Wordsworth Classics is familiar name to many book lovers but maybe not for the best reason. They print high-quality paperback versions of beloved literary classics at a low price. After your local library, Wordsworth is one of the best places to look for these titles on the cheap. However, Wordsworth Classics is also infamous for printing some absolutely horrendous covers. So, we at Bookstr have taken it upon ourselves to create a definitive list of the absolute worst Wordsworth Classics Book Covers.
Yikers. Again, that second one falls just on the wrong the side of the uncanny valley.
Look, we’re not saying we don’t respect the Wordsworth Classics hustle. And thankfully they’ve printed editions with better covers, so you don’t have to tolerate these crimes against graphic design if you want get your hands on these classic stories…
….though often the new ones aren’t even that much of an improvement.
The internet is full of strange and wonderful things, and it seems like everyone online has more talent in their pinkie than I do in my whole body. I love it. There’s a wonderfully large community for book cover redesigns, and every cover re-designers should probably have professional book design jobs. You may ask, will we ever have enough designs for Harry Potter dust jackets? These artists don’t seem to think so.
1. Art Deco Redesign by asheaths on Tumblr
These are simple but punchy, and they would make beautiful display copies. The shelf envy would be so real. Designs for the spines weren’t included, but even stacked they’d be gorgeous.
Images via Tumblr
2. Stylized German Book Covers by Olly Moss
These designs may seem more traditional, but don’t let the clean simplicity of the art style fool you. Through details and color, these covers convey the feeling of each book like you’re reading them again for the first time.
Images via Tumblr
3. Glow In The Dark Cutouts by Kincso Nagy
The piece de resistance—cutout and luminous, these copies glow inside and out. Beautiful cutouts back by luminescent paint, popup illustrations, and pretty matte covers make these outrageously beautiful. I want a hundred.
Widely acclaimed maestro of horror Stephen King has as many jokes up his sleeve as the next guy, but we at Bookstr still think he takes the titles of his books too seriously. Why should The Stand be called The Stand if you have to sit down while you’re reading it? Who reads 500+ page novels standing up?
Find the answers to this question, and more, in this week’s edition of hilariously honest book covers, where we edit the classic cover art of famous books to better describe what readers will find inside them. Got ideas for hilariously honest book covers of your own? Send them our way, and we’ll give you a shoutout.
For our take on some of the ‘Game of Thrones’ titles, click here.
The way we go about reading a book has always been straight forward; we pick our meticulously bonded pieces of paper and simply read. Sometimes this isn’t enough, sometimes we crave more than the traditional experience. Some of the world’s most creative, well, creatives, have taken literary classics and some not so classic and presented them to the public in unique ways.
The following list contains some of the coolest, subtle and completely jarring book designs that challenge the generic physical presentation often associated with a “book” for those who are looking for something new…
1. A Heat Sensitive Edition Of Fahrenheit 451 By Ray Bradbury
Well that’s ironic. The Jan Van Eyck Academie in the Netherlands created a version of Ray Bradbury’s classic dystopian novel where the text only becomes visible when one heats the book up. These inspired individuals have not only created a unique, yet dangerous reading experience, but may have also inadvertently found a cure for pyromania. They’ve been working on marketing and distribution since 2017 and it looks like it’s about to be available to the public this year; don’t take my word for it, this could be fake. But hey, purchase here.
Image Via Superterrain.fr
2. Rolling Words by Snoop Dogg
The national treasure that is Snoop D-O-G-G has officially blown the minds of the literary community right out of his favorite mothership bong. This gem of a book contains the lyrics to many of the master’s songs, all written in non-toxic ink. Why do you ask? Because the pages are perforated and made of rolling paper. Yeah. One can be eloquently reminded of one the nation’s most memorable musical artists while prepping for a “session.” In addition to rolling paper pages, this book is made entirely of hemp with a spine that you can strike a match on. Unfortunately, this was a promotional item and doesn’t seem to be available anywhere other than your smelly neighbor’s eBay account.
Most readers and writers love coffee and it’s ever-surprising legality. I mean, an individual can get pretty cranked up on caffeine to the point where they probably shouldn’t be operating heavy machinery … Anyway, Martha Hayden most likely took this love for caffeine into account when creating this next beauty. Coffee Stains is a book containing twenty-two pages made from coffee residue. The cover is made from paper that comes from villages in Nepal. These villages contain vegetation called “Lotka”, a bush that regenerates after being dismantled. The book itself is beautifully “painted” and talks about the health benefits of coffee. Overall, a very hipster and environmentally-friendly read.
