• The 14 Best Book Covers of October

    Things are getting weird

    Another month of books, another month of book covers. October is (arguably, I guess) both the best month of the year and the weirdest. The covers, naturally, follow suit. Here are my favorites from this year’s spooky season:

    Guy Gunaratne, <a href=https://lithub.com/the-14-best-book-covers-of-october/ Guy Gunaratne, Mister, Mister; cover design by Jack Smyth (Pantheon, October 3)

    Very cool mixed media collage, and even cooler custom text. Also, I’d like to say to the gentleman on this cover: hard same, man.

    Athena Dixon's book of essays, The Loneliness Files Athena Dixon, The Loneliness Files; cover design by Beth Steidle (Tin House, October 3)

    “It is hard to visually represent loneliness in a way that does not skew towards the familiar—white expanses, empty rooms, curtains and windows, vases without flowers,” Steidle told Lit Hub. “And while those images successfully convey their message, this book is modern and urgent, and needed a different approach. Modern loneliness is crowded. It is filled with bodies, digital and analog, with real life on one side and manufactured life on the other.” Read more about it here.

    Olga Ravn, tr. Sophia Hersi Smith & Jennifer Russell, My Work Olga Ravn, tr. Sophia Hersi Smith and Jennifer Russell, My Work; cover design by Joan Wong (New Directions, October 10)

    My favorite kind of book cover: deeply—but oh so casually—deranged.

    Jhumpa Lahiri, tr. Todd Portnowitz, Roman Stories Jhumpa Lahiri, tr. Todd Portnowitz, Roman Stories; cover design by Janet Hansen (Knopf, October 10)

    Crown shyness in vivid color.

    justin torres blackouts Justin Torres, Blackouts; cover design by Na Kim (FSG, October 10)

    “Explaining the concept behind the cover feels impossible and almost deranged because it’s an amalgamation of so many things!” Kim told Lit Hub. “The large black mass impeding the majority of the cover takes the shape of one of the torn pages from the Sex Variants Study (a book heavily featured throughout the novel). The application of black on black also nods to the stories within the stories, and the idea of shadows still existing in the dark. The peeking hyena is a character pulled from an illustrated children’s book within the novel. Like I said, this cover is a real hodgepodge of so many ideas and images, but hopefully it came together to create something cohesive and beautiful.” Read more about it here.

    Molly McGhee, <a href=https://lithub.com/the-14-best-book-covers-of-october/ Molly McGhee, Jonathan Abernathy You Are Kind; cover design by Alicia Tatone (Astra House, October 17)

    Something something psychedelic grim reaper—a weirdly perfect cover for the book at hand. (Plus, the scythe looped through the O is a tiny touch of genius.)

    future future Adam Thirlwell, The Future Future; cover design by Alex Merto (FSG, October 17)

    I always love Merto’s sense of humor—there is something so simple about this, and yet so brilliant, something so elegant and yet so silly. (And true story: I picked this book up off my desk because of the cover, and read it, and loved it. Publishing success!)

    Ahmed Naji, tr. Katharine Halls, <a class="external" href=https://lithub.com/the-14-best-book-covers-of-october/ Ahmed Naji, tr. Katharine Halls, Rotten Evidence: Reading and Writing in an Egyptian Prison; cover design by Sunra Thompson, illustration by Sophy Hollington (McSweeney’s, October 17)

    It looks like the cover for an ultra-modern horror story—which in a way I suppose it is.

    Reggie Watts, <em><a class="external" href=https://lithub.com/the-14-best-book-covers-of-october/ Reggie Watts, Great Falls, MT: Fast Times, Post-Punk Weirdos, and a Tale of Coming Home Again; cover design by Ben Denzer, photograph of Watts by Sarah Pardini (Tiny Reparations Press, October 17)

    A delightfully weird book cover for a delightfully weird performer.

    Marie NDiaye, Vengeance Is Mine Marie NDiaye, tr. Jordan Stump, Vengeance Is Mine; cover design by Keenan (Knopf, October 17)

    This is a very effective version of the double layer/ripped paper technique; the red dagger is a double entendre all by itself.

    Greg Jackson, The Dimensions of a Cave Greg Jackson, The Dimensions of a Cave; cover design by Rodrigo Corral (FSG, October 24)

    I mean, we’ve got Plato, lurking in the clouds like a god, his left eye closed behind—is it? yes—half a CD. What’s not to like?

    organ meats K-Ming Chang, Organ Meats; cover design by Michael Morris (One World, October 24)

    “I wanted it to feel dynamic, like it was coming at you but also drawing your eye in,” Morris told Lit Hub. “I wanted to somehow portray or hint at blood in a more unexpected way that would make the view look twice. A red string, that the main characters wear as collars sparked the idea of the red string abstractly portrayed as foliage that the dog explosively tore its way through.” Read more about it here.

    A.K. Blakemore, The Glutton A.K. Blakemore, The Glutton; cover design by Alicia Tatone (Scribner, October 31)

    A cover that feels gluttonous indeed.

    Ludmila Ulitskaya, tr. Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, <a href=https://lithub.com/the-14-best-book-covers-of-october/ Ludmila Ulitskaya, tr. Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, The Body of the Soul: Stories; cover design and illustration by Sarah Schulte (Yale University Press, October 31)

    So delicate, so lovely.

    Emily Temple
    Emily Temple
    Emily Temple is the managing editor at Lit Hub. Her first novel, The Lightness, was published by William Morrow/HarperCollins in June 2020. You can buy it here.

    More Story
    Check out the 25 new books out in paperback this month. November is almost upon us, and, as the weather cools, you might find yourself wanting to reach for a new book to curl up with,...
  • Become a Lit Hub Supporting Member: Because Books Matter

    For the past decade, Literary Hub has brought you the best of the book world for free—no paywall. But our future relies on you. In return for a donation, you’ll get an ad-free reading experience, exclusive editors’ picks, book giveaways, and our coveted Joan Didion Lit Hub tote bag. Most importantly, you’ll keep independent book coverage alive and thriving on the internet.