Wednesday, August 09, 2017
I Have David Grann Covered!
One week, I choose my comparison title because I need a reminder to read that author's books. Another week, the title is a suggestion from a reader. This week, it's because I want to remind all of you of one of the best books I read last year.
David Grann's Killers of the Flower Moon haunts me still, and I now count it among my all-time favorite non-fiction books. (One of these days, I'm going to share a few of my "favorites" lists on Kittling: Books' Facebook page.) How could I resist having it as one of my US vs UK comparison titles when I happened to come across its UK incarnation? Speaking of which, let's take a look at the covers now!
Two very different interpretations, aren't they?
Both use red as the predominant color, which certainly ties in with the book's subject, but one of the first things I noticed was the difference in titles. Both use Killers of the Flower Moon, but while the US cover says The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, the UK title continues with Oil, Money, Murder and the Birth of the FBI. I think this change was a wise decision on the part of the UK publisher. Not many people across the pond are going to know that there's a Native American nation called the Osage in Oklahoma, but "oil, money, murder"? That's bound to catch the eye of many inquisitive readers. (While I'm at it, I should go ahead, be honest, and say that there probably aren't all that many Americans who know about the Osage.)
For once, the US cover seems more restrained than the UK cover. It has an atmospheric graphic, with the full moon shining behind an oil derrick, and clouds that resemble buffalo thundering up a hill. The only other thing besides the title and author is a reminder that the author wrote a bestseller called The Lost City of Z.
I do wish that the UK cover didn't have those two author blurbs on it, even though I do like both writers. One-word blurbs like "stunning" and "magnificent" always make me wonder about their context. I've seen words like these taken from reviews that basically said the book was a stinker. I do prefer the graphic on the UK cover. It shows a rather bleak red landscape, a landscape that's soaked with the blood of so many Osage dead. The gushing oil derrick in the distance just over the top of the hill shows the reason why so many people died.
I am really torn. I prefer the graphic on the UK cover, although I think the two blurbs spoil its appearance. Ultimately I'm going to choose the US cover. Why? Because when I first learned about this book, all I saw was the title and the author's name. There was no graphic. I had all I needed to tell me that I must read this book, and those two elements shine like a beacon on the more balanced US cover.
What about you? Which cover do you prefer? US? UK? Too close to call? Neither one? Inquiring minds would love to know!