BBC #4: Autumn Colors

This edition of BBC, a meme I started where I feature books with beautiful covers, will focus on the robust colors of autumn.

I love autumn colors. They are rich and majestic. When I walk among trees donned in fall colors, I feel as if I’m walking among royalty about to partake in autumnal festivities. I love the mustard yellows, dark greens, plums, burnt oranges, maroons, and rich, warm browns. Ahh… Autumn. It hasn’t yet fully arrived in my part of the world, but I feel tendrils of it in the air as it slowly creeps in.

To herald it’s coming, here are some book covers in autumnal covers.

Before the Feast by Saša Stanišić, trans. from German by Anthea Bell

cover art by Claire Scully

What’s it about:

It’s the night before the feast in the village of Fürstenfelde (population: an odd number). The village is asleep. Except for the ferryman – he’s dead. And Mrs Kranz, the night-blind painter, who wants to depict her village for the first time at night. A bell-ringer and his apprentice want to ring the bells – the only problem is that the bells have gone. A vixen is looking for eggs for her young, and Mr Schramm is discovering more reasons to quit life than smoking.

Someone has opened the doors to the Village Archive, but what drives the sleepless out of their houses is not that which was stolen, but that which has escaped. Old stories, myths and fairy tales are wandering about the streets with the people. They come together in a novel about a long night, a mosaic of village life, in which the long-established and newcomers, the dead and the living, craftsmen, pensioners and noble robbers in football shirts bump into each other. They all want to bring something to a close, in this night before the feast. (Goodreads)

Why I love the cover: the design

Before the Feast inspired this post. I was casting around for a topic for another BBC post when I saw the cover of Stanišić’s book and immediately thought “autumn.” The cover is so eye-catching and I love the colors, the mixture of oranges and browns, which gives it an autumn feeling.

I love the details in the fox image: the fur designed to look like different types of leaves; the varying tones of orange and the breaks in color where only the black lines and white is shown to give highlights to the image; the different patterns and geometric shapes, which reminds me of zentangles, that add definition and movement to the overall fox image (I can imagine its fur ruffling slightly in an imaginary wind). My eyes are immediately drawn to the image of the fox when I look at the cover and then move to the smaller images within it, such as the foxes playing together underneath a tree. From there, I pick out buildings, a cat, and even an owl asleep in a tree. There’s so much in the image that it too seems to tell a story.

I think what makes this cover great, other than the illustrations and color, is that it’s not overwhelming. Though the fox image is heavily detailed, it is the only detailed image on the cover. The white space around it gives our eyes a break, the typography is simple, and only necessary words are included on the front cover with only one endorsement squeezed in. (If you’d like to see photos of the book’s covers, check out this post at Milliebot Reads.)

The Book of Bera by Suzie Wilde

cover art by Joe Wilson

What’s it about:

Born and raised in a stark, coastal village on the shore of the Ice-Rimmed Sea, Bera is the daughter of a Valla, the Vikings’ most powerful seers. But her mother died when she was young, leaving Bera alone with her gift, unable to control her feckless twin spirit or understand her visions of the future.

When this inability leads to the death of her childhood friend at the hands of a rival clan, Bera vows revenge. And learning that her father has sold her into marriage with the murderous enemy’s chieftain, she is presented with an opportunity even sooner than she had hoped…

As her powers grow stronger, her visions of looming disaster become more and more ominous until she is faced with the ultimate choice: will she exact vengeance? Or can she lead her people to safety before it’s too late? (Goodreads)

Why I love the cover: the iron-work detail

The illustrations on this cover make me think of a comic book and make me wonder if illustrations accompany the story. I love it when a cover makes me wonder what the story is about and this one certainly does that. What attracts me are the overlapping iron-work detail that makes me feel as if I’m peering through them to the setting of the story beyond. I keep wondering in what way does the illustration relate to the story. My favorite part is the bottom of the iron work that has ridged details that makes me think of waves and that has what looks like flames licking out at them. I also like the dragon heads (well, I assume that they are dragon heads).

I must admit, when I first saw the cover without knowing what the story is about, I thought the illustration depicted a desert setting or other wilderness because of the colors used — dark, dusty orange, black, tan, and brown — and because I’ve only ever seen the front cover. When I see how the illustration continues along the spine and back cover, I still believe that a barren landscape is depicted but I sometimes wonder if I’m wrong. Maybe it’s the sea with barren islands rising out of it.

