Happy Friday everyone!
My thesis is still consuming pretty much all of my time – I’ve solved the database problem (I think), but I’m getting a bit worried about my program’s computation time when confronted with polynomials of higher degree… It’s been running for three full days since it delivered the last set of data, and unfortunately, the time spans between drops seem to be increasing exponentially. I’ve been trying to simplify as much as I can, but at the rate things are currently going, I’ll probably be dead before this program terminates 😅 #justmathstudentthings
So yeah, since I’ve been devoting a lot of time to coding instead of reading and don’t have many new books to talk about, I decided now would be the perfect time to bring back my cover battle series!
If you’d like to check out the other posts in this series, you can find them here:
However, in case you weren’t around for the first two installments and don’t feel like reading them now, the way these work is simple: I pick ten books, half of which were originally written in English and half of which were originally written in my native language, German. I then compare the covers of the US edition with the German one and award a point to whichever cover I think is better. In the end, I sum up all the points, and whichever country gets more is declared the winner! 🥳🏅🥳
[I would let you play along, except that I still haven’t figured out how to include polls on WordPress. So if you happen to know and would like to tell me, that would be really neat! 🙃 And, of course, you’re still more than welcome to tell me all of your cover opinions down in the comments!]
Also, I’ve read all of the books I include in this series, so think of this as my way of sneakily giving you more book recommendations 😁 And mind you, you’d better appreciate them, because these recommendations took a lot of work! After already doing this twice, it’s been really hard trying to find German books that were translated into English AND also have different covers in both languages. So make sure take a nice long look at those covers for me 🤣
But without further ado, let’s get started!
1. Der Erdbeerpflücker by Monika Feth (English title: The Strawberry Picker)
The Strawberry Picker is the first in a series of German YA thrillers that one of my close friends was absolutely obsessed with when we were in eighth grade or so. So obviously, I borrowed all of them from her and read them as well 😎 I have since forgotten a ton, but I do remember really enjoying them and thinking they were deliciously creepy!
Looking at these covers, I’d say they both have their pros and cons. The US one has that awfully cheesy tagline, but it does get the “girl goes after the serial killer who murdered her best friend” vibe across much better than the German cover, which could also be an advertisement for fresh strawberries or a cutesy summer romance… No wonder they had to add that box saying it was a thriller 🙄
So yeah, even though I do think the German typography is much prettier than the US one, I think I’m going to give the point to the US here, simply for representing the story better.
2. The Binding by Bridget Collins (German title: Die verborgenen Stimmen der Bücher)
I’ve gushed so much about The Betrayals lately that my love for The Binding has almost gone unnoticed, so I decided there was no harm in mentioning it again here 😉 Besides, my phone and laptop apparently know all about my Bridget Collins obsession, because I’ve been absolutely bombarded with audible ads featuring the German cover for this one…
First of all, Audible, I am never going back to you now that I have Scribd. You were way too expensive for just two audiobooks a month!
And second, why would I ever go for the German cover here when the US one is so much prettier? I mean, just look at that key! The blue and gold!! 😍😍 It’s absolutely gorgeous and gets those dark historical fantasy vibes across so much better than that wallpaper of a German cover.
And besides, who thought it was a good idea to rename this book the German equivalent “The Hidden Voices of Books”? That title is an absolute mouthful and sounds way less cool than The Binding.
The point goes to the US here, duh!
3. Malka Mai by Mirjam Pressler (English title: Malka)
If you ever want to read a hard-hitting book about the Holocaust, forget The Book Thief. If that book made you cry, this one is going to leave you an empty, depressed shell of your former self 😭
And I actually think both covers fit the book really well! The US cover definitely captures the darkness of the story, and the German one the lonely innocence of its young Jewish protagonist Malka. But something about the German one just speaks to me more. I like how Malka actually looks like a person, rather than some haunted ghoul. And the leaves, the landscape in the background, that doll, and the whole color scheme are just so pretty!
So one point to Germany!
4. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (German title: Die Tribute von Panem: Tödliche Spiele)
And we’re back to my really popular favorites with The Hunger Games! I actually love the US cover for this one. The typeset, the simplicity, that Mockingjay pin – it’s perfect! I’m actually kind of bummed I own the UK-cover featured in the middle instead. But at least it has a nice picture of Peeta, who is definitely up there among my biggest book crushes of all time… 🥰
The German cover, though? I mean, it’s not horrible, but it reminds me more of a romance novel than a bloodthirsty dystopia… Also, why is Katniss so white and green-eyed? The books specifically said she has olive skin and gray eyes! I’m okay with the movie going in a different direction since Jennifer Lawrence’s acting is just phenomenal, but a book cover? Couldn’t you have stuck to the story? [And before you say it could be someone else, this white green-eyed girl is on all three Hunger Games covers, and I have a hard time believing they’d feature some random side character so prominently several times in a row 🙄] Plus, what is it with these German translators and incredibly long titles? 😅
The point goes to the US, obviously.
