What’s black and red and read all over?

Some of the most striking book covers on my shelves, that’s what.

There’s something about that black and red combination that is so sharp and so eye-catching — maybe that’s why we’re seeing more and more of the black and red look in bookstores these days. I suppose you could credit this one for really popularizing the color combo:

This is not a Twilight post! I’m talking about the color scheme here.

Then publishers decided to Twilight-ify some of the classics, as if adding shiny black and red covers would suddenly make teens salivate over Emily Bronte:

Let’s ignore the “Bella & Edward’s favorite book” caption at upper right, shall we?

They’ve even done it to Austen:

“The Love That Started It All”. Please…

Well, I do have to admit that the black and red look is quite catchy… and perhaps a bit sinister. Does this version imply that there will be blood in Pride & Prejudice? (Gotta love that ampersand, by the way.) Teens who pick this one up expecting sparkles and red eyes may be a tad disappointed.

As I was reshelving books this past week, I pulled out some of my favorite red and black covers from my own collection. Excuse the shoddy camera work — that just proves that these are really mine. Here are some from my shelves that I think are most effective:

Replay by Ken Grimwood

A wonderful, awful, disturbing book of timey-wimey weirdness, as a man replays his life over and over again. If you had the ability to change your life, would you? The black and red cover with the repeating half-photo gives me a bit of the chills.

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce

This YA book is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, with a Buffy-style heroine who kicks butt, brings down the monsters, and tries to make a better life for her sister.

Restless by William Boyd

I will admit to not having read Restless, but it sounds fascinating — and I do like the cover. Stark and a bit mysterious.

Bones of the Moon by Jonathan Carroll

Such an odd book, mind-bending at times. I’m still not sure whether it worked for me, but one thing’s certain — I do love the cover.

The Radleys, a genre-defying story of vampires living in the suburbs, got a comic-esque cover aimed toward the YA audience in the UK (above), but I actually prefer the US version, which conveys more of a sense of something sinister lurking behind the domestic facade:

The Radleys, with the US version, marketed as adult fiction

Sadly, my more camera was not up to completing its task, so although this book lives on my shelves, I could not get a decent picture of it and had to resort to importing an online version:

The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff

This story of dark secrets in a small town is well-served by the sharp cover art that combines a gothic feel with modern images.

Another that I’ve read, but only as an e-book:

When She Woke by Hillary Jordan

This modern retelling of The Scarlet Letter is hauntingly well-done, and I really love the sharpness of the cover portrait.

Finally, I just came across this image of new editions of classic works by Stephen King:

I think I’ll be dreaming about these tonight. Wouldn’t they look terrific on my shelves?

That’s all I’ve got. How about you? What black and red beauties have caught your eye lately?

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