Books that Make you Fall in Love… At First Sight

Judging Some Books By Their Covers

We are all familiar with the idiom “don’t judge a book by its cover”. It is a phrase used far and wide to discourage people from valuing someone’s appearance over their personality, but can it also be applied to books? Of course you can judge a book by its cover, that is precisely what the covers of books are for. Judging the book. 

Although book covers, like first impressions, may not tell you all there is to know about the contents within, they give you a fair idea of what to expect, and on a usual day, we all want something expectable, familiar, and predictable to make us feel content. No surprises needed. 

The beauty of judging a book by its cover though, is that not all of us look at the same things and find them beautiful, our sense of aesthetics is different and so are the books we pick.

Come with us then, as we take a dive into McGill Overdrive’s New eBook additions and take a look at the handpicked books we find aesthetically pleasing. It’s time we give the illustrators, writers, and publishers the praise that they are due.   

The Overstory by Richard Powers (2018) 

The Overstay Cover Art

The cover of this Pulitzer Prize winning novel describes the story within perfectly, with its surrealistic depiction of the woods.

Description: The Overstory is a sweeping, impassioned work of activism and resistance that is also a stunning evocation of—and paean to—the natural world. From the roots to the crown and back to the seeds, this novel unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fables that range from antebellum New York to the late twentieth-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond. There is a world alongside ours—fast, slow, interconnected, resourceful, magnificently inventive, and almost invisible to us. This is the story of a handful of people who learn how to see that world and who are drawn up into its unfolding catastrophe.

Music Therapy in Adoption and Trauma by Joy Gravestock (2021) 

This one may seem a bit surprising, rarely do theoretical non-fiction books have covers that draw us in. But we cannot deny that this one, with its swimming shades of warm colours and an almost musical sense, deserves a spot on our list. 

Description: The book discusses music therapy as a valuable method of support and treatment for those dealing with trauma within the adoption community. Music Therapy in Adoption and Trauma offers a timely and much-needed perspective for music and creative arts therapists, as well as families themselves.
Addressing topics such as contemporary adoption processes, potential resulting trauma, attachment and adoption breakdown, the book looks at why music therapy specifically can help. Throughout, it centres the value of lived experience in increasing understanding of trauma and effective support…

Build Your House Around My Body by Violet Kupersmith (2021) 

This one with its simple and elegant design makes you curious from the very first glimpse. We’re all lovers of collages but this one is especially intriguing!

Description: Build Your House Around My Body takes us from colonial mansions to ramshackle zoos, from sweaty nightclubs to the jostling seats of motorbikes, from ex-pat flats to sizzling back-alley street carts. Spanning more than fifty years of Vietnamese history and barreling toward an unforgettable conclusion, this is a time-traveling, heart-pounding, border-crossing fever dream of a novel that will haunt you long after the last page.

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon (2021) 

No one could tell us that they wouldn’t click on this book the second they saw it, browsing be damned! This beautiful cover re-imagines the legend of St. George and the Dragon to match the mood of Shannon’s epic fantasy. 

Description: A world divided. A queendom without an heir. An ancient enemy awakens.

The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction—but assassins are getting closer to her door. Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic…

Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan (2021) 

What better way to launch your debut novel than with a most gorgeous artwork? Another book from the epic fantasy genre, this cover brings to life Lynn Tan’s true inspiration for her work in a colourful manner: Chinese myths and legends. 

Description: Growing up on the moon, Xingyin is accustomed to solitude, unaware that she is being hidden from the feared Celestial Emperor who exiled her mother for stealing his elixir of immortality. But when Xingyin’s magic flares and her existence is discovered, she is forced to flee her home, leaving her mother behind.

Alone, powerless, and afraid, she makes her way to the Celestial Kingdom, a land of wonder and secrets. Disguising her identity, she seizes an opportunity to learn alongside the emperor’s son, mastering archery and magic, even as passion flames between her and the prince.