Gris Grimly’s Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, illus. by Gris Grimly

cover art by Gris Grimly
cover design by Dana Fritts

What’s it about:

Gris Grimley’s Frankenstein is a graphic novel adaptation of Mary Shelley’s classic story by illustrator Gris Grimley. The illustrations within it are stunning and the book’s cover gives us our first sample of them. (Goodreads)

Why I love the cover: the illustrations

I own this book (haven’t yet read it). It was purely a cover buy because I attempted to read Frankenstein once back in college but was too bored by the story to continue with it. I had no intention of purchasing the story in any other form, but there was no way that I could pass on this cover. I love the skeletal look of the figure carrying the shovel, whom I assume is Frankenstein’s monster, and the quirky layout of the headstones in the cemetery in the background. The overall illustration gives me a spooky vibe that the colors — various shades of brown and the figure all in black — add to.

However, the warm tone of the colors makes me more curious than scared or anxious about what I’ll find beneath the covers. I also like the design of the border that surrounds the images and contains the title and author names. It gives me a steampunk vibe that I hope continues in the book. Overall, it’s a very appealing cover that hints at something spooky while inviting readers to take a peek at the pages within.

The Muse of Love and Pain by A.X. Salvo

cover image by Kathey Amaral*

What’s it about:

Blurring the lines of poetry and fiction, this blend of gothic verse and fable is an ode to anyone who has traveled through the darkest roads and deepest waters to find love. 

This debut introduces readers to A.X. Salvo’s strange collection of the most delicious elements of fantasy, horror and romance. We follow a familiar thread of near unrequited love. But this particular love is about an extraordinary being. In “The Intangible” she is a mourning mother, in “Harlequin” a lost lover, she is then reborn as a goddess with astounding power in the epic poem “The Muse of Love and Pain”. 

Salvo’s influences range from the classical poets Milton, Poe, Keats, and Dickinson to contemporary writers Plath, Bukowski, Gaiman, and Anne Rice. He finds inspiration in surrealism and the works of artists such as Dali and Man Ray as well as graphic novelists James O’ Barr (creator of “The Crow”) and David Mack (creator of the “Kabuki” series). (Goodreads)

Why I love the cover: the colors

The cover is stunning! It makes me think of the beauty of autumn and the colors of the trees as the leaves start to turn. I love the pairing of orange and browns with gold. It adds a majestic quality to the overall image while the makeup (I love the eyeshadow) and hairstyle makes it lean toward the whimsy. I love the overall effect.

* I believe this is the artist credited for the cover image. If not, please let me know.

Cuttings by Ananth Panagariya, illus. by Yuko Ota

cover art by Yuko Ota

What’s it about:

It’s a collection of the creators’ comics up to year 2014, as well as sketches and other concepts Ota had drawn. They usually publish their comics on their blog. (Goodreads)

Why I love it: the skeletal hand overlapping the normal one

That’s the image that caught my eye when I saw this book in someone’s hand at Small Press Expo 2016. I made a beeline to the creators’ booth to get myself a copy. I also like the color palette of the cover and that the title is written on a white band along the bottom that makes me think of a bandage. The overall design made me think of Dia de los Muertes (I guess because of the skeletal hand), autumn, and halloween.

The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, Vol. 1: At the Edge of Empire by Daniel Kraus

cover art by Ken Taylor
cover design by Lizzy Bromley

What’s it about:

May 7, 1896. Dusk. A swaggering seventeen-year-old gangster named Zebulon Finch is gunned down on the shores of Lake Michigan. But after mere minutes in the void, he is mysteriously resurrected.

His second life will be nothing like his first.

Zebulon’s new existence begins as a sideshow attraction in a traveling medicine show. From there, he will be poked and prodded by a scientist obsessed with mastering the secrets of death. He will fight in the trenches of World War I. He will run from his nightmares—and from poverty—in Depression-era New York City. And he will become the companion of the most beautiful woman in Hollywood.

Love, hate, hope, and horror—Zebulon finds them. But will he ever find redemption? (Goodreads)

Why I love the cover: the overall design

It makes me think of steampunk, vintage, art deco. I love that it’s all drenched in rust red, which gives it a macabre appeal, especially considering what the story is about, and I love the image of the man in the mask, who must be the scientist, that looms over the protagonist in the middle. The two seem to be negative images of each other, but my favorite images are the gramophone horns to either side of the characters. I like the highlights in them and think they help to fill out and balance the illustration.

Euphoria by Lily King

cover photo by Christopher Martin Photography
cover design by Chin Yee Lai

What’s it about:

Inspired by the true story of a woman who changed the way we understand our world.

In 1933 three young, gifted anthropologists are thrown together in the jungle of New Guinea. They are Nell Stone, fascinating, magnetic and famous for her controversial work studying South Pacific tribes, her intelligent and aggressive husband Fen, and Andrew Bankson, who stumbles into the lives of this strange couple and becomes totally enthralled. Within months the trio are producing their best ever work, but soon a firestorm of fierce love and jealousy begins to burn out of control, threatening their bonds, their careers, and, ultimately, their lives… (Goodreads)

Why I love the cover: the colors

Until I started googling information about the book’s cover for this post, I’ve always thought that it’s a painting or other artwork created with oil pastels or something, but definitely an artwork. I didn’t expect it to be a tree!

