Week on the web


Here are my finds for this week…

Have YOU found anything interesting this week?


Week on the web


Here are my finds for this week…

Ah, humanity. I give you rainbows, but you prefer 50 Shades of Grey.

Isn’t that funny? Plus, God is following exactly one person, and you know who that is? Justin Bieber! Love it!

    What have you found this week?


Comparing covers: The Sunday Philosophy Club

Since I have already been going on about the ugly cover of the second book it’s high time to talk about the covers of the first book in the Sunday Philosophy Club series.

No doubt, the first cover is the best of all.  The fourth one is way too colourful and the whole style is not fitting at all. I have no idea what the coffee cups on the other English and one of the French covers have to do with the story. Yeah, people drink coffee, but then again, who doesn’t? Somehow publishers must think that Alexander McCall Smith and coffee go together well. There are also cups of coffee on my cover of “Friends, Lovers, Chocolate” and (this time fully justified) on “The perils of morning coffee".

The German cover is quite good again, however, the German tendency to use idiotic, misleading titles in order to attract the masses is very annoying. I have no idea why. Whereas ALL other languages stick to the original title the Germans changed it into a plain mystery title. “In Edinburgh murder is forbidden”, what on Earth is that supposed to mean? Is murder allowed elsewhere? The Germans just can’t leave well alone when it comes to book titles. No wonder some people on Amazon were disappointed with the book. Then again, if they buy a book with such a moronic title, they don’t deserve better.

I don’t care in the least for the Italian or Spanish illustrations. The Bulgarian cover (the title is a literal translation of the original according to Google translator) reflects the location, the Portuguese one the place where the “murder” happens, which I like in this case.

Which is your favourite cover?

The Sunday Philosophy Club The Sunday Philosophy Club The Sunday Philosophy Club The Sunday Philosophy Club The Sunday Philosophy Club French The Sunday Philosophy Club French

The Sunday Philosophy Club German The Sunday Philosophy Club Italian The Sunday Philosophy Club Bulgarian The Sunday Philosophy Club Spanish The Sunday Philosophy Club Portuguese


Can you rely on ISBN numbers?

Normally I am not particular when it comes to book covers. I like a beautiful cover and am glad to look at it, but if a slightly less attractive cover is considerably less expensive I go for that one. Even when it comes to series I am not fussy and just buy what is out there, not waiting for a specific cover or anything.

That being said I have set my heart on The Sunday Philosophy Club series by Alexander McCall Smith. I especially like, no, I love the Anchor issues with the illustrated covers (examples here). So I ordered a few of them on from marketplace (cheap, you see, I don’t mind used books) and made sure I ordered the right covers.

Now, a couple of days ago I got one of them and was totally disappointed when I received a cover (from now on called “Ugly”) that was not what I had ordered (that one would be “Pretty”). It was this one. Needless to say I immediately sat down to complain to the seller when I noticed that on Ugly’s spine it said “Anchor”. I checked its ISBN number and it was Pretty’s very number. Further investigation showed that on the real Ugly had a different ISBN number and was published by Canada Vintage. But my personal Ugly said Anchor and had Pretty’s number. What gives?

On they also sell Ugly, this time published by Anchor without an ISBN number, but with an ASIN. Is there something I don’t get?

Am I too anal? Do you particularly care what covers your books have? And if you have a series and there is on Ugly peeking out of between all the Pretties, what do you do?


Week on the web #2


Here are my finds for this week…


Ugly covers anyone?


Judith from Leeswammes’ blog is starting another competition. After her successful “Back of the book” competition she is now hosting an “ugly covers” one.

Have you got books with covers so ugly that you normally cover them up when reading them? It’s time to *un-cover* them again and send an image to Judith, so she has some material to work with.

Of course there are prizes. This is what Judith says:

"Each week for 5 weeks, I will show you 5 covers and you have to choose the ugliest one. Every week there will be one winning cover (in case of a draw, I will have the final say). The sixth week, we’ll have the 5 winning covers back, and the most ugly, absolutely impossibly awful cover, will win the competition.

