Pictured above is a screen capture from a great resource for you to research current trends in book cover design, The Book Cover Archive.
The assignment from class: Bring in a book that you really like that most people probably haven't read. Each of us will give a brief talk about the book and why we like it. Your book will be randomly assigned to another designer in the class. You are now the book designer at Knopf assigned to create the cover for the new paperback edition. (Let's ignore that Knopf doesn't regularly do paperbacks.) Come up with an idea for the cover design + a single chapter page/spread of the interior. You may not read any part of the book other than the back cover/inside jacket flap.
Since we'd run out of time in class, we didn't get to do what I hoped, which was for us to give a very short talk about why we loved the book so much that we'd brought in. Because of that, I'd said that you could check out the book reviews on Amazon.com to try to get that kind of emotional flavor regarding the text. On reflecting upon it, I'm going to open up things here so that we can share a paragraph or two about the book we brought in. I'll start with my book, Veronica by Nicholas Christopher. Feel free to leave comments to this post with your brief blurb about your book as well!
The following text is from Nicholas Christopher's Web site:
On a snowy night in February, at the improbable point in lower Manhattan where Waverly Place intersects Waverly Place, Leo meets Veronica for the first time. Starkly beautiful, mysterious, aloof, she leads him into a world where illusion blends seamlessly with reality -- a luminously transformed city where powerful underground streams crisscross beneath the streets, a city of dragon-points and Tibetan mysticism, where real time is magically altered. Ten years have passed since Veronica's father, the famous magician Albin White, disappeared while performing a dangerous feat of time travel before a packed theater audience. White's disappearance was no accident. He was sabotaged by his apprentice Starwood, who interfered at a critical moment and sent him hurtling into the past, free to explore other eras but with no means of returning to the present...
I'm going to cut this quote off here, because any more would just give the whole plot away...
The thing that I love about this book is that it flows from moment to moment just like memory. And just like how we fall into a reverie when remembering something potent from our past, this book becomes deeper and more intuitive as you dive into it. After reading it, I realized that this book is crafted almost like you're falling down into a well -- but instead of hitting cold water when you reach bottom, you are left gasping as you stare up into a frigid, starry sky.