Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Be sure to check out different takes on this week’s freebie topic on her site!
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We are currently bird sitting for one of my partner’s coworkers. Gizmo is an adorable green-cheeked conure, but goodness birds are so much work! We’ve learned a lot about her though in the time we’ve spent together. She loves sunflower seeds and grapes, makes the cutest noise when she finds a tunnel, and is generally too smart for her own good. Although my partner was hoping he’d bond with the bird more, the bird has definitely glommed onto me. So needless to say, I haven’t gotten all that much done except entertain this little lady and birds have been on my brain. Since this week is a freebie, I thought we could do 10 books with birds on the cover.
I went through my to-read list on Story Graph, and there were 36 books with birds featured prominently on the cover. So to make this list a little more interesting (and to narrow it down, quite frankly). Here’s 10 books each featuring a different bird/s. Let me know if any of these covers intrigue you to read more–which is the greatest compliment you can give to a cover in my opinion.
I think this cover is quite stunning.
The angles of the birds heads are unusual (though not totally unnatural) and intriguing.
The detailed birds contrast so beautifully with the stark orange semi-circle representing the sun. And that handwritten font is just perfect.
mood: dark and fairy tale-esque
Parakeet by Marie-Helene Bertino
Don’t you love the way they did the typography on this cover? Like a bird’s screech, the title grows larger, impossible to ignore. I also really like the plain background and the bird impossibly sitting atop and upside down elevator button.
In the book, a young woman is about to be married and is visited by the spirit of her dead grandmother in the form of a parakeet. In my family, we say we’re being visited by departed family members whenever we see a hummingbird–so this feels like a really intriguing take on that idea.
mood: funny, heart-warming, offbeat
I don’t know if it’s just because I read so many fantasy books or if ravens and crows are just popular books for covers, but there were sooooooo many corvids to choose from. I really liked this cover, which showcases the beautiful iridescent feathers–just enough to clue you in on what bird it is, but still showcasing the beautiful abstract patterning.
Also that ‘H’? Gorgeous. And I love the way the wing partially obscures the title just like the way the bird is obscured. You can tell from the cover that this book is going to look at things a little differently.
genre: historical fiction
mood: mysterious & transporting
The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan
A deceptively simple cover– a white, textured silhouette of a bird on an ombre backdrop. But don’t you love how the feathers look like drips?
I really like the way the typography fits within the silhouette and looks hand drawn. It feels very playful and artisitic.
genre: young adult (YA)
mood: emotional (first love)
The Genius of Birds by Jennifer Ackerman
I didn’t choose a lot of nonfiction books about birds for this list, but this one has such a beautiful scrub jay on the cover that I couldn’t resist. The detailed Audobon-like rendering of the scrub jay is so lifelike, but then you have the sketched perch underneath, which makes the cover feel more self-aware and interesting.
mood: informative, lyrical
Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng
I’m not sure what type of feather this is (if anyone knows you should definitely leave it in the comments), but I love the way it dissolves into the birds who fly off onto the cover). It’s an especially appropriate cover for a protagonist named Bird and which takes inspiration from Dickinson’s “Hope is the thing with feathers” poem.
genre: literary fiction
mood: reflective, family drama
Other Birds by Sarah Addison Allen
A lot of books with magical elements use a raven on the cover, often intertwined with other gothic elements, so it’s nice to see a treatment of birds on a cover in such a bright blue. I like the midair flight layered on top of the bird cage and the way the typography echoes the colors. Very simple and elegant.
genre: magical realism
mood: whimsical, mysterious
When We Were Birds by Ayanna Lloyd Banwo
What’s better than one bird on the cover? Lots! And they blend so beautifully into this foliage–you have to hunt for them. Then you have the typography and the silhouettes intermixed…I just think this one is gorgeous.
genre: literary fiction, magical realism
mood: emotional, mysterious
Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett
I think this spring green and hot pink combination is really striking. Maybe I’m just partial to it because I threw my aunt a baby shower in these colors. The title creates an interesting little puzzle for the viewer. If the things in the novel are mostly dead–does that mean the flamingo is alive or dead. Is it taxidermy on the cover?
Also I think there’s always something fantastical about a flamingo. They make me think of Alice in Wonderland. I like the fluid, bendy bird contrasted with the rough, all caps, poster like lettering.
mood: dark comedy
Owls: Our Most Charming Birds by Matt Sewell
Not a groundbreaking cover, I’ll admit. But the owl illustrations are just too stinking cute. Plus I love owls. They’re the cutest little sky killers. If you like adorable bird illustrations, I think Sewell actually has several books. This would probably make a lovely little holiday gift for someone who enjoys owls. Which is probably almost everyone.
genre: nature, nonfiction
The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century by Kirk Wallace Johnson
Okay–so I couldn’t narrow it down to 10. But I think 11 is pretty good! Here’s another feather close-up. The museum-y label is the most distinctive thing about the cover, but feathers themselves have so much color and texture that it doesn’t matter. The type is simple, but I like how it’s woven around the featherrs.
I like true crime books most especially when they’re about thefts and heists, and this one seems like it’ll have all the thriller aspects you could ask for.
genre: nonfiction, true crime
mood: adventurous, mysterious
Did any of these covers catch your eye? Have you read any of these books? Share about books or bird stories in the comments!