Your task is to vote for the ugliest cover each week. Of all participants who chose the final, winning, cover in one of the first 5 rounds, one will win a book of their choice."

For more information hop on over to Leeswammes’ blog.


Comparing covers: Girl with a pearl earring

I had a look at the various covers of Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier. All the covers feature one way or the other the painting by Vermeer, not surprising really.

Here are some British or US covers, some of which have a second painting on them which is also mentioned in the book, a view of Delft. I like those best. If you would like to know more about Vermeer, his life and art, I recommend to go to Essential Vermeer. That site has – among a lot of other information – a great interactive guide to Vermeer’s paintings that explains them in great detail.

girl_pearl_1 girl_pearl_2 girl_pearl_3

girl_pearl_4 girl_pearl_5

Here is a German, French and Italian one:

girl_pearl_dt girl_pearl_frgirl_pearl_it

Undoubtedly, it won’t take very long before the first cover appears that looks like this….


Already the first covers turn up that promote the book as “now a major motion picture” (see third English one).


Penguin threads: Embroidered book covers

secret_garden Have you seen the covers of the new Penguin threads deluxe editions that are going to be released in fall? I am so drooling over the pictures at Jillian Tamaki’s blog. She is the artist who designs the new covers for “Emma”, “The Secret Garden” and “Black Beauty”. Aren’t they just gorgeous?

The covers of the books sold will obviously not be hand-embroidered (a bit too expensive for most) but will be sort of embossed and a tactile experience nevertheless.

The also has a short article about this the project.

Click on the image to see a larger version.

Image is a screenshot from Jillian Tamaki’s blog.


Comparing Covers: The mysteries of Udolpho

I found “The mysteries of Udolpho” by Ann Radcliffe on my German swap site recently. Its cover was quite surprising as it reminds me rather of a 1950s detective story than a Gothic novel from the 18th century.

The mysteries of Udolpho

So it was time for another cover compare. These are the other English covers I found, but I am sure there are many, many more:

udolpho1 udolpho2 udolpho3

udolpho4 udolpho5 udolpho6

Then there is a French and an Italian cover.

udolpho_fr udolpho_it


My favourites would be the first English cover in the second row. I like Caspar David Friedrich’s paintings, especially this one which is called “Kreidefelsen auf Rügen”. I also like the Italian cover, I just can’t resist pink!

Strangely enough there doesn’t seem to be any German version. A translation was published in 1795 called “Udolphos Geheimnisse” (a literal translation), but there is no new edition, no cover to be found, no nothing. Either there are not many German Gothic fans or they all ask for the original.

Which cover do you like best?

If you are now interested in reading this, The Mysteries of Udolpho is available as a free e-book at Project Gutenberg. Enjoy!


Comparing covers: The garden of Eden

There are quite a few different covers out for “The garden of Eden” by Ernest Hemingway.

garden_of_eden_covereden1 eden2

eden3 eden5 eden6


My two favourite ones are the first two. The third one is ok, I suppose, no. four I am not sure about. What exactly is this supposed to be? The first German one, hm, the girl is not at all what I picture her to be like. The second German one is absurd. Is this supposed to be David? Ridiculous! The beach is ok, not saying much about the story and definitely makes it look more idyllic than it is. The book contains other love stories as well, but The garden of Eden is the cover story.

Which one do you like best, especially if you know the story?


Comparing covers: The sun also rises

I read “The sun also rises” by Ernest Hemingway in February and quite liked it. So, it’s time to look at some of its covers. The title of the book when it was published in the UK in 1927 was “Fiesta” and this is what it is still called in Germany.

I couldn’t find a lot of German covers unfortunately, but there are plenty of English ones (and still more than I am showing here).

Fiesta German

Most of the covers focus on the bullfight, not surprising given the book title, but even though the “fiesta” is an important part of the book and there IS a bullfight I think that an image of a bullfight gives the potential reader a wrong impression of the book. Mine is the 6th one, one of the least attractive, but swappers can’t be choosers.

