Review: Jane Austen Cover to Cover by Margaret C. Sullivan

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Jane Austen Cover to Cover by Margaret C. SullivanJane Austen Cover to Cover: 200 Years of Classic Book Covers by Margaret C. Sullivan
Published by Quirk Books on November 11, 2014
Genres: Nonfiction
Pages: 224
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

Jane Austen’s six novels are true classics, still immensely popular some 200 years after their first publication. But although the celebrated stories never change, the covers are always different. Jane Austen Cover to Covercompiles two centuries of design, from elegant Victorian hardcovers and the famed 1894 “Peacock” edition to 1950s pulp, movie tie-in editions, graphic novels, foreign-language translations, and many, many others. Filled with beautiful artwork and insightful commentary, this fascinating and visually intriguing collection is a must for Janeites, design geeks, and book lovers of every stripe.

Initially, I wasn’t so sure about Jane Austen Cover by Cover. I mean, obviously when the chance to review it came, I leaped on it like Caroline Bingley on an offer of marriage from a man of good fortune. A Christina in sight of anything having to do with Jane Austen must be in want of said item. I have zero self-control. Though I’ve managed to keep from adding every single terrible published fan fic of Austen’s novels to my Goodreads shelves, I can promise that I have an incredibly unhealthy to desire to read every single one. To say that I’m obsessed is to put the situation rather mildly.

Still, I was worried about having accepted Jane Austen Cover to Cover. How the heck would I possibly review this? I hardly review non-fiction titles and I’ve always struggled to do so. This seemed like it would be worse, since it consisted mostly of photos. Of course, one reviewing method is just to blabber on and on about how hard it is to review something. That’s working well so far.

Actually, though, Jane Austen Cover to Cover turned out to be so much more awesome than I had anticipated. The joy began when I opened the package containing it. The packaging on this book is gorgeous. Quirk spares no expense in putting together their books. This book is full color and the layout, fonts and colors induce eyegasms. Also, I swear this book smells better than any other review book I’ve ever gotten. I’m not much of a booksniffer and my allergies have been terrible, but I could smell its aroma as I read and I want to live in this smell.

Jane Austen Cover to Cover doesn’t hit every cover of every edition of Jane Austen, which is probably impossible and would be exhausting. Instead, Sullivan hits on some of the main indicative styles of the day, going into the logic (or lack there of) of various editions and the additional materials included within. There are occasional pages of historical information about Austen or the publication of her novels, which add some history and context.

Since you’re here reading my blog, I’m guessing that you would probably enjoy Jane Austen Cover to Cover. This sounds like a really big assumption, but it may not be. What makes Jane Austen Cover to Cover so much fun is the wittiness of Sullivan in her commentaries on the covers. Essentially, reading this book is like reading a well-researched, Jane-focused Cover Snark. If you enjoy my Cover Snark posts, this is probably worth a peruse. If you also love Jane Austen, you probably want to add it to your personal collection.

Sullivan helpfully includes some information on collecting and storing books at the end, rightly knowing that you will now want to buy all of the editions you can get your greedy book-loving hands on. I have never been a multiple edition book person—that seemed wasteful when I can only need one—but I suddenly have a strong desire to buy all the copies of Austen I can. Please save me from myself.

Favorite Quote:

Here is one of my favorite pages from Jane Austen Cover to Cover to give you an idea of the humor:

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Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 gif super important

4 responses to “Review: Jane Austen Cover to Cover by Margaret C. Sullivan”

  1. Sarah C says:

    Ack, this book sounds perfect, more than enough to tempt me (into reading it). 😉 I am afraid I am one of those people who has bought various versions of Austen’s books for their covers alone, so this really sounds like something I will enjoy. Thank you for your review!
    Sarah C recently posted…Review: Illusions of FateMy Profile

  2. Ahh! I’m so excited to read this! That photo you shared is hilarious. I’ve asked for this for Christmas, but I’m not sure I will be able to wait that long to read this beauty.
    Quinn @ Quinn’s Book Nook recently posted…Audio Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie StiefvaterMy Profile

  3. Dragana says:

    Jane Austen themed cover snark. Yes please!

    I share your compulsion to read any Jane Austen fan fiction I come across. I even read ’50 Shades of Mr. Darcy’. :o)
    Dragana recently posted…Book Review & Favorite Quotes: The Last Changeling by Chelsea PitcherMy Profile

  4. Jane Austen cover snark! That sold me 😀 Glad there’s more to it than *just* pictures. I rarely buy coffee-table type books and when I do they have to be super awesome. This sounds super awesome. Who doesn’t love Jane and interesting tidbits about book covers?

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