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Judging books by (new, outlandish) covers

Posted by Christopher Shea  October 27, 2008 12:48 PM

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Is it possible that sales of highbrow books are hampered by cover designs that don't immediately grab bookstore browsers? The magazine and Web site Bookninja has asked its readers to devise covers for some very serious books that would generate more action at the cash register -- and then vote which refashioning is the best.

It's hard to choose. Might the most creative re-imagining be Pynchon's "Vineland" presented in a way that might reel in wine connoisseurs? Before the oenophiles catch on to the bait-and-switch, they might well be devoted Pynchonites. Or a version of Virginia Woolf's "To the Lighthouse" in which plot is played up -- to say the least --over that daunting stream-of consciousness stuff people may have heard about? Someone punched up "On the Road" with a classic space-opera cover, complete with imploding battlecraft. (I feel like I've been seeing that cover in supermarkets for decades.)

Would you pick up a copy of "Rogue Tory: The Life and Legend of John G. Diefenbaker"? You might if it you thought his maverick-tude had something to do with floating above the moon in a '50s'-style space suit.

Your votes -- I don't think the polls have closed yet; the site keeps getting good new entries -- can be sent to editors [at] bookninja.com. Do peruse all the entries; I'd hate to skew the results of this fine contest with my own preferences.

vineland-usethis.jpg

lighthouse-use.jpg

More contest entries after the jump …

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About brainiac Brainiac is the daily blog of the Globe's Sunday Ideas section, covering news and delights from the worlds of art, science, literature, history, design, and more. You can follow us on Twitter @GlobeIdeas.
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