The cover image is a close-up photo of a rainbow eucalyptus tree that’s common to Papua New Guinea. According to this blog post on Pan Macmillan’s website, when the tree sheds its outer bark, it leaves a bright green inner bark that darkens to the beautiful colored bark with its blues, purples, oranges, and maroons (like on the book’s cover). I think it’s beautiful and amazing and shows how much of an artist nature is.

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

cover image inspired by William Morris
cover design by Peter Dyer

What’s it about:

Set in Victorian London and an Essex village in the 1890’s, and enlivened by the debates on scientific and medical discovery which defined the era, The Essex Serpent has at its heart the story of two extraordinary people who fall for each other, but not in the usual way.

They are Cora Seaborne and Will Ransome. Cora is a well-to-do London widow who moves to the Essex parish of Aldwinter, and Will is the local vicar. They meet as their village is engulfed by rumours that the mythical Essex Serpent, once said to roam the marshes claiming human lives, has returned. Cora, a keen amateur naturalist is enthralled, convinced the beast may be a real undiscovered species. But Will sees his parishioners’ agitation as a moral panic, a deviation from true faith. Although they can agree on absolutely nothing, as the seasons turn around them in this quiet corner of England, they find themselves inexorably drawn together and torn apart. (Goodreads)

Why I love the cover: the colors and pattern

Altogether, the overall design is very eye-catching, and I can’t help pausing to admire it whenever I see it. It was designed by art director Peter Dyer, who took inspiration from the textiles of William Morris, a British textile designer, poet, and social activist who lived in the late 1800s.

I like the band of green color that twines amongst the flowers to give the impression of the serpent, and I even like the simple patterns on that green area that hint at scales but often make me think of brick pavings. Actually, when I first saw the cover, I thought the twisting green area was a path in a garden or something. I like that the background is jet black, which makes the images and colors pop. I think the overall design does a good job using negative space throughout the abundant details.


Well, that’s it for BBC #4.

I hope you found here some new books with great covers to read. 🙂

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26 thoughts on “BBC #4: Autumn Colors

  1. I love this post!! So many beautiful book covers. I particularly like The Book of Bera – such a unique and intricate cover. The Essex Serpent is beautiful too, and I love that it’s inspired by William Morris’s work. I actually recently looked at some of his designs and read a bit about him (when researching pre-1900s fantasy, since he wrote the ‘The Well at World’s End’) so it’s fun to see the similarities in this one.

    Also that is incredible there is a rainbow eucalyptus!! I thought the image looked like bark straight away, as I’ve seen lots of eucalyptus bark in Australia, but I presumed someone had painted onto it… I can’t believe that colour is natural!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • 😄 glad you like it. The bark of the rainbow eucalyptus is so beautiful. That’s cool that you’ve seen others in Australia. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a eucalyptus tree before, or maybe I have but didn’t notice.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well most eucalyptus look far more ordinary than that rainbow one so maybe you’ve seen them but not noticed 🙂 Oh and I don’t know if it’s a eucalyptus or not, but if you ever get a chance to see/touch a paperbark tree (also Australian – not sure if they’re common anywhere else) they’re very cool – the bark is spongy to touch and comes off in thin pale sheets (or wads of sheets) like paper.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Oh cool! Now I want to go touch a paperbark tree. I’m gonna check if there’s one at the National Arboretum.
          ….I just googled them and I think I may have seen one before, but I’m not sure.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Cool! Well hopefully they have one – it depends how much it’s shedding at the time as to how spongy it feels, but it’s always got a papery texture. As a kid I used to used to love tearing off bits to draw on, but my mum stopped me from overdoing it since it’s bad for the tree (and I don’t do it anymore 🙂 ).

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  2. Pingback: Trick or Treat Round the Block | Spooky Scary | Halloween Book Tags | Zezee with Books

  3. Off this list The Essex Serpent and Euphoria are both on my TBR. I must admit, I’d never seen the remaining covers before.

    That graphic novel edition of Frankenstein looks freaking awesome! Is it a modern retelling? or is it the classic book with illustrations? Just wondering about the leather jacket lol

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  4. “Before The Feast” and “Cuttings” look so stunning. A beautiful cover always enhances my mood for reading the book. Thank you for posting such visually-pleasing images.

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    • They are great. Yup! The cover of Essex Serpent made me get the e-book and still tempts me to get the physical one. I want to read it and make sure I like it before I do so though.

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