American Gods by Neil Gaiman

The first time I saw the cover of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods – a span of blacktop road stretching to the horizon where it is met by a bolt of lightning so massive it takes up most of the sky – the image found a place deep and warm in my imagination, curled up, and stayed. It works well as an encapsulation of Gaiman’s book, which is a road novel about (in part) trying to understand the influences in our lives we are unable to control, but it also works devoid of these thematic implications, as simply a stark and beautiful picture. This image stayed with such devotion that when it came time to choose a groom’s cake, I could think of nothing more fitting. I’m glad to report that I’m not alone in my awe of this cover. Gaiman himself found it powerful as well. From his introduction to the Tenth Anniversary Edition of American Gods: “A couple of weeks later, my editor sent me a mock-up of the book cover . . . I found it both off-putting and exhilarating to have the cover before the book. I put it up on the wall and looked at it, intimidated, all thoughts of ever finding another title gone forever. This was the book cover. This was the book. Now I just had to write it.” I am grateful, and we are all fortunate, that he did.

– Bryan Camp

5 thoughts on “LitStaff Picks: Our Favorite Book Covers”

  1. Totally cool idea…sometimes I enjoy the covers far more than the book! Bridge of San Louis Rey always a favorite content-wise. Thanks, Sam, for bringing it back to me with this "cover story!" Well done!

  2. A favorite of mine has always been The Monsters of Templeton cover. I don't know why but it just makes me sit down and study it every time I come across the book.

  3. At one time I read every novel Thornton Wilder ever wrote and loved them all. The Bridge of San Luis Rey struck me as the most compassionate novel I ever read.

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