What Genre Can You Identify by Looking at the Book Cover? #TopTenTuesday

April 26, 2022

What Genre Can You Identify by Looking at the Book Cover?


Swirl and Thread blog header (a white pitches filled with purple and white lilacs, a tea cup, glasses resting on an open book)

I’m linking up today with #TopTenTuesday: That Artsy Reader Girl: Books With [_____] on the Cover.

Top Ten Tuesday (meme)

I don’t often create a post of book covers. However, for this week’s top ten prompt I couldn’t resist drawing your attention to historical fiction covers!

I don’t usually choose books based on covers, but I know many others do!
I’m curious……..Are you able to determine a genre by looking at the cover?
For example, Romance/RomComs usually have cute graphic covers such as these:

But what about historical fiction? Have you noticed a trend in histfic covers?

In recent years, historical fiction can often be identified by a woman with her back to the camera as seen in the following selections. I’ve gotten to the point of inwardly groaning when I see another hisfic cover featuring a woman’s back!

(in no particular order)


What genre can you identify by the cover?

Happy Reading Book Worms

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text

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  1. I think we are all drawn to certain books because of their covers. And stay away from others for the same reason. I’m not a fan of romance, so I have very few pink or purple book covers on my shelves, for example.

    My TTT this week has books with maps on the cover.

  2. That is a definite trend that I noticed too! I can tell HF by the cover, romance by the cover and suspense thrillers by the cover. I’m a genre reader so I do like to check out the cover first before reading.

  3. I know this cover trend irritates a lot of people, but I actually LOVE it! It creates the perfect vibe for a hist-fic story. Seeing so many of them together does make me laugh a little, though 🙂 The trend is a *teensy* bit out of control. LOL.

    Happy TTT!


  4. I know the first one, the Center book, is romance. The following 3 I would guess women’s fiction. I hadn’t notice the turned back trend for historical fiction, but it’s obviously a thing. I more look at the tone of the colors and then the dressing of the characters on the cover to guess historical.

  5. Hi Carol! Oh that is such a brilliant question and you’ve nailed it spot on!! I’ve also noticed that all the girls in Historical Novels over the last couple of years, are standing with their backs to us. I wonder whose clever idea that was originally? Love just about all of your choices!

    Happy TTT!

    Elza Reads

  6. Wow! I’ve seen a lot of these covers, of course, but I didn’t much notice them. (I usually don’t focus much on covers.) And the way you’ve collected them here certainly made me wonder: Is this trend the result of trying to get away from the focus on women’s faces as the traditional center of beauty? Or, as often happens, am I just overthinking this?

    • I wonder?! Who started this trend? Maybe it represents looking into the past/history? Curious minds want to know! Thanks for commenting!

  7. I have read a lot of these books, but never associated the backs of women with Histfic. You are truly observant, Carol.

  8. Thrillers are usually easy to discern by their covers. Cozy mysteries all seem to have artistic renderings rather than photos, so are easy to spot. Historicals usually have people clothing in vintage styles so are easy to spot as well. Fantasies and Science Fiction are often easy to pick out – I just don’t. LOL

  9. Oh, and how about the covers with lots of splotches of solid colors? These are usually contemporary fiction books, possibly by diverse authors. I’m thinking… like the cover of The Vanishing Half. There are also the solid color cartoon-type covers that are almost always contemporary romance novels. Finally, the cozy mystery novels these days also seem to have covers that look like slightly amateurishly done oil paintings of some indoor room, that almost always have a dog or a cat doing something.

  10. Interesting question to think about! If the cover is well done and accurate to the plot/ book settings, think we can definitely determine the genre. But is it just me (?) — I had trouble with identifying the genre for Forest of Vanishing Stars…

  11. Ok I love this🤣 Most genres have a certain look! I think that helps them sell though. When I read Firekeeper’s Daughter I kept waiting for fantasy elements. That cover screams fantasy to me!

  12. A woman with her back to the camera is also popular with thrillers. If I see an illustrated book cover with a pet (usually a cat), chances are that it’s a cozy mystery!

    Like you said previously, I don’t pay attention to covers when I’m reading a book on my Kindle. But I sure do look at them before I buy.

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