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20 Embarrassingly Bad Book Covers for Classic Novels

This week, we spotted a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad book cover for Stephen King’s The Shining over at the Guardian. It seems especially unfair for such a modern classic to be saddled with such an ugly cover, and so we were inspired to search the Internet for the worst covers to ever sully the faces of great books, whether at home or abroad. Peek through your fingers at a selection of them after the jump, and if we missed your (least) favorite, add it to our collection in the comments.

shining

As Pxyz points out, this Brazilian cover of The Shining looks like a terrible exercise in ’80s advertising. Her earrings are shiny, though.

shelley

We agree — broadswords and alien ice mountains would have made Frankenstein much, much better. Except, wait.

farewell

Everything about this cover makes literal sense, we guess — they’re in Italy, hence the flag background, and there’s a love story, which accounts for the ghostly embrace. But put together, it all just looks like an extremely low-budget dealing-with-grief pamphlet.

pimp

We don’t think that even aristocratic secret societies had badly Photoshopped kittens and cheap briefcases during the French Revolution.

lolita

From what we can tell, this Japanese cover of Lolita portrays the title character as a lanky, wistful space alien walking the streets in the nude. That’s only slightly off.

screw

Because this is a book about screws, right?

crimen

We can only laugh.

fitz

We don’t know about you, but we think this would make more tonal sense if it were the cover of The Great Gatsby and the Mixed up Files of Nick Carraway.

dubliners

Font is everything. So is which random stock image you choose.

huck

How did we miss this scene in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn? It seems like it would have been a good one.

princessbride

Who decided that this goofy, delightful meta fairy tale should be represented by a woman with snakes growing out of her, um, hips surrounded by skulls?

broccoli

Eat your Carrie. It’s good for you.

crackann

Oof. No one bothered to check whether Anne of Green Gables was a plucky redheaded farm girl, rather than an alluring blonde co-ed?

plath

There’s been much ado about this cover, but its vaguely insulting undertones aside, it’s just plain ugly.

dorothy

Wait, how did we miss the fact that Oz was a red planet with fighter jets?

gilman

This one is particularly insulting, considering that the book in question concerns an all-female, asexually reproducing society, and means to question the very standards of gender that this cover tries ham-handedly to exploit.

gaskell

You’d never guess that this was a 1853 novel about a couple of spinster sisters in England, would you?

woolf

This novel is, surprisingly, not about a trashy spy.

romeo

Aside from the fact that the costuming reminds us strongly of Wishbone, Juliet looks like she’s about to turn Romeo into a vampire so that they can be together for all of time.

alice

With all of the rich, ridiculous imagery not only native to this book but nearly omnipresent in its legacy, you go with Wicked Witch of the West-style striped tights? Snooze.

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