Cover to Cover with On The Road

Kerouac_by_Palumbo_2In all honesty, On the Road isn’t really my cup of tea – stylistically, it felt more like a list than a novel. We went to X party, and met Y people, and I kissed Z girl, and then I slept on Q’s couch, and afterwards caught a bus to N town, where we went to X party, and met Y people… you get the idea. When it comes to the Beats, I prefer Burroughs or Ginsberg – although I have to admit I have yet to read Howl in its entirety (I swear it’s on the list!).

In any case, On the Road is a classic, and I’m glad I read it – even if I like the covers better than the novel itself. The theme seems to be photographs and collages, and I dig it.

From left to right and top to bottom: Audiobook cover, Czech cover, Kindle edition, mass market cover, Trade paperback cover, and Turkish edition.

As you might expect from a cult classic, On the Road also lays claim to some very cool redesigns, like this one from Esai Ramirez:

Ramirez redesign

Or this one from Onur Istek:

Oner Istek redesign.jpg

…which might just be my favourite. The only souvenirs I seem to take away from road trips are the matted mess of receipts left in the bottom of my bag,  and apparently I’m not alone.

Finally, just for kicks, how about On the Road as… science fiction?

as science fiction

I don’t know who put this together, or why, and at this point I’m too afraid to ask. But it is kind of amazing. It almost inspires a person to reimagine other classics with science fiction covers…

Which cover is your favourite? I’d love to see your comments. Feel free to link to any great cover art that I’ve missed!

Cover to Cover is a weekly project comparing and critiquing the various covers of popular novels, published every Wednesday. Find more posts in this series here.


The portrait of Jack Kerouac (top) is the work of Tom Palumbo and is available for reuse through Wikimedia Commons


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