Reese’s Bookclub: Cover with the most commercial book club energy

Followers by Megan Angelo

I read this last year and it was such a surprising hit for me – the cover really undersells it as some sort of pastel-y chick lit but it is a lot more – the commodification of the self, the limits of privacy, a dystopian collapse… it brings a really darkly funny energy, none of which is reflected in this sanitised cover.

Yes girl, give us nothing! Cover with seemingly no energy put into it

Beloved by Toni Morrison

Well, this cover feels like massive disservice to Toni Morrison’s masterpiece. Maybe I’m missing something secretly clever?

A face only a mother could love: Cover that is so hideous, but the book is so good, you can’t help but keep it around

The Bell Jar
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

This is the copy of the book that I read as a teen, and it really brings a lot of mid 2000’s energy (this edition was published in 2005). Whilst it’s by no means the most terrible cover I’ve ever seen, I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all. Three fonts? That cringeworthy tagline? The sultry half-face?

Take one thing off before leaving the house: Cover that could use one less element

Utopia for Realists
Utopia for Realists by Rutger Bregman

I picked this book up in one of our local Little Free Libraries and I’m really excited to read it as I’ve heard lots of good things about Rutger Bregman, but this cover is doing too much – the different shaped blocks with the jazzy price sticker announcements, the slightly clashing colour palette, the tagline squashed in the middle there – the designers clearly don’t believe in the power of white space.

Hypebeast: Cover that is clearly going for all the trends at the same time

The Divines
The Divines by Ellie Eaton

I’m actually very excited to read this one, and this cover is just my kind of thing, but it’s definitely capturing a du jour instagrammy style – the pastel pink, the incremental letter spacing, the abstract woman’s face/body, the disembodied flower – tick tick tick.

Thanks for reading & feel free to participate in the tag if it takes your fancy!