Anteaters, Potatoes, and So Much More

Photo by Lars Blankers on Unsplash

This month marks my fourteenth anniversary of library work. In that time, I’ve shelved, shifted, repaired, cataloged, purchased, and weeded a lot of books between my public and school library jobs. People (including myself at times) can think of books as precious treasures to be valued forever, but not all books deserve that type of adoration.

One of my favorite websites is the delightful Awful Library Books. (Their tagline is “Hoarding is not collection development.” Amen!) I’ve enjoyed this site and the book covers they feature for a long time, and I realized recently I have my own collection of awful library books to share with the world.

Over the years, I’ve taken snapshots or have written down titles of books that have, for whatever reason, made me laugh. Today I’m sharing some of my “favorites” with you. These are books I’ve actually seen in person, either in a public or school library. I’m not commenting on the quality of these books, just pointing out that the title and/or cover cracks me up. I think you’ll see why.

Amish Vampires in space book cover
Amish Vampires in Space

I remember seeing this book during Jimmy Fallon’s Do Not Read segment a few years back. Imagine my delight when it showed up at the public library. I’ve shown it to multiple coworkers and live in constant fear of it getting weeded. It makes me happy every time I see it on the shelf.

The Anteater of Death book cover
The Anteater of Death

I have several questions:

  • Are anteaters violent?
  • Why did this anteater presumably murder someone?
  • Why did Betty Webb choose to write a book about anteaters?
Chicken Soup for the Soul brothers and sisters edition
Chicken Soup for the Soul: Celebrating Brothers and Sisters

I feel sad that my brother and I have never taken a similar photo.

Crafting with Cat Hair

I like cats. I like the occasional craft. What I definitely don’t like are crafts made from cat hair.

Family Emergencies

On one hand, they definitely should have gone with another cover. But on the other hand, I love this one so much.

Innocent Wife, Baby of Shame

I saw this romance novel on the shelf many years ago, but have never forgotten it. Why is the wife so innocent? Who’s going to help the poor shame-filled baby? Is there hope for mother and baby to have a flourishing relationship someday? Fingers crossed.

Modem Menace

Computer issues are indeed a bummer, man.


Surely any other photo of a potato–and I mean any–would have been better than this one. Whoever signed off on this cover was having a rough day and just wanted to get out of the office ASAP.

Prancerise: The Art of Physical and Spiritual Excellence

Joanna Rohrback, you’re a legend. You’re living your best life and I’m here for it, though I don’t totally understand why there are two of you and a horse on this book cover. (To see prancercise in action, click here.)

Make Quilts, Not War

Who knew world peace was sew simple? (I’m sorry.)

Shake Your Head, Darling

This book was on the shelf in a high school library. In 2012. It had to go, but not before I savored this cover. (The man sort of looks like Stephen Colbert, right?)

What are the books that have made you laugh, roll your eyes, cringe, or all three? I’d love to know about your awful library books!

My Favorite 2018 Book Covers

I’m working on my 2018 reading recap, but first, I want to acknowledge pretty book covers. Just like with people, it’s what on the inside that counts, but book covers are important. Good ones are visually appealing and artistic. Great ones tell you something profound about the story. It’s possible I’ve bought books just because they’re beautiful. (Hello, Penguin clothbound!) Today I want to share my favorite 2018 book covers. (I only include books I’ve actually read or this post would be way too long.) I hope my fellow cover-lovers will enjoy this post as much as I did putting it together. 

The Perfect Nanny book cover

The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani

The image on this cover is prim and proper. It’s clean and straightforward, but the story in this book is anything but. The Perfect Nanny is the story of a disturbed woman and the children in her care. This cover is striking because of the juxtaposition between it and the darkness of the novel.

This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America by Morgan Jerkins

Morgan Jerkins writes with boldness, so this cover is a good match for her essays. The photo is beautiful, enhanced by the intense yellow color against the black and white. 

The Female Persuasion book cover

The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer

The color scheme of this book jacket is fantastic. This is a book that looks great at all angles; I love seeing this spine on my shelf. I like how parts of the white letters are tucked behind the colorful lines. If I hadn’t read this book and saw it in a bookstore, I’d pick it up immediately just based on the cover alone. 

Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton

Social Creature is a novel about young women whose lives are falling apart, even though things on the outside look good for a while. The heavy, smeared eye makeup on this cover gets your attention for sure, but it says something about the story and how being beautiful isn’t enough. 

I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life
by Anne Bogel

This cover is a drawing of Bogel’s own home library. To quote the youths, this is #goals. I want a library ladder with every fiber of my being. Until I get one, I can at least look at and enjoy this beautiful book cover. 

Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs

I like the font choice here and the floral touch, but I love this cover even more after reading about its creation. The cover’s designer, Alison Forner, wrote an article for Lit Hub about the experience of creating this cover. Included in the article are other covers Forner came up with before deciding on this one. 

What are some of your favorite 2018 covers? Do you too like the ones I shared here?

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