1926 1927 UK fiesta_engl_2

fiesta_engl_3 fiesta_engl_1 fiesta_engl_8


I also found an Italian cover, which I actually like best (in spite of the bull motif).

Fiesta Italian

And yet another one, this time Spanish…

Fiesta Spanish


Which one do you like best?


Comparing covers: The Magic Mountain

The reason I have been a bit quiet here lately is that I started reading The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann. For once I am reading the book in the original language, but everything else wouldn’t have made much sense, would it?

Time for another cover comparison…

zauberberg1 zauberberg2 zauberberg3

The left photograph looks very much like I imagine the sanatorium to look like. Obviously they just took that image and turned it into an illustration in the third cover. The snow in the second one is quite nice to look at, and makes sense, seeing that it even snows in August up there where the sanatorium is located.


mountain1 mountain2 mountain3

I like the photograph on the left with the view through the window. Even though it gives the story a more positive spin than it should have. Actually there should be a thunderstorm outside. It’s not that a lot of patients seem to leave the sanatorium in good health. The third cover, not sure, the place rather looks like an abbey to me. The second one – plain boring. I don’t like it.

What is your favourite?


Comparing covers: A thousand splendid suns

I read this book quite some time ago for a reading group that never was that successful, but I am grateful that I joined simply because I probably wouldn’t have read A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini otherwise.

suns1 suns2suns3

Even though the yellow covers might reflect the title in  a better way I prefer the other English version. I love the sky and the colors on that one.

I suppose you could translate “splendid” as “strahlend” even though that word would not have come to my mind immediately. To me the German title definitely lacks something, a two-syllable adjective would have been better, because as it is now it just won’t flow. But I am nitpicking here.


Comparing covers: A short history of tractors in Ukrainian

I read this book by Marina Lewycka a few years ago and thought it was so so. I liked the title and found the synopsis quite interesting, but somehow it didn’t live up to my expectations. What drew me to the book in the first place was the retro style of the cover (which was continued with “Two Caravans” and “We are all made of glue”).

shorthistory2 shorthistory3 shorthistory4

shorthistory1 shorthistorydt shorthistorydt_bert

It seems the Germans liked the cover since they kept it, apart from that second one which is a book club edition. The same with the title which is a literal translation of the original one.


Comparing covers: The Neverending Story

Today is about “The Neverending Story” by Michael Ende. The original German title is “Die unendliche Geschichte” which was translated into English literally. I have read this book quite a few times when I was a kid and loved it. I still do. I thought I’d have a look at a few of its covers.

The German covers are all pretty simple. In fact, the simpler the cover of this story is, the better. That’s why I prefer the first one which is a special edition. I have the second one, it is ok. The illustration is rather plain and doesn’t suggest a lot. I don’t like the third one. The snakes, yeah, ok, there is the connection to the book, but other than that I find it rather ugly.

geschichte1 geschichte2 geschichte3

The English covers, well, I like the first one in itself, but I hate the fact that it tries to tell the reader what things look like. The Neverending Story is a book that should leave everything to the imagination of the individual reader. I’m not quite fair here because there are illustrations in my German edition but for some reason they never kept me from creating pictures in my mind at the time. Maybe I was more imaginative when I was younger and never paid attention to pictures in books. The film, however, is a different matter. I absolutely hated the film. The way it depicted Fuchur for example was so disappointing, I was shocked. Unfortunately after seeing that worm like thing it is how I NOW imagine Fuchur in my head whereas before he looked totally different. I have to say it again, I hate that film. And now you know what I think about that second English cover. “Now a fabulous film”, yeah, right. Don’t think so.

geschichte4 geschichte5


Comparing covers: Shiver

I had a look at the magazine from Thalia today and came across a Maggie Stiefvater book that immediately caught my eye. I think, but am not certain, that Shiver is a YA book, not my cup of tea usually, but the plot sounded quite good and the amazon reviews are all raving about it.

