Thursday, June 17, 2010

Go ahead--judge this book by its cover

I'm a little late to the game on these, since they came out late last summer, but I spied this Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition of Wurthering Heights at the library last week, and it literally stopped me in my tracks.

How fabulous is that?

I'll admit it--I can't count myself as a fan of Wuthering Heights. I've read it twice and really, really tried. I can see Emily Bronte's genius as a writer and storyteller; but the story she had to tell... Yikes. However, I am in love with this book cover (the illustrations run onto the inside flaps of the book jacket as well), illustrated by Ruben Toledo. For me, they evoke perfectly the twisted, gothic, torrid world of Cathy and Heathcliff. Heathcliff's actually my favorite part of the illustration--he has a kind of sinister James Dean thing going on. It actually makes me want to give the book another chance. And I definitely need this on my bookshelf.

Toledo illustrated two other classic book covers for Penguin as well, Pride and Prejudice,

and the Scarlet Letter.

Toledo's take on Pride and Prejudice doesn't quite work for me. It's a little too Tim Burton for the BBC version that I have running constantly through my head, but I like the Scarlet Letter. It doesn't put me in the novel as well as Toledo's version of Wuthering Heights, but it's an interesting take on Hawthorne. I especially like the gossips. It feels like Desperate Housewives meets Puritan New England, which is kind of fun.

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