BBC #7: Dazzling 2019 Book Covers

I missed out on doing this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, but the topic so appealed to me that I decided to do a BBC post instead.

BBC is a meme I created to feature beautiful book covers. Since January is often spent reflecting on the previous year, I’ve decided to make this BBC post about 2019 book covers. The following are all great cover designs of books that were published in 2019; but the first three are my favorites.

Bangkok Wakes to Rain by Pitchaya Sudbanthad

cover design by Grace Han

What it is about:

A missionary doctor pines for his native New England even as he succumbs to the vibrant chaos of nineteenth-century Siam. A post-World War II society woman marries, mothers, and holds court, little suspecting her solitary fate. A jazz pianist in the age of rock, haunted by his own ghosts, is summoned to appease the house’s resident spirits. In the present, a young woman tries to outpace the long shadow of her political past. And in a New Krungthep yet to come, savvy teenagers row tourists past landmarks of the drowned old city they themselves do not remember.

Time collapses as these lives collide and converge, linked by the forces voraciously making and remaking the amphibious, ever-morphing capital itself. Bangkok Wakes to Rain is an elegy for what time erases and a love song to all that persists, yearning, into the unknowable future. (Goodreads)

Why I like the cover:

Of all the covers featured here, this is my absolute favorite. It’s probably my favorite cover design of all the books published in 2019 that I’ve seen. I love how the gold block letters contrast with the green causing the words to easily jump out; I love the variety of textures; I love the green flowing down the cover as if the cover is melting or is raining green.

This cover stood out the most to me in 2019. Every time I saw it in the bookstore, I had to pick it up and admire it. It tempted me to reach out and touch it, always tricking me into thinking that I might feel the textures it hints at.

I couldn’t find a website that lists all of Grace Han’s work, but here is an interview where she discusses some of the covers she has designed: Behind the Book Covers with Riverhead’s Grace Han

Humiliation by Paulina Flores

cover design by Nicole Caputo

What it is about:

The nine mesmerizing stories in Humiliation, translated from the Spanish by Man Booker International Prize finalist Megan McDowell, present us with a Chile we seldom see in fiction: port cities marked by poverty and brimming with plans of rebellion; apartment buildings populated with dominant mothers and voyeuristic neighbors; library steps that lead students to literature, but also into encounters with other arts—those of seduction, self-delusion, sabotage.

Themes of pride, shame, and disgrace—small and large, personal and public—tie the stories in this collection together. Humiliation becomes revelation as we watch Paulina Flores’s characters move from an age of innocence into a world of conflicting sensations. (Goodreads)

Why I like the cover:

This cover is also a high favorite of mine. It’s amazing. The design is simple, but it evokes a feeling in me when I see it. I think it captures well feelings of humiliation, shame, and disgrace, which, to me, sometimes come as a blow that sticks to me for some time before (hopefully) fading away. I think Caputo’s cover captures this. The blush tone of the background gives the impression of skin and the gradation of color around the peeling humiliation adds texture but also gives me the impression of a hard blow of humiliation to the person that is slowly peeling away.

I’ll most likely get this book sometime this year. I love the cover and the synopsis sounds interesting to me.

If you are curious about Caputo’s design process for this cover, check out this post on LitHub: Sometimes You Have to Build the Book Cover in Your Living Room

Frankly in Love by David Yoon

cover design by Owen Gildersleeve

What it is about:

High school senior Frank Li is a Limbo–his term for Korean-American kids who find themselves caught between their parents’ traditional expectations and their own Southern California upbringing. His parents have one rule when it comes to romance–“Date Korean”–which proves complicated when Frank falls for Brit Means, who is smart, beautiful–and white. Fellow Limbo Joy Song is in a similar predicament, and so they make a pact: they’ll pretend to date each other in order to gain their freedom. Frank thinks it’s the perfect plan, but in the end, Frank and Joy’s fake-dating maneuver leaves him wondering if he ever really understood love–or himself–at all. (Goodreads)

Why I like the cover:

The cover of Frankly in Love is another of my favorite cover designs of 2019. I work part-time at a bookstore and I remember when this book came in. I could not tear my eyes away from the cover. It easily stands out on the shelves. I love that it’s striking in its simplicity. The colors play well off each other. The lemon yellow calls attention to it, and the illusion of depth in the typography plays with viewer’s eyes making her reach out to touch the cover, curious about how it may feel.

