Normal People – Sally Rooney

Ellie Rowsell

Book Club Update (sort of..)

We’re half way through the month on our first On-line Book Club. We’re finished. I know, we’re just like that annoying kid at school, who put their hand up to tell the teacher they were finished, when you were still trying to figure out the question. So to give the rest of you time to catch up we’ll post our review closer to the end of the month. In the meantime though, we like to say a few words about the cover of the book.

“don’t judge a book by it’s cover” we’re told. I’m never sure why exactly, because some of my own more inspired impulse buys over the years have been specifically because of the cover. The best book covers become classics in their own right. Think, To Kill a Mockingbird or The Great Gatsby. Even if you haven’t read the book you may well recognise the cover. It may be that the cover is no real indication that you’ll like the book, but you know when the publisher takes the time to get the cover right then the chances are that the book is worth the effort.

Which brings us to the cover of  book club choice for the month Normal People. Having just read the book, this cover just about nails it, in terms of the work contained within. Classic, simple and perfectly illustrates the intense relationship of the books main characters Connell and Marianne.

It’s a wonderful book cover designed by Jon Gray  (http://gray318.com/) using an image by Korean artist Henn Kim (https://www.hennkim.com/). Their work compliments each others beautifully and I particularly like the way in which Gray’s design respects  the integrity of the artists original image (she always works in black and white). I’m sure this will be the first of many jackets worn by this book as it is reprinted in the coming years (I’m dreading the TV Tie-in cover already) but it’s going to be hard to top this (future) classic.

Cover design Jon Gray – Image HennKim

It’s odd, in fact to think of how many covers a book will go through in it’s lifetime. A book will often have a different cover in paperback than in the hardback edition. Possibly a concession to the production costs (?) or the different dimensions of the particular edition. The best book covers can be as iconic as a classic album covers. It’s impossible however, to think that an album cover would ever be treated in this fashion. I’m sure it does happen but certainly with nowhere near the frequency of book covers. So the next time you pick up the book take a minute to appreciate the fine work of the book designer and artist.

Do feel free by the way to post comments either on the web page or on Facebook about the book (and/or the cover) In the meantime keep reading and I hope you’re enjoying the book as much as we did?


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Review by: Ellie Rowsell