These Books Might as Well Be Naked

Some book jackets, as the name implies, dress up the books that wear them. Others dress them down—and some undress them all the way. As H. L. Mencken could very well have said, no one ever went broke overestimating the prurient interest of the reading public. The following book covers,  artfully adorned with not-so-subliminal messages, somehow made it past the censors.


Georgia by Dawn Tripp

Georgia, by Dawn Tripp

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. And sometimes a flower is just a perfectly visual metaphor for a vagina.


Inside Madeleine by Paula Bomer

Inside Madeline, by Paula Bomer

This one’s pretty subtle, but note the positioning of the legs on the “M.”


Fear of Flying by Erica Jong

Fear of Flying, by Erica Jong

On the same theme as Inside Madeline, only less subtle. Given that Jong coined the term “zipless f–k,” is it ironic that the zipper is so prominently placed?


Tampa by Alissa Nutting

Tampa, by Alissa Nutting

I’ve never heard “buttonhole” used as a sexual euphemism before, but perhaps this cover will change that?


Sex and the Citadel by Shereen El Feki

Sex and the Citadel: Intimate Life in a Changing Arab World, by Shereen El Feki

I’m sure this one went over well with those who believe in the burqa.


Sex and the Citadel by Shereen El Feki - alt cover

And another take. I could be wrong, but I have the sense that this one was designed for a country in which too-obvious depiction of breasts is taboo.


Reading from Behind by Jonathan A Allen

Reading from Behind, by Jonathan A. Allan

Clearly an homage to Kurt Vonnegut. And if that has you scratching your head, it’s time you finally read Breakfast of Champions.


War Porn by Roy Scranton

War Porn, by Roy Scranton

It’s an ethanol-powered missile, right?



Dangerous Boobies, by Caitlin Brodnick

Serious topic, somewhat light-hearted treatment—perfect book cover.



About the Author:

Keir Graff is Executive Editor of Booklist Publications and the author of six books. His most recent is the middle-grade novel, The Phantom Tower (2018). Follow him on Twitter at @Booklist_Keir.

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