The typography is the most amazing thing about the cover. I love the layers receding into the book, which seems to lure a potential reader into wondering what is within — what is the book about? And, of course, I love the variety of blues used (my favorite color). What you don’t see here is that the book has sprayed edges that are the same color as the deep, dark blue at the center of the letters. I think the sprayed edges adds to the overall design by emphasizing the depth in the letters.

Gildersleeve’s cover design won the 2020 Communication Arts Typography Annual Award. Visit his website for more details and photos of his process in designing this cover. Also, visit David Yoon’s website for an interview where Gildersleeve discusses his creative process.

The Siberian Dilemma by Martin Cruz Smith

cover design by David Litman

What it is about:

Journalist Tatiana Petrovna is on the move. Arkady Renko, iconic Moscow investigator and Tatiana’s part-time lover, hasn’t seen her since she left on assignment over a month ago. When she doesn’t arrive on her scheduled train, he’s positive something is wrong. No one else thinks Renko should be worried—Tatiana is known to disappear during deep assignments—but he knows her enemies all too well and the criminal lengths they’ll go to keep her quiet.

Renko embarks on a dangerous journey to find Tatiana and bring her back. From the banks of Lake Baikal to rundown Chita, Renko slowly learns that Tatiana has been profiling the rise of political dissident Mikhail Kuznetsov, a golden boy of modern oil wealth and the first to pose a true threat to Putin’s rule in over a decade. Though Kuznetsov seems like the perfect candidate to take on the corruption in Russian politics, his reputation becomes clouded when Boris Benz, his business partner and best friend, turns up dead. In a land of shamans and brutally cold nights, oligarchs wealthy on northern oil, and sea monsters that are said to prowl the deepest lake in the world, Renko needs all his wits about him to get Tatiana out alive. (Goodreads)

Why I like the cover:

Because it’s amazing when I look at it from afar. Up close, I think it cover is okay. I saw it while working at the bookstore and liked the placement of the letters and wondered why are there only letters, snow, and trees on the cover. Then I saw it from afar and thought the illusion of the title seeming to zoom out at me was pretty cool.

Bombay Balchão by Jane Borges

cover design by Mohit Suneja

What it is about:

Bombay was the city everyone came to in the early decades of the nineteenth century: among them, the Goans and the Mangaloreans. Looking for safe harbour, livelihood, and a new place to call home. Communities congregated around churches and markets, sharing lord and land with the native East Indians. The young among them were nudged on to the path of marriage, procreation and godliness, though noble intentions were often ambushed by errant love and plain and simple lust. As in the story of Annette and Benji (and Joe) or Michael and Merlyn (and Ellena).

Lovers and haters, friends and family, married men and determined singles, churchgoers and abstainers, Bombay Balchão is a tangled tale of ordinary lives – of a woman who loses her husband to a dockyard explosion and turns to bootlegging, a teen romance that drowns like a paper boat, a social misfit rescued by his addiction to crosswords, a wife who tries to exorcise the spirit of her dead mother-in-law from her husband, a rebellious young woman who spurns true love for the abandonment of dance. Ordinary, except when seen through their own eyes. Then, it’s legend.

Set in Cavel, a tiny Catholic neighbourhood on Bombay’s D’Lima Street, this delightful debut novel is painted with many shades of history and memory, laughter and melancholy, sunshine and silver rain. (Goodreads)

Why I like the cover:

I wouldn’t have know of this novel if not for Resh Susan’s post, 30 Delicious Book Covers of 2019. Bombay Balchão was one of many that stood out me. I love the illustration — the details in the buildings and the body language of the figures — and the colors used. It makes me curious about the story and want to read the book. I get the impression that it’s a fun read.