Canada Reads 2022 at McGill

Canada Reads has just announced their 2022 longlist of titles for the Battle of the Books competition. From this list five books will be chosen by five different celebrities who each champion a book. Panelists vote out a book each day until only one winner remains.

The Humanities and Social Sciences Library has many of the books included on this year’s longlist. Click the links on each book for more information on how to borrow.

Driver by Marcello Di Cintio

Washington Black by Esi Edugyan

What Strange Paradise by Omar El Akkad

Book of Wings by Tawhida Tanya Evanson

Satellite Love by Genki Ferguson *

Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch by Rivka Galchen

Five Little Indians by Michelle Good

Scarborough by Catherine Hernandez

All the Quiet Places by Brian Thomas Isaac *

Dominoes at the Crossroads by Kaie Kellough *

Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Life in the City of Dirty Water by Clayton Thomas-Müller *

From My Mother’s Back by Njoki Wane

We Two Alone by Jack Wang *

The Spoon Stealer by Lesley Crewe **

* Available through the BAnQ or les Bibliothèques Montéal

** This book can be requested via InterLibrary Loan


Follow CBC Reads

The five final books and the celebrity champions will be revealed on January 26th, 2022 and the debates are set to take place from March 28th – 31st, 2022. You can watch or listen on CBC Radio OneCBC TVCBC Gem and on CBC Books

Redpath Book Display: Works of Fiction by BIPOC authors

According to McGill’s International Student Services, as of the 2020-2021 academic year, there are 11,942 international students enrolled at McGill from over 150 countries. In order to celebrate our internationally diverse study body, this month’s Redpath Book Display is dedicated to works of fiction by BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) authors from a wide variety of countries. Our physical book display in the Redpath Library features works such as:

Hot Comb, by Ebony Flowers, is a graphic novel and collection of stories that examine the coming of age of a young Black girl living in the United States.

Celestial Bodies, by Omani author Jūkhah Ḥārithī, won the Man Booker Prize and tells the story of three sisters growing up in the village of al-Awafi.

No Knives in the Kitchens of this City, by Khālid Khalīfah, is set in Aleppo, Syria, between the 1960s and the 2000s and examines the lives of one family during that time period.

Harbart, by Nabāruṇa Bhaṭṭācārya, is a beloved cult novel in India, translated from Bengali into English for the first time.

Ms Ice Sandwich, by Mieko Kawakami, is a novella by an up-and-coming Japanese author.

Blackass, by A. Igoni Barrett, is set in Lagos, Nigeria, and is about a Black man who wakes up on the morning of a job interview to discover that he has turned into a white man.

In the Pond, by Ha Jin, is a piece of satire about a Chinese factory worker who becomes famous for drawing a political cartoon.

Five Little Indians, by Michelle Good, is a timely look at Canadian residential schools by a Cree writer, poet, and lawyer.

In addition to our physical book display, we have also curated a list of works of fiction by BIPOC authors in e-book format on the OverDrive platform. If you are in the mood for some romantic comedies to read over the holiday season, or simply to give yourself a break during exam period, then be sure to check out works such as:

Take a Hint, Dani Brown, by Talia Hibbert

Once Ghosted, Twice Shy, by Alyssa Cole

You Had Me at Hola, by Alexis Daria

Heart Principle, by Helen Hoang

Dial A for Aunties, by Jesse Q. Sutanto

The Startup Wife, by Tahmima Anam

If you would rather read fast-paced thrillers and mysteries, then look no further than the following reads:

My Sister, the Serial Killer, by Oyinkan Braithwaite

When No One Is Watching, by Alyssa Cole

Leave the World Behind, by Rumaan Alam

The Case of the Missing Auntie, by Michael Hutchinson

Mexican Gothic, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

American Spy, by Lauren Wilkinson

The Other Black Girl, by Zakiya Dalila Harris

No matter your taste in literature, we are confident you will find a great read from one of these amazing BIPOC authors!