Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Favorite Book Covers: Tom Adams

One of the joys of digging through piles of old, musty books is finding an old friend with an unfamiliar cover. I've taken to replacing some recent copies of favorite novels with yellowing paperback versions, merely because I enjoy the cover art more.

cover to The Big Sleep by Tom Adams
(1971) Ballantine Books

A great example of this would be the 1970s mass market reprints of Raymond Chandler's novels and stories. They have beautiful painted covers by Tom Adams that turn California into a humid, dangerous jungle.

Farewell My Lovely cover art by Tom Adams
(1971) Ballantine Books

I much prefer these to the current Chip Kidd influenced ones. Slowly, book titles have been taking over the design of the entire front cover of today's novels, to the point that the local bookstore display window looks like the generic aisle from a 1980s grocery store.

Pickup on Noon Street cover art by Tom Adams
(1972) Ballantine Books

At some point, I've also picked up a Tom Adams illustrated hardcover of John Fowles' The Magus. This one is a wonderful wrap-around, so I had to make two passes on the scanner and combine them...

cover art to The Magus by Tom Adams
(1965) Little, Brown & Co.

I hadn't even realized that I found a first printing; I was just going for a pre-1977 edition. He revised the book, and apparently adjusted the ending, so I'm curious as to what the older version will be like. And, of course, I'm keeping an eye out for the rest of the Tom Adams versions of Fowles' other novels.

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