If you are curious about the novel too, check out Resh Susan’s review in the Huffington Post.

Cogito by Victor Dixen

cover design by Jim Tierney

What it is about:

[Translated from French by Google Translate]

A GIFT FROM THE SKY…
Roxane, eighteen, plunged into delinquency when his parents lost their jobs, replaced by robots.
His last chance to win the Corporate Access Certificate: a neural programming internship, a new technology promising to transform anyone into genius.
… OR A COVENANT WITH THE DEVIL?
For the spring break, Roxane flies to the Fortunées Islands, a futuristic tropical archipelago entirely dedicated to cyber-cramming.
But is this experimental method which uses artificial intelligence to “improve” the very substance of the human mind really safe?
By offering his brain to science, did Roxane sell his soul to the devil?
TOMORROW, ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE WILL INVADE ALL THE STRATES OF SOCIETY.
THE ULTIMATE BORDER WILL BE OUR BRAIN. (Goodreads)

Why I like the cover:

I learned about this novel from the Casual Optimist, a blog about books, design, and culture. The novel is in French, which is why I used Google Translate for the synopsis. I have no idea if the app did an accurate job or not; but it seems to have.

I love line work, which is why this design appealed to me. I like that in the background is a crowd of lines that resemble computer circuitry from which the title stands out as well as illustrations of images relating to the story. It’s pretty cool.

So I have no background in design. I simply admire book covers and it wasn’t until I started this series of posts that I tried to find out who are the designers behind the covers I love. Well, when I recently visited Tierney’s website, I realized that I’ve been a longtime fan of the dude’s work. Many of the covers I love are designed by him, like the new Dune covers, Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore, The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert, A Passage to Shambhala: The Explorer’s Guild, Vol. 1 by Jon Baird and Kevin Costner, illus. by Rick Ross, and many others. His wife, Sara Wood, is also a designer. One of my favorites by her is the cover of The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney.

Hurricane Season by Nicole Melleby

cover design by Carla Weise and art by David Litchfield

What it is about:

Fig, a sixth grader, wants more than anything to see the world as her father does. The once-renowned pianist, who hasn’t composed a song in years and has unpredictable good and bad days, is something of a mystery to Fig. Though she’s a science and math nerd, she tries taking an art class just to be closer to him, to experience life the way an artist does. But then Fig’s dad shows up at school, disoriented and desperately searching for Fig. Not only has the class not brought Fig closer to understanding him, it has brought social services to their door.

Diving into books about Van Gogh to understand the madness of artists, calling on her best friend for advice, and turning to a new neighbor for support, Fig continues to try everything she can think of to understand her father, to save him from himself, and to find space in her life to discover who she is even as the walls are falling down around her.

Nicole Melleby’s Hurricane Season is a stunning novel about a girl struggling to be a kid as pressing adult concerns weigh on her. It’s also about taking risks and facing danger, about love and art, and about coming of age and coming out. And more than anything else, it is a story of the healing power of love—and the limits of that power. (Goodreads)

Why I like the cover:

I love the illustration. It’s breathtaking. I first saw it on Instagram and immediately added it to my books collection there. I love the variety of colors used, the suggestion of movement in the sky (which makes me think of hurricane winds), and that it reminds me of Vincent Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night.”

Shadows of Winterspell by Amy Wilson

cover design by Helen Crawford-White

What it is about:

Stella has been living behind the magic of the forest for most of her life. Lonely, she enrolls at the local school, and as she begins to make friends, she discovers that she is even more different than she thought. But as autumn turns to magical winter, Stella realizes that uncovering her own family secret is the only way to release the forest from the grip of a dark and old magic. (Goodreads)

Why I like the cover:

The illustration and colors used make this cover exude magic. I love that it seems to capture a chance sighting of a stag in the forest. I love that the light filtering through the trees makes them seem to light up and that the dusting of snow makes the trees seem to have fairy lights on them. It wasn’t until I started working on this post that I noticed the shadows peeking out at the stag. I overlooked them at first thinking them part of the tree.

