Monday, September 14, 2020

Top Ten Book Covers with Skulls and Skeletons

 


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week's Top Ten Tuesday theme is a Cover Freebie (pick your own topic related to book covers). I love book cover art and have been known to by a book solely for the cover, so I had to take part in this one. 

I am a big fan of older, and especially vintage, paperbacks, and I love interesting book cover art of all kinds. I collect covers that feature skulls or skeletons so I decided to stick with that theme this week. 

Here are my top ten covers, in no particular order:

Death Wears Pink Shoes by Robert James

A dancing skeleton. A book sent to me by Moira at Clothes in Books because she knows I love skeletons on books. And I loved the story too.



These Bones Were Made for Dancing by Annette Meyers

More dancing skeletons. This is the second book in the Smith and Wetzon series by Annette Meyers. 





Murder Sunny Side Up by R. B. Dominic

This is the first book in a series about Congressman Ben Safford. The series was written by Emma Lathen under the pseudonym R. B. Dominic.




Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett

There are several sub-series within the Discworld series by Pratchett. One of them is the Death series. Mort is the first book in that series, and I read that a few years ago. Reaper Man is the second book in the series, and I have not read it yet.




The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury

A story set on Halloween night. It takes several young boys on a journey through several countries to see different versions of the Halloween story. The illustration is by Leo and Diane Dillon.




Hercule Poirot's Christmas by Agatha Christie

A mystery set at Christmas and one of the better ones I have read. A book sent to me by Moira at Clothes in Books. 



Holiday Homicide by Rufus King

This mystery begins on New Year's Day but is only peripherally related to the holiday. Published in 1940, it is a Nero Wolfe / Archie Goodwin pastiche. A Dell mapback paperback.




Rough Cider by Peter Lovesey

This is one of Peter Lovesey's earlier novels. Published in 1986, it is set in 1964, and involves events that took place during World War II. See reviews at the Historical Novel Society site and At the Scene of the Crime.

 

Land of Dreams by James P Blaylock

A fantasy novel set in a village on the northern California coast. I haven't read and I have had it for years. I did buy it for the cover, but I do plan to read it someday.




King & Joker by Peter Dickinson

This is one of my favorite books ever, AND it has a beautiful skull cover. King & Joker is an alternate history/mystery set in an England where George V's elder brother did not die but lived to become King Victor I, and is later succeeded by his grandson, King Victor II.



43 comments:

Elza Reads said...

Perfect for Halloween! I like this! I've never seen that cover for Hercule Poirot's Christmas. I have read the book though.

Happy TTT and here's my Ten books to proof the world does revolve around me

pattinase (abbott) said...

Well, that is a lot of fun. Wonder if I can think of one.

Lydia said...

I love your theme! So creative.

My post .

Terrie said...

Great theme and list! Who knew skeletons on book covers was such a cool thing?
My list: https://www.bookshelfjourneys.com/post/ttt-great-book-covers

Kay said...

I love this theme, Tracy! And I didn't know there was a cover for the Poirot Christmas book that had a skull either. Though I probably should have. So Christmas-y, right? LOL

Margot Kinberg said...

Oh, that's a great idea for the Top 10, Tracy! And you chose some terrific covers. I think some of those titles are very clever, too.

TracyK said...

Elza thanks for visiting. I enjoyed your list of 10 books about white cats.

Deanna @ A Novel Glimpse said...

These are all slightly creepy. My favorite cover like this is Sugar Skulls.

TracyK said...

Of course you could think of one, Patti. I like doing Top Ten posts but I spend too much time on them. I am learning to be less of a perfectionist.

TracyK said...

Lydia, thanks for checking out my post. I love you list of books featuring rubber duckies on the cover. How could there be so many?

TracyK said...

Terrie, Thanks. I enjoyed your list of very interesting books with good covers. I wish all book covers were as creative as those.

TracyK said...

Kay, one of the nice things about Agatha Christie books are all the nice and varied covers. I wish I could collect them all (or at least the vintage ones).

Astilbe said...

This is so cool!

Here is our Top Ten Tuesday.

Rick Robinson said...

Great post!

TracyK said...

Thanks, Margot. You know how I love cover art work and especially skulls and skeletons in that context. And you are right, the titles are pretty good too.

TracyK said...

Deanna, thanks for stopping by. I have read (and enjoyed) Sugar Skull by Denise Hamilton which has sugar skulls on the cover. Is that the one you are talking about? Or are there others? I am always amazed to find several books with the same or similar titles.

TracyK said...

Rick, Thanks. It was a lot of fun, but I did spend too much time on it.

I am hoping things are getting better where you are. Our air quality got a bit worse today, but not close to anything you have been experiencing.

TracyK said...

Thanks, Astilbe. Your theme of covers with roses on them is lovely. That cover for Pride and Prejudice was especially nice.

Susan said...

Wow, so many skull and skeleton covers! I especially love the one for LAND OF DREAMS. I might have to see if I can find a copy of that one.

Happy TTT!

Susan
www.blogginboutbooks.com

TracyK said...

The cover for Land of Dreams is gorgeous, Susan, and I hope I like the story just as well.

Carl V. Anderson said...

All very fun covers, and also look to be the kind of books that would be fun to read. I've read Blaylock (not this novel) and I've liked both his short stories and novel work.

TracyK said...

