The Book Catapult

Sometimes You Gotta Judge…

With all the time I spend within the actual pages of books, I thought it was about time I simply judged them by their covers. Therefore I present the Book Catapult’s selections for the Best and Worst Titles and Book Jackets for works published in 2008. This was easier said than done – while this project was inspired by a profoundly bad title, compiling other bad titles and covers proved to be rather challenging. If anyone notices any glaring omissions, let me know.

Winner of The Book Catapult’s Best Book Jacket for 2008:

The Boat by Nam Le (Knopf) The design is by Carol Devine Carson and the photo is Clifford Ross, from his incredible “Hurricane” series.

Runners up:

In Search of Bill Clinton: A Psychological Biography by John Gartner (Macmillan)
China: Portrait of a Country, Liu Heung Shing, editor (Taschen)
The 351 Books of Irma Arcuri by David Bajo (Viking)
Once Were Cops by Ken Bruen (Macmillan)
Maps & Legends by Michael Chabon (McSweeney’s – designed by Jordan Crane)

Winner of The Book Catapult’s Best Book Title of 2008:

Come On Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You All: A New Zealand Story by Christina Thompson (Bloomsbury)


Runners up:

Hairdos of the Mildly Depressed by Doug Crandell (Virgin Books)
– The Butt by Will Self (Bloomsbury)
– When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris (Little, Brown)
The 351 Books of Irma Arcuri by David Bajo (Viking)
– Everything But the Squeal: Eating the Whole Hog in Northern Spain by John Barlow
– 2666 by Roberto Bolano (FSG)




Winner of The Book Catapult’s Worst Book Jacket of 2008:

The School on Heart’s Content Road by Carolyn Chute (Atlantic Monthly Press)

Runners up:

– Liberty by Garrison Keillor (Viking) – where’s Waldo?
– Arctic Drift by Clive Cussler (Putnam) – cover design submitted via fax machine. You really should seek this out in person, to better appreciate the blurry, Microsoft Paint-created iceberg. Truly awful.
– Foreign Body by Robin Cook (Putnam) – subtitled “Has anyone seen my hedgetrimmers?”
– My Sister, My Love by Joyce Carol Oates (Ecco) – flat out ugly.
– Man in the Dark by Paul Auster (Henry Holt) – good book, bad, bad cover.



Winner of The Book Catapult’s Worst Book Title of 2008:

Hot Mahogany by Stuart Woods (Putnam) – This is the book that started all of this. What the hell is this title supposed to mean? Anyone? Mr. Woods, are you out there?

Runners up:

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (Dial Press) – as a bookseller, I have heard every variation of this title, not one of them even remotely correct. In fact, I didn’t know that the word “peel” was in there until last week.
Three Shirt Deal by Stephen J. Cannell (St. Martins) – author also responsible for A-Team scripts, FYI.
The Complete Idiots Guide to Snack Cakes by Leslie Bilderback (Penguin) – I don’t know if this one is bad, per se, but just hilariously stupid.



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One comment on “Sometimes You Gotta Judge…

  1. Christina (Endnotes)
    December 8, 2008

    Oh, my heavens. This post made me laugh.I agree with you on a number of points, but especially regarding the Joyce Carol Oates cover art.I took the dust jacket off and slipped it between two books on a shelf while I read My Sister, My Love.It truly is hideous.

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This entry was posted on November 26, 2008 by in http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post.
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