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19 Book Cover Clichés

These crop up all the time.

1. Scary silhouette man.

Must be a: Pacy, hard-hitting thriller for holidaying dads.

2. Woman holding a birdcage for some reason.

Must be a: Spooky period tale in the Woman In Black vein.

3. Man lurking by fence.

Must be an: Atmospheric crime novel, featuring a hard-bitten and psychologically complex detective.

(Add fog, for period effect).

4. Woman in long white dress.

Must be a: Novel aimed at women. But with literary pretensions. Definitely not chick lit.

5. Woman in long backless dress.

Must be a: Tale of high-society intrigue (and just a hint of naughtiness) set in the '20s/'30s.

6. Bloke with sword.

Must be a: Fantasy epic. Part of a long, long series.

7. Bloke in hood.

Must be a: Same again, but featuring some kind of wizard/magical monk.

8. Bloke wearing hood and carrying sword.

Must be a: Fantasy yet again, but this time with a ninja/samurai element.

9. Woman looking out over water.

Must be a: Wistful tale of love, loss and regret, which your mum will read in the bath.

10. Shadowy man walking into the distance.

Must be a: "Taut thriller", according to Richard And Judy's Book Club.

11. Woman with luggage.

Must be a: Forgettable airport novel featuring a bland and materialistic married couple going through difficulties.

12. Woman's legs.

Must be an: Intermittently humorous book about a quirky and self-deprecating woman's quest to have lots of hot sex.

13. Lots of black and red. Gothic font.

Must be a: Twilight wannabe.

14. Pink and sparkly.

Must be a: Chick-lit romp, which has sold in unimaginable quantities.

15. High heels, muted tones.

Must be a: Shameless Fifty Shades of Grey rip-off.

16. Jewellery, muted tones.

Must be a: Same again, but with more romance, less bondage.

17. Child's sad face, handwriting-style font.

Must be a: Misery memoir, supposedly based on real life.

18. Spooky road to nowhere.

Must be a: No-nonsense page-turner, for which the film rights have almost certainly already been sold.

19. Just some leaves.

Must be: Vaguely related to nature. Very much a "will this do?" Father's Day gift.

h/t: Caustic Cover Critic, The Book Smugglers, and David Horspool of the TLS for having spotted a few of these. Inspired by Private Eye, who have an occasional column on this subject.