Another month of books, another month of book covers. If April’s pollen has made your eyes water and itch as much as it has mine, at least its book covers have provided some beauty to view through the tears. This month, we see soft colors, striking silhouettes, and a dash of sweet nostalgia—just right for springtime.
Ocean Vuong, Time Is a Mother; cover design by Darren Haggar; photograph by Roman Spataro (Penguin Press, April 5)
For such a simple cover, this one is rich in small details and patches of texture that hold the eye. The snow, the wood grain, the subtle variations in color—it feels like a promise that your attention will be rewarded.
Grace D. Li, Portrait of a Thief; cover design by Vi-An Nguyen (Tiny Reparations Books, April 5)
Steal my art, sir! Please!
Shuang Xuetao, Rouge Street (tr. Jeremy Tiang); cover design by Christopher Sergio (Metropolitan Books, April 19)
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what makes this one so striking, but I think it’s a combination of the slightly uncanny, person-ish shape, the use of space, and the combination of a hand-drawn aesthetic and the early-digital gray snow effect. Very high “hang on the wall” potential, in any case.
Douglas Stuart, Young Mungo; cover design by Christopher Moisan (Grove Press, April 5)
The effect of light under water is simply one of the loveliest things in the world to me, and the effect here—combined with the soft, saturated colors—is dreamy and stunning. Eyeless faces on book covers tend to have a creepy, alien vibe, but this one is pure humanity.
I’m not sure I’ve ever seen movement captured so effectively on a cover. The dancer’s taut dress suggests both restraint and potential, and the mirror image of the body as nervous system underscores all the movement beneath the skin, too. Gorgeous.
Chelsea Bieker, Heartbroke; cover design by Nicole Caputo (Catapult, April 5)
An inspired use of both photography and candy shop nostalgia. I can practically feel the shades of Easter egg on my neck now.
The airbrushing effect here is giving me Six Flags T-shirt vibes, and I love it. Also, is the friendship between a flesh-and-blood dog and a skeleton the most forbidden love of all? Watch your bones, skeleton! (Clearly this cover has led me to my own narrative conclusions, which I think is to its credit.)
Juan Emar, Yesterday (tr. Megan McDowell); cover design by Erik Carter (New Directions, April 5)
I love charmingly surreal illustrations almost as much as I love giant birds.