Earlier this month, beloved Canadian book blog Bookninja asked its readers if they felt top literary novelists faced unfortunate book rebranding “to meet the purchasing habits of an embiggened sector of stupid readers.” A cover contest was proposed by founding editor George Murray, where readers were asked to create and submit their own wildly inappropriate covers for literary classics, and general bookish hilarity ensued.
What began as the banter of a bunch of book geeks eventually became an international discussion about the inexcusable sin of the really frackin’ bad book cover, with coverage from Los Angeles to London. Yesterday The Guardian featured a gallery of some of the finer (or worst?) entries. It’s evident that the beautifully bad book covers have struck a chord with many, literary-inclined and not, and that Torontonians do a superior job of dreaming them up: the list of winners includes locals Evan Munday (for Douglas Coupland’s Jpod and Miriam Toews’s A Complicated Kindness), Claire Cameron (for Anne-Marie MacDonald’s Fall On Your Knees), and Carleton Wilson (for Samuel Beckett’s Waiting For Godot).
Bookninja’s top honours were bestowed upon professional designer Ingrid Paulson (who is actually responsible for some of the most stunning book covers in Canada), for a reimagining of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. One look at it and you’ll certainly see why. You can view all of the winners here.
Cover images courtesy of Bookninja.