Two covers of Waiting for Bojangles, French and United States versionsI purchased both the French and the U.S. versions of the novel Waiting for Bojangles, by Olivier Bourdeaut. The idea was to read the novel in both languages. As expected, that didn’t go terribly well, though I did learn some new French words. My main takeaway from this dual purchase, however, is that cover images—along with syntax, punctuation, paragraph breaks, and meanings—can and often do metamorphose in translation.

As you can see, these two cover designs are quite similar in subject matter, and yet strikingly different in emotional impact and conveyance of themes. I like them both, but in different ways. However, instead of analyzing them myself, I’d like to hear what you think.

Which cover do you like better, and why?

If you were in a bookstore, which cover would better entice you to buy the book, and why?

Did you choose the same cover to answer both questions?

I did not!

Presumably, your cultural background, taste in books, and artistic proclivities will all play into your thoughts and feelings on the book covers—so there are no wrong answers here. But there may well be opinionated answers, and much to discuss!

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