Lists, Reviews

Monochrome (as clear as black & white): A Top Ten List

In case you haven’t noticed, I happen to like black & white. My blog design is black and white, my photo is black and white, my bedroom is shades of charcoal and white (black walls seemed a tad too…much). So in a bit of a twist on today’s top ten list (which is favorite book covers of all time – as hosted by The Broke and The Bookish), I am sharing my favorite book covers that are primarily…(wait for it)…black and white.


(click to enlarge)

Truly, in no particular order (and yes, I went through a Camus phase, which I think is a right of passage for almost every 19 year old):

10. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. I no longer use The Bell Jar as a test of affection (as I once did), but I would love you forever if you could find The Bell Jar in this particular edition.

9. The Stranger by Albert Camus

8. The Fall by Albert Camus

7. Animal Farm by George Orwell. I still quote Animal Farm all the time.

6. The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks. One of the best disturbing books I’ve read.

5. Moonraker by Ian Fleming

4. Notable American Women by Ben Marcus (author of The Flame Alphabet, a fantastic, colorful cover)

3. Moby Dick by Herman Melville

2. Jaws by Peter Benchley

1. The Road by Cormac McCarthy

What’s your favorite book cover of all time? Do you like black and white? Or are you one of those crazy people who adore color? I happen to like yellow and pink.

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  • Bonnie (@missbonnie13)

    Oh I’m definitely a black and white kinda girl. I am quite fond of purple though. 🙂
    I much prefer that cover of Wasp Factory to the one I have.
    And now that I look… Mr. Banks has many a black and white cover. This one is neat too:

    • Rory

      He does have quite a few excellent covers – I completely forgot about The Crow Road (and that’s the cover I own!).

  • booksaremyfavouriteandbest

    I love that we like many things that are the same and equally many things that are opposite. I like things in black and white (and wear mostly black which, in Australia, is a Melbourne trademark according to people who live in other states) but guess what my favourite colour is? YELLOW! Sunny, bright, happy yellow.

    • Rory

      I do like yellow (and pink), but also wear mostly black. Stripes happen frequently too. I almost never wear yellow except for the world’s ugliest sweater, which I wear often and with pleasure.

  • Lianne @

    There’s something really elegant about black-and-white covers. Great choices! 🙂

    My TTT

    • Rory

      Thanks, I love how they are so simple, yet so striking.

  • Christine @ BookishlyB

    I like the spin you put on it! Good thinking! I love the Moby Dick cover.

    • Rory

      Thanks! It needed something a bit more exciting to be fun…

  • Riv @ Bookish Realm

    Yeah, black and white is the thing. And a little dot of red thrown in for good measure doesn’t hurt either 🙂

    • Rory

      Or yellow, I love black and yellow together.

  • annabel smith

    These covers are striking and look great as a montage but most of them say absolutely nothing at all about the content, so they wouldn’t work for me from a marketing point of view. I need my covers to give me some clues – that’s what makes me want to pick a book up. I especially love blue book covers, and sepia-toned.

    • Rory

      I think most of these are covers of later editions after the work became famous. However, I tend to agree and like my covers to be representative of the work, I particularly like when the covers incorporate retro looking photos (like Love Is a Canoe).

      • annabelsmith

        Yes, I thought the same. If I already know and love a book/author then this kind of cover would definitely work for me for sheer display purposes!

  • Streetlight Reader

    I read the same version of The Stranger by Albert Camus :). I love your list! I agree with Lianne, there’s something about Black & white Covers which just captures your attention.:)

    • Rory

      Most of these covers don’t necessarily describe the book well, but they are very pretty and therefore attention grabbing.

  • comehometobooks

    Ooooh, fun take on the topic. I love how dramatic (but also understated) black and white covers are. Fun list!


    • Rory

      Thanks! I love when books are good, but I also love where they are pretty. Totally highbrow, I know…

  • Maggie

    Oooh, I love all of these covers. I also enjoy a simple, monochrome design, or covers with one bright colour on them. I read Moby Dick on my Kindle last year and now I’m sad that I don’t have that awesome sketch on my cover!

    • Rory

      That is the BEST Moby Dick cover, but I don’t own it either (I wish I did).

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