Carl, after I read Land of Dreams, I will have to check out more books by Blaylock. Especially, some of his short stories.

Cath said...

I think they are all absolutely wonderful. LOL!

Aj @ Read All The Things! said...

I didn’t know there were so many skull books. These are great! I love vintage covers.

Aj @ Read All The Things!

Judith said...

What a wonderful, macabre tour de force, Tracy! I enjoyed thoroughly.
I will let you know that I am so disturbed by the horrendous, unprecedented extent of the wildfires. We are informed now daily, and feel so saddened. I am sad for the loss of forests, but of course most of all I feel for the people who have lost their homes and their communities.
Yesterday Ken and I were in our woodlands and couldn't help but feel a tragic sense of loss for those who lost theirs. Ours mean so much to us.
Today we were out working in the woodlands again, and though we had been forecast to have a sunny day, we had been notified that the smoke from the fires was in our stratosphere, and would diminish the amount of sunlight somewhat.
Well, we had no blue skies at all. There were no clouds, the sun shone, but through a sky that was purely whitish/sort of beige, with a tint of yellow.
I am so sorry.

Christophe said...

What do you like so much about King and Joker? I have read and very much liked several books by the author, but alternative history has little appeal to me as a genre and so have not read this specific title of his. Curious to hear your thoughts!

TracyK said...

Thank, Cath. I love all of these book covers, and it was very much fun to select the books and put the post together.

TracyK said...

Judith, what a good description, macabre. I truly don't know why I am so attracted to the art of skulls and skeletons, but I do.

Yes, the fires are pretty horrifying, even though we are far from any danger. We have had bad air quality and sometimes the skies are smoggy and yellowish. The air quality got worse today, hope that is hot a bad sign. I had heard that the smoke was drifting all the way to the other side of US, so amazing that it is that bad.

Timothy Johnson said...

Cool covers! Good to see an Agatha Christie novel make the list! It actually might be my favorite on there. I elected to go with a Dean Koontz theme since he is my favorite author. His covers tend to be very intriguing and colorful and I have often began reading one of his books entirely because of the cover. Here is a link to my top ten: https://chroniclesoftheginger.blogspot.com/2020/09/top-ten-tuesday-dean-koontz-book-covers.html

CLM said...

This is great fun! I really liked Annette Meyers' mysteries and used to own them all. I think I decided I might never have time to reread and gave them away - of course, I now regret that. I had a friend who was a headhunter and I was always trying to coax her to read one.

My parents used to read Emma Lathen but except for one with a hockey theme I never got to them. I have read that Christie but don't remember it. I never liked Poirot as much as the other books. In fact, I am tempted to give mine away, completist though I am. But I might regret it!

TracyK said...

Aj, I could do two more posts on this theme. There are so many covers with skulls, skeletons or skeleton hands. I enjoyed your post on blue covers.

TracyK said...

Christophe, that is a hard question for me to answer. I always have difficulty articulating why I like a book. Although I have read a lot of alternative history books that I enjoyed, I do have a hard time getting into them initially. I read King & Joker more as a view of what it must be like in a royal family where you have to be so careful of what you say and do and a very idealized version, I imagine. The story is told from the point of view of a 13-year-old princess and her relationships. I must have read it first in the 1980's and then again in 2015, and I enjoyed it as much or more on rereading.

TracyK said...

Timothy, thanks for visiting. I checked out your Top Ten Tuesday post and I can understand why the covers drawn you into the books. They are very well done.

TracyK said...

Constance, I can sympathize with the problems of giving away books and worrying you may want to read them again later. I cannot keep all the books I read but it is a struggle to get rid of them.

I enjoy the Emma Lathen books for many reasons. I think John Putnam Thatcher is such a great character, and each book introduces me to information about some industry or element of banking and finance. Of course, since the majority were published in the 1960s and 70s, they are out of date now, but that is fine with me.

Lauren Stoolfire said...

Whoa! I've never seen that cover of Reaper Man before. Thanks for sharing!

CLM said...

I was trying to upload an image but I guess that is not possible. Anyway, I had to go check the shelf because something was nagging me and saw that A Most Contagious Game, which we had recently been discussing has a skeleton on the cover too! It's a sign!

TracyK said...

I just lucked into finding that cover for Reaper Man at a book sale, Lauren. I was very happy.

TracyK said...

Constance, I have been thinking about where I can fit A Most Contagious Game into my reading lately. I do have the skeleton cover but it is buried in a box. My husband has a copy too, of the Rue Morgue edition I think, so I will just borrow his... soon.

Christophe said...

Tracy, thanks for your thoughts on King & Joker.

Todd Mason said...

Another vote for Blaylock's work (I haven't yet read this novel, either).

TracyK said...

Thanks, Todd, it nice to know that I have more good reading ahead of me.

Clothes in Books said...

I loved this post, and not only because I contributed to it. They are astonishingly beautiful for something so gruesome, what a great collection you have. Please do another post with more of them!

TracyK said...

Moira, you have sent me two other skull covers, the Gladys Mitchell book, A Hearse on May-Day, and Death Goes to a Reunion by Kathleen Moore Knight, which I haven't read yet. This post reminded me of that book, and also that I had found another book by Robert James, Board Stiff, also with a skeleton on the cover.

I do hope to do another post with more skeleton covers someday.