BOOK BY ITS COVER

What do a bestselling author’s highly anticipated third novel, a coffee-table ‘must have’, and a collection of short stories written by an India-born American have in common? Well, the answer is pretty much nothing… only that they all have brilliant, eye-catching covers!

The Perfectly Imperfect Home: How to Decorate and Live Well by Deborah Needleman (Clarkson Potter)
Now, I saw this book the other day and I immediately appreciated it for its role as a totally indulgent, lovely looking object. Needleman’s gorgeous guide to decorating your home is beautifully adorned throughout with the watercolour illustrations of the talented Virginia Johnson (who also designs rather beautiful clothes.) The inside is as pleasing as the cover, with sumptuous end papers, and Needleman’s expert advice on how to pick out everything from curtains to cushions is far from flippant. She knows how to make a house a home and tailor everything you buy to suit your style and tastes. Easier said than done!

I am an Executioner: Love Stories by Rajesh Parameswaran (Bloomsbury)
What a fab cover! It’s fun and bright; simple and linear, but with lots going on. I really like the garish tiger-print background and the playful tiger-tail heart. If you tried to describe this cover to a blind person it would sound pretty gross, right? But somehow it’s not – and I love it! Parameswaran’s debut collection of short stories ranges from a tiger that has fallen in love with its keeper to an executioner who can’t comprehend why his new wife won’t touch him. Powerful, magical and very dark.


The Red House by Mark Haddon (Jonathan Cape)
This is a book I have been waiting six years to read! I love both of Haddon’s previous novels: A Spot of Bother (have six years really passed since I read that?!), and his genius bestselling debut, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. In his latest, a man and his dysfunctional family go to stay in a rented house on the Welsh border, bringing with them all their quirks, their emotional baggage, and a fair few long-buried family secrets. I think the cover is intelligent and striking – a cleverly adapted willow pattern design, which employs all the symbolism derived from broken china to reflect the tense, funny, affecting family drama held within the novel’s pages.

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