This is the blurb: Grace is fascinated by the wolves in the woods behind her house; one yellow-eyed wolf in particular. Sam leads two lives. In winter, he stays in the frozen woods. In summer, he has few months to be human. Grace and Sam finally meet and realize they can’t bear to be apart. Sam must fight to stay human – or risk losing himself, and Grace, for ever.

Doesn’t this sound totally romantic? I am melting away here. I’ll have to give it a try. Just for the cover alone I’d love to buy the German translation, but no, I’ll go for the original.

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The German title once more has nothing to do with the original. “Nach dem Sommer” means “After (the) summer”. 



The Parasol Protectorate series

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The steampunk challenge made me have a look around for various books, among them the Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger which was mentioned quite often as a recommendation:

  • Soulless
  • Changeless
    Now, where is the parasol in the cover, I wonder.
  • Blameless

OK, so today I’m not comparing covers, but I’m rather showing you how a cover is created.

I’m talking about the cover of “Blameless”, the third instalment in the series. If you, like me,  love Photoshop this is going to be especially interesting.


Comparing covers: Carmilla

Sometimes amazon is spooky. The recommendations they give me are so accurate that I wonder where they get their information from. Now don’t say it’s previously bought books or books I looked at recently. I never buy GLBT books on amazon and the last time I bought a vampire book there must have been last year. So I have no idea what made amazon suggest Carmilla. Anyway, they did and it makes sense, but I have it already. I think I read Carmilla about 20 years ago or so. Carmilla, by the way, was written long before Bram Stoker came along.

This is the synopsis from amazon.

Living a lonely existence in a remote schloss in Styria, on the border of Austria and Hungary, Laura and her father play host to an unexpected guest, the beautiful young Carmilla. Her arrival is closely followed by an outbreak of unexplained deaths in the area, while the young women’s growing friendship coincides with a series of nightmares and mysterious nocturnal visitations, and a gradual downward spiral in Laura’s health. A chilling tale of the un-dead, Carmilla is a beautifully written example of the gothic genre. Believed to be the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s gothic masterpiece ‘Dracula’, written over twenty years later, Carmilla stands out as an all-time horror classic.

And here are a few covers in various languages. I only like the German e-book, all the others – no, thanks. The German one seems to be the only title that adds a little to it. It means “Carmilla, the female vampire”.



German e-book



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If you have tasted blood now, no pun intended, and would like to read Carmilla, go to Project Gutenberg and download it for free.


Comparing covers: Rosemary’s Baby

Just because it is such a nice book (I never found it particularly terrifying, even though I usually hate horror of any kind), I’m showing you a few covers of Rosemary’s baby by Ira Levin. It seems there are not too many out there. Main feature is either the old sinister looking building or the ubiquitous pram.

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My favourite one is the first one, because I absolutely love old buildings with a bad reputation, if they come with gargoyles (or grotesques, which I know now. Gargoyles are the ones that spout water. My recent reading material was very educating on various subjects, you see), even better.

I have the second German cover, which I find not so bad either with its black silhouette.

Which one is your favourite cover and did you like the book?


Comparing covers: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Carin’s Friday Coffee chat last week was about our inner Peter Pan. So today I am looking at a few covers of the first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

German (kids’ and adult edition)

HP1_1 HP1_2

I like the way the cover focuses on the chess match. The adult cover doesn’t say much at all about the book. And even though I don’t see the reason for an adult cover (by now everybody who sees you reading this book knows you are reading a kids’  – or is it YA?- book).

UK (kids’ and adult edition)

HP1_3 HP1_4

Hogwarts Express is quite nice, too. I like the adult cover, even though I still don’t see the point).

US (regular, anniversary and collectors’ edition)

HP1_5 HP1_6 HP1_7

I don’t like the covers at all, too flashy for my taste. The collector’s edition is probably supposed to be reminding us of old, leather bound books, but does it achieve it? Not really.

