Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Covers of books adapted for the screen

"When a book is turned into a major motion picture, its cover becomes a blatant advert for the movie. Am I alone in finding that incredibly offputting?," asks Henrietta Clancy over at the Guardian books blog.

No, Henrietta, you are not alone.

I'd state my vexation a little differently, but here's the start of Clancy's case:

Do you judge a book by its cover? I do.

A quick peruse down the book aisle absorbing the mere fa├žades of what's on offer, leaves me very opinionated indeed. I'm afraid to say that I am guilty of judging a book by its cover, and that the blurb on the back is pretty much rendered useless by comparison. I generally don't like photographs ..., I'm put off when a popular author has a signature book cover that he churns out annually in slightly different colours and I'm not a fan of any form of embossing or metallics. But the one thing that I absolutely cannot tolerate, that I completely and utterly abhor, is the splashing of a Hollywood star on my book cover teamed with the capitalised statement NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE.

This blatant advertising of the film feels like a message to the potential reader, as if the book itself is saying, "Look, I've been made into a film; why don't you watch me instead? It will be quicker". And the book is right, you might as well watch it at this stage because it will be physically impossible to read the book without sticking the faces of the star-studded cast onto the characters in your head. The beauty of a book is that we are left to devise our own images of the characters within the pages; we get to play an active part in the reading of the book, make use of our very able imaginations.

Read the rest of her argument.

Related items here on the blog:
Book covers: UK vs. US
Books and their covers
Longmire Does Romance Novels
The best book cover of 2006?
The Best Book Covers of 2006
Manolo Blahnik & Madame Bovary
A fashion editor's top books on shoes
Attractive author, seductive book
Books and their covers
Judging a book by its cover

--Marshal Zeringue