We must be in the middle of a pandemic, because here I am, taking cover in my book room (yes, I actually call it “my book room”). I’m pulling books from the shelves so I can give out some SUPER OFFICIAL (a.k.a. unofficial) awards for how pretty they are! And yes, “taking cover” was a literary pun, you savvy people.

First, I must make a declaration: I will ALWAYS read physical books. I like to hold a book in my hand. I love the covers, the spines, the typeset, and the nostalgia I feel from a lifetime of turning the pages.

Reading from a device just doesn’t feel like escapism to me. I spend most of my day working on devices, so it’s just not relaxing to me. Yes, I will read articles on a device, but I don’t read books that way. I think it’s wonderful for both authors and readers that we do have digital options, but for me personally, I hope that physical books will never go away.

So here I am, giving out some “awards” that aren’t about the written word inside the pages but rather the beautiful physicality of books. I’m selecting books that are on my own bookshelves so I can take photos of the winners. These are novels (and a few non-fiction books) that I’ve either read or are in my To-Be-Read pile. So I know I’m obviously missing some fantastic options that I don’t own. So please share YOUR favorites in the comments section below.

Drum roll… the winners are….

SIGHT FOR SORE EYES BOOK COVERS Winners: The Dry by Jane Harper, If I Could Tell You by Elizabeth Wilhide, Wool by Hugh Howey, In the Woods by Tana French, The River Widow by Ann Howard Creel, The Peculiar Memories of Thomas Penman by Bruce Robinson, Her by Harriet Lane, Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell, April & Oliver by Tess Callahan, The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak, The Red Scarf by Kate Furnivall, Disclaimer by Renee Knight, A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly, The Next Time You See Me by Holly Goddard Jones, The Company by K.J. Parker, Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols, Fall for Anything by Courtney Summers, Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys, Trash by Andy Mulligan, In A Dark Dark Wood by Ruth Ware, Dare Me by Megan Abbott, and My Name is Memory by Anne Brashares
Honorable Mention: My shoes

ALL THE PRETTY SPINESWinners: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta, More Now Again by Elizabeth Wurtzel, Crooked Little Vein by Warren Ellis, Tatiana and Alexander by Paullina Simons, High Crimes by Michael Kodas, Vince & Joy by Lisa Jewell, and Gone Gril by Gillian Flynn.

TEMPT ME WITH YOUR TYPESETWinners: My Sunshine Away by M.O. Walsh (Look at those beveled edges!)

Stay safe, and happy reading!



Hallie Shepherd is a writer, actress, and film producer. Follow her on Instagram where she celebrates the stories we tell.