The best book covers from 2015

Staff share their favourite book covers of the past year.


Nina Kenwood fell in love with a lot of pink covers this year

When looking at the covers that stood out to me this year, the colour pink was a recurring theme. I adore the bright, striking design on Fates and Furies – this is the kind of cover I can’t resist when I see it on the shelf. I have to pick it up. (And, I will add, it’s certainly worth picking up, as the book is terrific). Another absolute stand-out cover from this year is the stunning The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood. On first glance, it seems soft and feminine, but on closer inspection, you can see the knife and chains and more sinister undertones. Abigail Ulman’s Hot Little Hands also uses soft pink well – and I love the big, bold type. Finally, Gold Fame Citrus is so eye-catching, with its simple yellow and pink design that hints at the sand dune wasteland within.


Bronte Coates thought Claudia Rankine’s cover was a stand-out

Like Nina says above, there were a stack of fantastic pink (or with a strong pink detail) book covers this year that grabbed my attention: Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff, The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood, The Adventures of Holly White and the Incredible Sex Machine by Krissy Kneen, Single, Carefree, Mellow by Katherine Heiny, Gold Fame Citrus and Life Moves Pretty Fast by Hadley Freeman.

A stand-out for me this year was Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric (published in Australia this year). The image is of a 1993 artwork by David Hammons, depicting an empty sweatshirt hood against a white background. It’s such a striking, powerful work, bringing to mind a phrase from Zora Neale Hurston that Rankine refers to in the book: “I feel most colored when I am thrown against a sharp white background.”


Lian Hingee is a ridiculous hipster for book covers (her words!)

There’s something really satisfying about the dichotomy at work on the cover of Lisa Cooper’s The Flowers. The richness of the colours, and the play of light and shadow brings to mind Renaissance paintings, but there’s also something really contemporary and Instagrammish about the way it focuses on the hands of the figure.

Julie Morstad’s illustrations for This is Sadie (with words from Julie Morstad) have a quirky naiveté to them that softens their surrealism nicely. The image of the book’s wildly imaginative protagonist Sadie standing in a field of wildflowers, her face covered by a fox mask, puts me in mind of the films of Wes Anderson, and This is Sadie has a similar off-beat charm.


Chris Gordon’s top pick for cookbooks is Tokyo Cult Recipes

Of all the cookbooks I came across this year, I love Maori Murota’s Tokyo Cult Recipes best of all. The geometric shapes paired with a bold fluorescent font and colour seems to say: “Bang, come and get me.”

In addition, Tokyo Cult Recipes had an interior to match its exterior, having earned itself a spot on our top ten cookbooks of the year list. The best part is that none of the recipes here are complicated, nor do they require a vast knowledge of Japanese cuisine.


Stella Charls is a fan of green covers, despite that pesky superstition…

The current publishing trend of text based rather than illustrated or photographic book covers has reigned supreme in 2015, much to my delight. Personal favourites range from the strikingly colourful (Hot Little Hands, Leap, Fates and Furies, Hope Farm, Lives of the Artists, Lives of the Architects, Gold Fame Citrus, When There’s Nowhere Else to Run, The Extreme Centre: A Warning to covers that play with black and white design (Black Rock White City, Guantanamo Diary, Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl, The First Bad Man). Quite a few covers have cleverly incorporated shiny gold or silver elements which, like some kind of bowerbird, are guaranteed to steal my attention in a busy bookshop (Lion Attack, Indoor Green, The Terrace House, Mongrel Rapture).

Special mention must go to Resurrection Bay, an Australian novel that features on our list of the Best of Crime of 2015. Noted for its refreshing diversity of characters, Resurrection Bay also boasts a particularly diverse cover for a crime book with the text dominating, punctuated by lines of bright yellow. No sign of your usual crime tropes – the back of a figure walking into the distance down a misty alleyway lit by a lone lamppost etc.

One of the most affecting things I read this year was the incredible novel Dept. of Speculation, and I was absolutely fascinated to read about the process of designing the cover for the paperback edition here. I also want to mention that while Morrissey’s debut novel, List of the Lost, might have won him more attention for winning the Bad Sex in Fiction Award, I think its cover remains one of the year’s most eye-catching.

Finally, there’s an old saying in publishing that green covers won’t sell unless the book is about gardening or golf (you can read more about this here)… Despite this, I’m leaving you with my four absolute favourite book covers of 2015, all of which coincidentally boast beautiful, predominantly green covers: A Whole Life, Fever of Animals, Stories from Other Places and Beauty is a Wound.

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The Natural Way of Things

The Natural Way of Things

Charlotte Wood

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