This is another cover that makes me curious about the story and want to read it.

The Starlight Watchmaker by Lauren James

cover design by Helen Crawford-White

What it is about:

Wealthy students from across the galaxy come to learn at the prestigious academy where Hugo toils as a watchmaker. But he is one of the lucky ones. Many androids like him are jobless and homeless. Someone like Dorian could never understand their struggle — or so Hugo thinks when the pompous duke comes banging at his door. But when Dorian’s broken time-travel watch leads them to discover a sinister scheme, the pair must reconcile their differences if they are to find the culprit in time.

A wildly imaginative sci-fi adventure from YA star Lauren James, particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers age 13+. (Goodreads)

Why I like the cover:

This is Crawford-White’s second entry on this list! With The Starlight Watchmaker, it’s the illustration of the gears that appeal to me. The illustration is not too mechanical but seems to have more craftsmanship about them. I also love the colors used, which gives the overall composition a light, magical feel despite the story being of the sci-fi genre. The script typography used for parts of the title and the author’s name is also appealing.

I really like Crawford-White’s work. She also designed the cover of The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson, which I like and was published in 2019.

The Clockwork Ghost by Laura Ruby

cover design by Aurora Parlagreco and art by Jie Ma

What it is about:

It was only a few weeks ago that the Biedermann twins, Tess and Theo, along with their friend Jaime Cruz, followed the secrets of the Morningstarrs’ cipher further anyone had in its century-and-a-half history—and destroyed their beloved home in the process. But the Old York Cipher still isn’t solved. The demolition of 354 W. 73rd Street only revealed the next clue in the greatest mystery of the modern world, and if Tess, Theo, and Jaime want to discover what lies at the end of the puzzle laid into the buildings of New York by its brilliant, enigmatic architects, they will need to press on.

But doing so could prove even more dangerous than they know. It is clear that the Morningstarr twins marshaled all the strange technology they had spent their lives creating in the construction of the Cipher, and that technology has its own plans for those who pursue it. It is also clear that Tess, Theo, and Jaime are not the only ones on the trail of the treasure. As enemies both known and unknown close in on them from all sides and the very foundations of the city seem to crumble around them, they will have to ask themselves how far they will go to change the unchangeable—and whether the price of knowing the secrets of the Morningstarrs is one they are willing to pay. (Goodreads)

Why I like the cover:

I think it’s the huge mechanical clock and the title of the series in a similar mechanical design that appeals to me. My eyes are always drawn to this cover when it’s facing out on the shelves at the bookstore. I always pick it up and take a closer look as if seeing it for the first time. I also like the tone of the light exuding from the cover; it’s a soft, golden glow that seems to come from the skylight and the bulbs in the O. That sounds silly, but that soft glow does seem to beckon to the viewer.


Well, that’s it for BBC #7.

I hope you found here some new books with dazzling covers to add to your shelves.

18 thoughts on “BBC #7: Dazzling 2019 Book Covers

  1. I personally prefer books with illustrations on the cover, particularly faces like With the Fire on High and Let’s Go Swimming on Doomsday but Frankly in Love is one of those covers that stands out so beautifully 🙂

    Like

    1. Those types don’t often appeal to me, but I do like With the Fire on High. I think it’s because the figure has a wrap on her hair and I was like “Yea, I rock that too sometimes.” 🙂 lol
      The sense of dept on Frankly in Love makes it easily stand out all the time. It’s such an attractive cover.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ooh, I love this! And BBC is such a cool name. The covers of Cogito and Starlight are beautiful. But my favorite is probably The Clockwork Ghost. 😍💕 Have you read this book? Sounds really interesting. I’m going to add it to my TBR!

    Have a great reading week.
    Leaving the link of both my TTT and newest creative post below in case you want to check it out later. 🙂
    TTT: https://saraabesukhan.com/top-ten-top-5-tuesday-favorite-book-covers-most-anticipated-2020-releases/
    Letter: https://saraabesukhan.com/unsigned-love-letters-in-the-memory-of-loving/

    Like

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