[stextbox id=”guest2″ image=”null”]As you know, we are using Fridays here at Oh, the Books! to help promote newer bloggers (though other guest posts might make their way in if we have openings). If you have started your blog in the last six months and are interested in contributing, we want to hear from you!
This week’s guest blogger is someone you may have spotted playing in our Bookish Games, Ren from Words in a Teacup! Ren and her co-blogger, Isa, have been blogging since February 2014 with a nice selection of features and memes. After you read her hilarious guest post below, make sure to go say hi over at her blog or on Twitter!
– Kelley, Asti, & Leanne[/stextbox]
Misleading Covers on Classics
Hi, I’m Ren and I’ve been blogging for four months at Words in a Teacup along with my lovely co-blogger Isa. First off, I want to say thank you to Oh, The Books for letting me guest post here on their blog and also for bearing with my dithering. At first I said I wanted to write a post about book summaries in a review, which got me thinking about misleading back cover blurbs. Then, as I was collecting misleading blurbs, I came across a really weird cover for Pride and Prejudice, and it got me thinking about all the classical books that got stuck with really whacky covers across the years. So here are my favourite covers that try to pass off a classic as something completely different!
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE as a bodice ripper
Jane Austen does Harlequin. The one in which Darcy is a rake with a troubled past and a heart of gold, and he looks great in a freshly-starched white shirt! He must win the love of sweet, fair-headed Elizabeth, who’s really freaked out by the creepy Gothic garden that he’s chosen as the location of their rendez-vous… We’ve all read this book, right? Surprisingly, this cover is not from the 50s but rather from a 2009 edition.
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE as… I’m not sure, actually
Same book as above, but this time with a surrealist spin to it. This is a Vietnamese edition and honestly I’m not sure what’s going on. There’s a newspaper and a pipe, and butterflies flying out of the pipe, or possibly into the pipe. It’s trying to convey the impression that this is a very serious, deep book, with lots of layers. No silly swooning girls for this book, no sir! Of course, it’s also possible that the publisher just chose the first stock photo they had on hand.
FRANKENSTEIN as epic fantasy
The cover depicts one of the most memorable scenes of the book: the one in which the inventor Frankenstein arms himself with a longsword and goes off the challenge the creature to a duel to the death, on top of an icy mountain! Yeah! Epic fantasy at its best! Mary Shelley pioneered in yet another genre, totally unbeknownst to her!
Admittedly, this publisher does have a catalog full of really horrible covers that use stock images that have little to do with the book, but swordfighting Frankenstein just cracks me up.
THE THREE MUSKETEERS as a comic book
I checked, but apparently there are no comics at all inside this book. It’s a completely normal edition of Dumas’s story, but there’s a comic on the cover. Not a very funny comic either. And it’s from Penguin, not some obscure small publisher — I’d love to know what their thought process was. “Hey, what are we putting on this book’s cover? Three musketeers? Nah, that has been done to the death. Four musketeers? Two musketeers? A sword? Nope. Let’s draw a cartoon. But let’s not make it very funny, so people will pick up the book hoping that somewhere in its 700 pages there will be an explanation of the joke.
DUBLINERS as minimalistic cutlery
First off, doesn’t that circle with the big C look a bit like a plate? I stared at this cover for a good while before realizing it wasn’t. I think that C is the publisher’s logo or something. But it just looks weird, placed on that image of spoon and knife and fork like that. Even knowing that this is a collection of stories about people in Dublin, I’m not sure I’d pick up this book because the cover seems to be telling me that my cutlery will rust while I read this.
LOLITA as a Japanese horror story
The Japanese have some really weird covers, and most times I chalk it up to the cultural difference, but… er… this… I just have no clue what’s going on. It looks to me like Lolita’s died and turned into some black void monster and is now sucking the electricity out of the whole city and storing it into her hair. Which might be an interesting story, it’s just not what’s in the book. My sister has another theory and says that the figure in black is Humbert Humbert, and that’s a different kind of creepy. Alas, we will never know for sure.
THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER as a drama
All the covers for Tom Sawyer are about happy fun times in the summer, with this old-timey blond kid wearing his straw hat and carrying his fishing rod, running around towards adventure! Yay! Fun! Except of course for this cover, in which Tom looks like he’s about to cry. No adventures for this Tom, his parents are very angry with him and so he’s grounded for the rest of his summer vacation and he’ll be forced to stay home and read dusty old books like this one. Aww, shucks.
ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND as a really creepy old man
There’s literally one thing that you need to put on the cover of Alice In Wonderland, and that’s Alice. So I’m slightly baffled as to why this edition chose to put the Mad Hatter on the cover instead… I’m assuming it’s the Mad Hatter, since he wears a top hat and I don’t recall any other creepy men in the book. Excellent engraving, but I’m not sure I’d want a children’s book with a cover that’s liable to give children nightmares. Or give me nightmares. This is the edition in which the Mad Hatter turns into Sweeney Todd and puts Alice into the meat pies he serves at his tea party, I’d guess.
THE PRINCESS BRIDE as monster porn
Who is this woman? What’s her story? What’s going on? I’m not sure, but she’s naked and there’s skeletons and monsters in the background, so it must be something R-rated and pretty messed up. I had another cover of The Princess Bride with a mystery man holding a pink-glowing sword, but this one just blows away all the competition. I’m seriously questioning whether there was a second William Goldman who wrote a different book with the same title, because I just don’t understand. Is this naked woman Princess Buttercup? What is the winged thing on her head? So many questions.
INFERNO as an action videogame
Left my personal favourite for last. I had to read Dante’s Inferno in high school, but unfortunately we skipped the part where Dante turns into a ripped, scythe-wielding knight templar and goes on to slay hundreds and thousands of damneds in his quest. Luckily EA’s videogame adaptation (and subsequent tie-in book cover) gives us the real story. He’s trying to save Beatrice’s soul from Lucifer’s hands, or so Wikipedia tells me. So, yeah, inside this book contains the same old boring stanzas about morality and Christianity, but isn’t it 1000% more badass with that cover?