8 Books With Bees on the Cover

I follow a number of book reviewers on YouTube and one of them recently mentioned their affection for books with bees on the cover. This captured my attention immediately, because I have the same bias for books with keys on the front, so I decided to keep my eyes open for bee-themed book covers and group them together.

Here’s a list of 8 books with bees on the cover.

1. The Beekeeper’s Secret by Josephine Moon
This book seems to be everywhere at the moment, and I guess it’s no surprise given it was published on 1 April 2016. It’s a mystery novel about families and secrets.

2. The Bees by Laline Paull  Bees by Laline Paull
The Bees is being pitched as The Handmaid’s Tale meets Watership Down and given that the main character Flora 717 is a sanitation bee, and this is the story of her life, I can totally see why. I loved Watership Down this year, so I might give this one a go.

3. The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King
Most Arthur Conan Doyle fans know about Sherlock’s love of bees and fans of TV shows Sherlock and Elementary might enjoy reading The Beekeeper’s Apprentice. Published in 1994, it’s the first in the Mary Russell and Sherlock Homes series, which now has 14 books in the series.

4. The World Without Us by Mireille Juchau World Without Us Mireille Juchau
I think this is my favourite cover on the list. The World Without Us is a story of secrets and survival, family and community, loss and renewal.

5. Hour of the Bees by Lindsay Eagar
This is a coming-of-age story featuring Carol and her mentally ill Grandfather.

6. Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
I’m a huge fan of the Penguin clothbound classic series, and they offer a beautiful edition of Far From the Madding Crowd in their collection. Having said that, here’s another stunning edition with bees on the cover.

7. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Probably the most well known book on the list, The Secret Life of Bees is a bestselling novel that was made into a film starring Dakota Fanning, Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson, and Alicia Keys.

8. The Bees by Carol Ann Duffy The Bees Carol Ann Duffy #2
This is a poetry collection and here’s an excerpt from the blurb: Woven and weaving through the book is its presiding spirit: the bee. Sometimes the bee is Duffy’s subject, sometimes it strays into the poem, or hovers at its edge. In the end, Duffy’s point is clear: the bee symbolizes what we have left of grace in the world, and what is most precious and necessary for us to protect. Check out the stunning blue hardcover edition.

Hope you enjoyed this collection of books. If you can’t go past a good book list, check out my list of 14 Books With Keys on the Cover.


14 Books With Keys on the Cover

I’m always influenced by a well-designed book cover or dust jacket, and a book with a key on the cover almost always grabs my attention. Once I started taking notice of the symbolism of keys in book cover design, it didn’t take me long before I started making a list (because I love a good list).

First for the ones I’ve read:The Observations by Jane Harris

1. The Observations by Jane Harris
2. 77 Shadow Street by Dean Koontz
3. The Servants by Michael Marshall Smith
4. The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe
5. The Collector by John Fowles

It should be said that for these 5 books, the covers were much better than the novels. I gave The Collector a 4 star rating, 3 star ratings to two of the books in the list and one 2 star and one 1 star rating to the rest. Now that I consider these ratings alongside their appealing cover designs, perhaps there’s some truth to not judging a book by it’s cover. Just because a book speaks to you, doesn’t mean you’ll enjoy it.

There’s a plethora of keys decorating all kinds of book covers out there, some old and some new, some enticing, and some less so. One of my favourite classics cover of all time is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, number 13 in the list and the cover of The Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon calls out to me whenever I see it. I can almost hear those keys jangling in the snow.

Jane EyreThe Scottish Prisoner Diana Gabaldon


6. The Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon
7. Secret Obsession by Kimberla Lawson Roby
8. Altar of Bones by Philip Carter
9. Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen
10. Veil of Lies by Jeri WestersonDays of Abandonement Elena Ferrante

Elena Ferrante is popular this year, and the keys on the front cover (pictured right) speak to me about unlocking the mystery of the author’s identity almost as much as her novel The Days of Abandonment.

11. Magician by Raymond E. Feist
12. The Days of Abandonment by Elena Ferrante
13. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
14. The Inquisitor’s Key by Jefferson Bass

Can you recommend any of these? Have I missed any of your favourite covers in this list?
Are you influenced by cover art? Let me know in the comments.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory What The

Charlie and the Chocolate FactoryBook covers are something of an obsession for writers, editors, and booksellers. A good cover sells itself, achieving the almost elusive combination of intrigue and aesthetic that makes you itch to pluck the book from the shelf to read its contents.

Creating such a cover is, of course, part design skill, part muse-inspired, and part magic, which makes good ones much lauded and bad ones much not lauded.

The new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory cover due to be launched on September 4 is, based on the internet’s thunderously unanimous reaction, clearly the latter (which seems especially depressing given how iconic Quentin Blake‘s illustrations have been to date).

I’ll not deny I’m more than a little confused by the cover. For a bunch of reasons. (If you haven’t yet seen it, it’s got a Lolita-ilk doll front and centre, with a woman doll’s body partially visible.)

One reason I’m puzzled is because I genuinely couldn’t tell what was going on with the cover—to whom do the various limbs belong, and why does it look like the girl doll is sitting between the legs of the woman doll?

Another is because the cover’s a newly commissioned, freshly minted update to celebrate the book’s 50th anniversary. That is, it’s a fancy version of a cover of a perennially bestselling book that has a significant number of covers from which to draw inspiration and to reference and build on.

Also, the book’s important to both our collective book-loving memories but also to Penguin Modern Classic’s stable of profitable books. Those factors combined with the significance of the half-century anniversary would, you would think, warrant the publisher putting their best design minds on the job.

So what the hell happened?

In a case of it truly looks like the wrong file was sent to the printer world-is-fukt style, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has been printed with a cover better suited to Lolita.

We’ve come to expect better—much, much, much better—from Penguin Modern Classics. In fact, when I first saw the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory cover design, I thought Facebook had done that annoying thing it is wont to do: display an image unrelated to the post unless you remember to go in and cycle through to select the one you actually want. Many other fans, it appears, thought it was a spoof.

LolitaOr worse, the designer and the managing editor (or whoever signed off on this disaster) hadn’t read the book. This is kind of inexcusable both because of its long-time-loved status—even if you hadn’t read it, you should know the gist of the tale—and because there were also a number of movies made about it too.

If you hadn’t read it, you could have cheated high school-style and watched a film. Failing that, wouldn’t you go for something literal, like a reference to chocolate or a chocolate factory as hinted at through the title?

And am I the only one to wonder why there’s a girl on the cover when the book’s protagonist is a boy?

Sure, there were a couple of girls in the book, but they were part of a cast of snotty-nosed children Charlie encounters and none of them are worth singling out on the cover. If they were going to reference the other children, they should have had an image that represented more than one of them.

BuzzFeed has collated the best internet’s responses so far, which makes for head-nodding- and guffaw-inducing reading.

Some of my favourites include:

  • You know how it always looks like a cover designer’s never read the book?
  • Just so we’re clear, that Charlie and the Chocolate Factory cover is one of the biggest publishing mistakes ever. Hitler’s Diaries bad.
  • Remember that really famous part of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with the terrifying dolls? Nope. Me neither.
  • Jon Benet and the Chocolate Factory. Creepy. Not in a good way.
  • Publishing protip: If readers confuse a book cover for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with Lolita, not a very good CHILDREN’s design.

With this new version to be released in just under a month, I suspect this isn’t the last we’ve heard about this horror design…