Image Via Marthahayden.com
4. We’re Getting On by James Kaelan
This novel verges on ironic in the same way as numero uno, *spoiler alert* so will the one that follows this one. The first editions of James Kaelan’s novel, about a group of friends who move to the Nevada desert in an admirable attempt to live without technology, are filled with recycled paper and have covers made of birch seed. The characters in his novel face troubles associated with the contemporary American experience and it’s all meant to be quite an eye-opener for the reader. So basically, you can plant this book upon completion and save the world. Why does the air suddenly feel so dense?
Image Via Flavorwire.com
5. A Censored Version Of Nineteen Eighty-Four Or 1984 (It’s Published Both Ways)
This one may not be that elaborate, however, this book is awesome and the simplicity of the design here is charming enough to warrant mention. In 2013, Penguin books, with the help of David Pearson, released a version of George Orwell’s classic novel whose cover blacked out the name of said author and its forever recognizable title. Nineteen Eighty-Four is, of course, about a bleak dystopian society where Big Brother pretty much censors everything. Thought police exist to prevent independent thinking etc. Thoughtcrime, doublethink—everyone knows about this novel. Solid work Mr. Orwell, we tip the brim of our hats in rememberance once again.
Image Via TheVerge.com
6. The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson’s Envelope Poems by Emily Dickinson
Emily Dickinson wrote a boatload of poetry in her lifetime, however only twelve or so were published in the traditional sense. Beyond this, she wrote a lot of her poems in homemade books that were found after her death. Some of her drafts were written on scrap pieces of paper and envelopes. In an endearing collection of these 52 #envelopepoems Dickinson can be found at her most awesome and radical stage. It also offers the reader insight into a very relatable process: writing. She’s easily one of the greatest poets to ever live.
Image Via Gwarlingo.com
7. Self-Destructing The Imp Of The Perverse By Edgar Allan Poe
This short story by Edgar Allan is all about doing things we know we shouldn’t do. Total self-destruction. A special interactive edition of this short story allows the reader to destroy the book. It is presented in a grid-system sort of way; it instructs the reader to fold and tear in a specific way that reveals the hidden text. Although this is a bit of a one-off, who doesn’t like a little wreckage?
Image Via Helenfriel.com
8. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad and Illustrated by Matt Kish
Heart of Darkness is a notoriously difficult read. It’s hard for someone to picture all that goes on; this version of Conrad’s novella (which inspired the film ApocalypseNow) is illustrated in a way that illuminates the character Marlow’s journey. There is also an index at the back of that book that will aid anyone wondering what inspired Kish’s drawings (the lines and phrases from the book).
Image Via Tinhouse.com
9.S./ Ship Of Theseus By Doug Dorst & J.J Abrams
One day, critically acclaimed director, J.J. Abrams, came up with a book idea. This book’s story then takes place in the margins of another book. So, he hired a writer and made it happen. The novel inside of S. is entitled Ship of Theseusand in its margins are what appear to be handwritten exchanges between two students who are reading it. They attempt to solve the mystery of the book’s authorship while also flirting here and there. It’s a truly fun read that also gifts the reader with various items stuffed between its pages– happy meals for swiftly aging book nerds. All hail the man whose name is Jeffrey Jacob Abrams.
Award-winning actress Viola Davis recently wrote Corduroy Takes a Bow in celebration of Don Freeman’s iconic children’s series’ 50th anniversary.
The beloved bear introduced in the series’ premiere book, Corduroy, has won the hearts of generations of readers, including Davis. Davis agreed to write the children’s book in large part for her daughter. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Davis revealed that the series had been a favorite of her daughter’s and she couldn’t pass up the opportunity to pen a book in the series.
“That was the story that stuck. It’s just close to my heart. Certain characters stay with you, and that’s Corduroy.”
Image Via Amazon
While Corduroy was a factor in Davis’ love of reading, it was her adventures to the library that really drew her into the literary world.
“I do remember that book. But when I started reading the book, it was one of several books that I was in love with; it was just the library itself that totally captured me. The smell of the pages. Certainly, Corduroy was a part of that adventure, a bigger part of my escape.”
Image Via Clipground
Corduroy certainly has his own string of adventures, and Corduroy Takes a Bow sees his newfound adventure with his first trip to the theater, a place Davis knows all too well.
A graduate of Juilliard, Davis found success on stage through her powerful performances, earning her first Tony Award in 2001 for her role in King Hedley II. Davis applied her familiarity and success in theater throughout her process of writing Corduroy.
“I explored every bit of the theater that has left an imprint on me. That’s what I did while I was writing this book. Sometimes you forget that stuff. Sometimes, you need the imagination of a child to come back to life again. To remember why you fell in love with anything.”