5. Erebos by Ursula Poznanski
While Germany seems to have an obsession with long titles, the US apparently has a thing for blurbs and taglines. Apart from these, there actually isn’t much of a difference between the covers. The US red is a bit brighter. The elements are ordered differently. The US cover features the author’s full name.
Still, I do have a slight preference! Although that tagline gives me slight 1984-vibes, I actually like how it’s reminiscent of the writing you might see in a computer game – because that’s what Erebos is about. It follows a boy named Nick, who can’t figure out why some of his classmates have been acting particularly strangely as of late – until he receives a mysterious package and is introduced to the world of Erebos, a fantasy computer game unlike any he has ever experienced…
So yeah, even though there isn’t a huge difference here, something about the US layout just speaks to me more. One point to the US!
6. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (German title: Der Name des Windes)
I can’t believe I haven’t featured The Name of the Wind in one of these posts before because
a) I love it, and
b) the German cover is one of the most beautiful book covers I’ve ever seen! Look at that typography! Those silhouettes! The writing in the background! 🤩🤩🤩
Next to that, the US cover just seems a little boring, although I don’t think it’s bad either. Even the UK cover, which certainly has a better font, just can’t compete.
So one point to Germany!
7. Die Abenteuer des starken Wanja by Otfried Preußler (English title: The Adventures of Strong Vanya)
What. Is. That. US. Cover? 😳 It is absolutely horrendous! It looks like some toddler randomly glued paper cutouts onto it! I mean, maybe the old German cover isn’t that much better, but I have such a huge nostalgic attachment to it that I can’t help but love it anyway.
And at least in Germany, this fairytale-esque Russian-history-inspired novel is so popular that it even got a cover remake a while back. [Although for some reason, they decided to change the protagonist’s hair color?]
In contrast, it was already next to impossible to track down an English version, so I guess I should be thankful that one exists at all. But why isn’t it more popular? Is the translation that bad? Because seriously, this book is wonderful! It has similar vibes to the Winternight Trilogy, although it is directed towards a slightly younger target audience 🥰
So obviously, Germany gets the point here.
8. If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio (German title: Das verborgene Spiel)
If you ask me, if We Were Villains is one of the best dark academia books out there. I mean, I might be biased because I’m just an absolute sucker for anything involving Shakespeare, but seriously – it’s so good!!!
And so are its covers! The English ones, that is… I actually own the UK one, so I thought I’d feature it as well so that you could also appreciate its beauty. I mean, I think I still like the US one a tad more, but the UK one is definitely up there!
And the German one is … okay? It isn’t ugly, but it does seem rather random and completely fails to deliver the gruesome Shakespeare aesthetic of the other two. And again, why the title change? “Das verborgene Spiel” literally translates to “The Hidden Game”, which could mean just about anything, really.
So the point goes to the US!
9. Drachenreiter by Cornelia Funke (English title: Dragon Rider)
Before I discovered Harry Potter, Cornelia Funke’s Dragon Rider was actually my favorite book of all time. And while I no longer love it quite as much as I did when I was six, it still holds an extremely nostalgic place in my heart, and I would highly recommend it to children looking to pick up something fantastical!
And boy, my verdict regarding these covers was actually quite close. I absolutely love how big the moon is in the US one, and how Lung’s silhouette stands out against it. But the typeset is just a tad too cheesy for my tastes.
Okay, fine – I just really like the German cover because it brings back so many memories and am looking for excuses. But I don’t care if I’m not being objective. This is my blog, so the point goes to Germany. 😜
10. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (German title: Der Report der Magd)
And for our final book today, I picked another one of my dystopian favorites – Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale! [Although *shame, shame*, I still haven’t read The Testaments, and my favorite Margaret Atwood book is actually not The Handmaid’s Tale at all, but Hag-Seed, which is about staging Shakespeare’s The Tempest in a prison. But that one has the same cover in the US and Germany, so unfortunately, I couldn’t use it here 😕]
But let’s get back on topic! To be honest, I think none of these covers are particularly enthralling… I don’t mind them, but if I saw them somewhere, they probably wouldn’t make me pick up the book if I didn’t already know what it was about or that I like Margaret Atwood’s writing style.
I like that we get to see those bonnets in the US versions. I like the colors and font of the German one, but the focus on those red lips is kind of weird. And honestly, the lady on the cover looks more like a 1930s movie star than how I imagined Offred. My favorite out of the three is probably the new US cover, but we also have that cover here in Germany, so giving a point to the US here just seems a bit unfair.
I honestly can’t pick, so we’re just going to give half a point to the US and Germany each and have both countries take note of the fact that their The Handmaid’s Tale covers are kind of boring… 😅
And with that, it’s results time! The grand total is:
Which means the US narrowly scraped a win this time! But seeing how close things were, Germany certainly didn’t do too badly, either 🤷🏼♀️
But of course, these were all my personal opinions, so do you agree with my verdict? Or would you have chosen differently for some of these? Are there any books that have a much more beautiful (or hideous) cover in your native language that I should check out? Have you read any of the books I mentioned here and would like to share your opinions? As always, I would love to hear what you think!