The 2011 Judge a Book by its Cover Competition …

Each year, as a fun, interactive way to get people talking about books, and to praise good book design, Salty Ink hosts an interactive a Judge-a-book-by-its-cover competition for titles released that year, by an Atlantic Canadian or a writer living there. Salty Ink picks what it deems the best 12 jackets of the year, and let’s the people take it from there.


- Do NOT vote for your favourite book or because you like that author.

- Pretend you’ve read none of these.

- Vote for the book whose design, paired with its backcover summary, would entice you the most to read the book.

Click a cover to enlarge and read text:

A Description of the Blazing World
by Michael Murphy
Design by: Grace Cheong

Fun Fact about Michael Murphy:
His brother is the frontman for the popular band Wintersleep, and they have done a musical side project together, called Postdata, and I love it. Here’s a song called “Paranoid Clusters” of that album:

At First, Lonely
by Tanya Davis
Design: Matt Reid

Fun Fact about Tanya Davis:
She is adorable. And also a musician. She’s also the poet laureate of Halifax, and you’ll know her as the poet who went viral with this delightful collaboration with filmmaker Andrea Dorfman.:

Deluded Your Sailors
by Michelle Butler Hallett
Design: Todd Manning

Fun Fact about Michelle Butler Hallett:
She’s played a big role in helping Riddle Fence, Canada’s classiest, hippest, youngest literary journal become the great, glossy, full-colour magazine it is. She’s also published not just four books of fiction, but has had non-fiction, poetry, and scripts published or win awards.

Double Talk
by Patrick Warner
Designer: Rhonda Molloy

Fun fact about Patrick Warner:
Patrick is also a poet and librarian, and hilarious. IN fact he’s a two-time winner of the EJ Pratt Poetry award. Double Talk, featured here,  is his debut novel, and his most recent book of (stellar) poems, Mole, placed 7 out of 23 in Salty Ink’s 2009 Judge a Book by its Cover Contest.

Easy to Like
by Ed Riche
Design: Daniel Cullen

Fun Fact about Ed Riche:
Ed knows more about wine than Miles from Sideways (an amazing movie, by the way), so this book is a wine lover’s delight. Also, Ed’s first novel, Rare Birds, was a major league movie, featuring Molly Parker of Deadwood fame and William Hurt. I was recently asked to share a top 10 list of the best books out of Newfoundland for an upcoming book. Rare Birds made the cut.

Glass Boys
by Nicole Lundrigan
Design: Jessica Sullivan

Fun Fact about Nicole Lundrigan:
Nicole is a trained physical anthropologist; has been hunched over archeological digs, conjuring up stories of how people lived. A natural segue into fiction? or just a cool one. To borrow from the Winnipeg Free PRess review, ” Lundrigan no longer digs for bones, but conjures her characters with a vivid imagination while never quite abandoning the empirical sensibility of an anthropologist.”  She’s also lived with a Baron and Baroness in the Chateau de Prouzel, France.

Incidents in the Life of Markus Paul
by David Adams Richards
Design: Andrew Roberts

Fun Fact about David Adams Richards:
David Adams Richards is such a literary icon he’s been named to the Order of Canada. Top that. He also wrote one of my favourite books: Mercy Among the Children. If you’d like your heart torn out of your chest and stamped upon, I would recommend all 400 pages of it.

by Rob Benvie
Design: Bill Kennedy

Fun Fact about Rob Benvie:
There’s a reason musician Joel Plaskett endorsed this novel on the back cover: they used to be in a band together. An epic 90′s band not too far off the epicness of Nirvana and Pearl Jam, in terms of the Canadian indie rock scene of the 1990s. Here’s a Thrush Hermit song where they shared the mic quite a bit more than most songs: “Western Dreamz”:

This Will be Difficult to Explain
by Johanna Skibsrud
Design: Michael Vrana

Fun Fact about Johanna Skibsrud:
Johanna won last year’s Giller Prize, Canada’s richest, most esteemed literary award. And if that’s not enough to impress you, she’s also a poet who, maybe for the first time ever, had both a novel and a book of poems up for an Atlantic Book Award in the same year.

Tide Road
by Valerie Compton
Design: Jaye Haworth

Fun Fact about Valerie Compton:
This is Valerie’s amazing debut novel, but she’s been writing for years, cleaning up with her short fiction (shortlisted for the CBC literary award, published in Grain, Malahat Review, etc) and is a critic for many a place and teaches writing as well. I came across a line of hers I liked in an interview: “When I teach fiction writing, I do not say ‘write what you know.’ I say, ‘write what you want to know.’ How else to sustain one’s interest in an imagined narrative over the course of many years?” There’s a deeper meaning there. Personally, when I write, it’s just one long conversation with myself, asking questions I wish I had the answer to. In Valerie’s case, this novel stemmed from ”an attempt to understand a strong image I’d had of Sonia.”

The Virgin Cure
by Ami McKay
Design: Kelly Hill

Fun Fact about Ami McKay:
Ami’s debut, The Birth House, was one of the most wildly successful Canadian novels of the last decade. The Virgin Cure, her latest, is inspired by the life of her great-grandmother. And digging around the family closet is nothing new to Ami. “When I was a child I loved finding things … a jar of my grandmother’s old buttons, a cigar box filled with boy scout badges and river stones … with every relic I discovered, there came a story. Real or imagined, the tales that surrounded each object were magic, making the ‘thing’ more immediate, something more than it was before I’d found it. Fact or fiction, fantastic, joyful or sad, stories make us more than we were before we found them.”

You Could Believe in Nothing
by Jamie Fitzpatrick
Design: by Jennifer Embree

Fun Fact about Jamie Fitzpatrick:
Jamie is the host of CBC’s The Performance Hour. This is his debut, so notable it was winning awards before it was even published.

 NOTE: You can only vote once per computer / IP Address. If you cannot vote, it means someone has already voted from your compuer, home, or place of work.


You Can Vote for TWO Covers!

  • At First, Lonely (27%, 208 Votes)
  • Glass Boys (23%, 174 Votes)
  • You Could Believe in Nothing (13%, 96 Votes)
  • A Description of the Blazing World (13%, 95 Votes)
  • Maintenance (11%, 83 Votes)
  • Tide Road (11%, 81 Votes)
  • Easy to Like (11%, 80 Votes)
  • The Virgin Cure (9%, 68 Votes)
  • Deluded Your Sailors (9%, 66 Votes)
  • Double Talk (6%, 47 Votes)
  • Incidents in the Life of Markus Paul (5%, 41 Votes)
  • This Will Be Difficult to Explain (5%, 38 Votes)

Total Voters: 757

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