Our favourite book covers of 2016

Staff share their favourite book covers of the past year.


‘My favourite book cover (I could just eat it!) is The Secret Lives of Colours.’ – Jan Lockwood, human resources manager


‘The cover of Moonglow by Michael Chabon makes it the hardcover book of my dreams – it has a matte base with a few shiny bits, minimal colour on a classy screen-print style design, and it even has the name of my favourite author on the front. I’d be happy with a bookcase filled exclusively with copies of this one book, quite frankly.’

‘Scribe publishing house are known for designing some pretty gorgeous (and award-winning) covers including… The Love of a Bad Man by Laura Elizabeth Woollett; The Near and The Far, an anthology of stories from the Asia Pacific region; A Beautiful Young Wife by Tommy Weringa; and Between a Wolf and a Dog by Georgia Blain.’ – Amy Vuleta, St Kilda shop manager


‘Some of my favourite cover designs this year are the gorgeous sea anemone-esque patterning of Jennifer Down’s debut Our Magic Hour, the illustrated giraffe necks of Fiona McFarlane’s story collection The High Places and the intriguing combination of railroad tracks with contrasting fonts of Colson Whitehead’s novel The Underground Railroad. I also love the striking use of photographs on the covers of both Margo Jefferson’s Negroland and Simon Morrison’s Bolshoi Confidential.’

‘Ultimately though, there are two books that top my list – both with tactile covers that you really should seek out in person to fully appreciate. Melbourne designer Rosetta Lake Mills created Briohny Doyle’s The Island Will Sink which is smart, bold and eye-catching. And UK designer James Edgar created Kassia St Clair’s The Secret Lives of Colour which is, quite simply, a joy.’ – Bronte Coates, digital content coordinator


‘I love the wintery starkness of the landscape in Hannah Kent’s The Good People, the lovely shapes and colours on Brit Bennett’s The Mothers, the clever way the title is sinking into the waves on Brihony Doyle’s This Island Will Sink, and the intricate design on Nicola Yoon’s The Sun Is Also a Star. (You can see an intereting behind the scenes of how Yoon’s cover was created here.)’ – Nina Kenwood, marketing manager


'I love the cover of Emma Cline’s The Girls – the 70s typography and the sun-drenched, overexposed vibe is simply stunning. Honourable mentions also go to Scribe’s fantastic cover for Melissa Broder’s So Sad Today and the neon delight that is Julie Koh’s Portable Curiosities.’ – Alan Vaarwerk, editorial assistant for Readings Monthly


‘In my role here at Readings the best book covers always have lots of pictures (because Facebook doesn’t like images with too much text) and a bit of a face (for our series of #BookFaceFriday photos that we put on Instagram every week). From a purely personal perspective though, I can’t go past Helen Oyeyemi’s What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours. It’s almost impossible to describe how lovely this book is in person. A gorgeously produced hardcover with an exposed sewn spine, the cover features a simple black and white sketch of a single rose and the title. The text is embossed in gold in a curly and ornate font that makes me think of classic fairytales, but the supremely minimalistic binding gives it a modern, edgy feel. Plus, the stories within its pages live up to expectations.’ – Lian Hingee, digital marketing manager


‘My favourite section of the shop to shelve is young adult fiction, and there have been some beautifully designed YA covers this year. Some favourites are the dark and mysterious Vassa in the Night and A Thousand Nights, the cosmically crafty The Sun Is Also a Star, and the topsy-turvy One Would Think The Deep. My top pick in YA books is the elegant Deco-inspired The Graces.’

‘I’ve also enjoyed the way publishers have pushed to come up with creative designs for children’s non-fiction covers this year. In my youth, children’s non-fiction books tended to look quite daggy but they’ve now become beautifully-designed objects that appeal to all ages. I love the look of Mr Matisse and his Cut-outs, The Illustrated Compendium of Amazing Animal Facts, Women in Science, and Illuminature. My favourite is also the simplest: Seeing Things.’ – Leanne Hall, children’s and YA bookseller

The Secret Lives of Colour: RADIO 4's BOOK OF THE WEEK

The Secret Lives of Colour: RADIO 4’s BOOK OF THE WEEK

Kassia St Clair

$39.99Buy now

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