If I was an American reader I would be thoroughly pissed off about the change of title and would boycott the US editions for that reason. Why they felt the need to change the title for the American market is beyond me. The thing has been called the Philosopher’s Stone (or "Stein der Weisen”) within living memory, so why change it? Even IF there are people who have not heard about it they can google it, for Christ’s sake or – as a last resort – use a dictionary.

Which cover do you like best?

Do you think there is a need for adult covers?

What do you think about the change of the American title?

Let me know!


Comparing covers: The Gargoyle

It’s “The Gargoyle” today. Possibly this book will be the September book of the Unputdownables Book Club at Goodreads. But I am planning to read it in the buying ban month September anyway. I managed to finally get a copy at my book swapping site, a copy with my favourite cover, I might add. Even though the cover doesn’t play a part in my decision whether to read a book or not, I still like some better than others. In this case I very much prefer the 7th cover with the woman’s back and the heart.

gargoyle1 gargoyle2 gargoyle3

gargoyle4 gargoyle5 gargoyle6

 gargoyle German cover

I wonder why the English covers have two different quotes in that banner across the heart. One says “Accidents ambush the unsuspecting often violently, just like love”, the other one “Love is as strong as death, as hard as hell”. The German quote (cover 8)  is a translation of the first one.

Another funny thing is that they left out the definite article in the German title. Why would they do that? They could call it “Der Gargoyle” and it would be just fine.

Which cover do you prefer?



Comparing covers: The Mummy

Today it is “The Mummy” by Anne Rice. I just thought about this book the other day, no idea, why. I have read it years ago and liked it quite a bit. As far as I can remember Ramses was quite a sexy character, once he was unwrapped and had recovered from thousands of years of death, wasn’t he?


mummy mummy1 mummy2

die-mumie1 diemumie2 diemumie3


Abu Simbel The first English one, sorry, but this just reminds me of Tut-Ench-Amun. I know it is not his death mask, but it sure evokes it. Just does not fit. They should have used a face from those statues at Abu Simbel. I like the second English one best. Black background, I like the color combo and the fonts. This is the audio book, read by Michael York, hm, I might check this one out. The third one, oh, not sure. I don’t like the evil looking eye.

The Germans: No. 1, yeah, ok, some pharao. No. 2, ditto and a relief, could it be any more Egyptian? No idea whether they have anything to do with Ramses II. No. 3 is downright creepy. Maybe not a bad idea, but I really don’t want to think of the hero in that way. Unfortunately it’s the one I have got.

As for the title. No surprises here. They simply used the  exact literal translation once more.

Source photo Ramses II. Wikimedia


Comparing covers: A suitable boy

Today I’m having a look at a book I liked very much when I first read it. However, A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth is a bit, um, lengthy (about 1400 pages) and I don’t think I will re-read it any time soon. Here is the description from Goodreads:

Vikram Seth’s novel is, at its core, a love story: Lata and her mother, Mrs. Rupa Mehra, are both trying to find — through love or through exacting maternal appraisal — a suitable boy for Lata to marry. Set in the early 1950s, in an India newly independent and struggling through a time of crisis, A Suitable Boy takes us into the richly imagined world of four large extended families and spins a compulsively readable tale of their lives and loves. A sweeping panoramic portrait of a complex, multiethnic society in flux, A Suitable Boy remains the story of ordinary people caught up in a web of love and ambition, humor and sadness, prejudice and reconciliation, the most delicate social etiquette and the most appalling violence.


partie1 partie2 partie3

partie4 partie5

Again I can’t say I am too fussed on the German covers. I have the second one and I think we also have the English issue with the second cover as well, but I very much prefer the first English one. This is what, to me, a book about India must look like (possibly quite prejudiced, but there you have it).

The German title “Eine gute Partie” would probably be “An eligible bachelor” or something along that line, so for me it is close enough, even though the German seems to focus more on the money than the English does. Or does a suitable boy always come loaded? I am not sure.