Frayed Cover Recommendations

Book with frayed coverWhile compiling the Rachel Gibson “Which One First?” recommendation list (which I'll be posting this week), several readers mentioned what I've termed the “Frayed Cover Recommendation.”

To quote Rita, who was talking about See Jane Score ( A | BN | K | S | ARe ), “My copy is worn to the point that the cover is completely frayed.”

YES. Exactly. When a book has been re-read so many times, the cover has fallen apart, and perhaps you've had to buy another copy because the book is that good, that's a 100% honest Frayed Cover Recommendation. The books don't lie!

I've posted pictures of a few of my Frayed Cover books, like Julie Garwood's The Bride, which is held together with duct tape, and my copy of Judith McNaught's Perfect  ( A | BN | K | S) , which is the pinnacle of Frayed Cover: it has none:

my frayed copies of Perfect and A Kingdom of Dreams

Kingdom of Dreams ( A | BN | K | S) is in a similar state, as you can see.

And this is my replacement copy of Midsummer Magic ( A | BN | K | S), the first romance I ever read — replaced because, you guessed it, the cover fell off the first one. And this one is plenty frayed, too. (I had to order the original cover, because this to me is the PINNACLE of old Skool cover art: there is a swan freaking the fuck out behind him, her eyeshadow is a strange shade, and she's a redhead wearing orange – To say nothing of the SURPRISE BUTTSECKS position.) I reviewed this book in 2007 to see if it held up after all those years, and it surely did - I gave it a B, with much sentimental influence.

Midsummer Magic


I have a lot of Frayed Recommendations on my shelf, more than I can count. Most of my paperbacks that I've kept are frayed from multiple re-reads, and by “multiple” I am probably up to counting in exponential numbers.

After posting about Frayed Cover Recommendations on Twitter, a flood of similar recommendations appeared: 

Frayed Cover Recommendations

These are the books with covers that are falling off (or close to it) because you’ve re-read them so many times. You might even be on your second or third copy! Below are the Frayed Cover books from Twitter responses!

Storified by Sarah Wendell · Mon, Jun 11 2012 13:40:30

New term: “Frayed Cover recommendation.” You’ve read this book so many times, it’s fallen apart, and maybe you bought another, it’s so good.Sarah Wendell
@SmartBitches My “Frayed Cover Recommendation” is Warprize by Elizabeth Vaughan. Such an amazing series – so well imagined and romantic!KatiB
RT @KatiD: @SmartBitches My “Frayed Cover Recommendation” is Warprize by Elizabeth Vaughan. Such an amazing series – so well imagined and romantic!Sarah Wendell
@SmartBitches I like… But what’s the eBook equivalent?Jean Kaplansky
“@JeanKaplansky: what’s the eBook equivalent?” Hm. “Never leaves the reader.” “Always in the queue?” Not as visual, alas!Sarah Wendell
@SmartBitches Love it! mine would be “Good Omens” by Pratchett and Gaiman, definitely.Julie Leir VanSickle
@SmartBitches One of my ultimate Frayed Cover Recommendations is “The Last Arrow” by Marsha Canham. I love everything about this book. :))MsTypo
RT @DancinJulesJLVS: @SmartBitches Love it! mine would be “Good Omens” by Pratchett and Gaiman, definitely.Sarah Wendell
RT @Typo_eh: @SmartBitches One of my ultimate Frayed Cover Recommendations is “The Last Arrow” by Marsha Canham. I love everything about this book. :))Sarah Wendell
The Shadow and The Star @SmartBitchesMolly O’Keefe
@SmartBitches My Frayed Covers are: SEP’s Dream a Little Dream & Ain’t She Sweet. Those bks are actually falling apart–need to tape soon.Elyssa Patrick
@SmartBitches My Frayed Cover is See Jane Score. Pages are loose. When it falls apart, I’ll replace it.Julia Broadbooks
@SmartBitches linda howard’s mackenzie’s pleasure. i, um, may have owned four copies at one point to try to avoid frayed cover syndromeKatie Dunneback
@SmartBitches “Good Omens,” Gaiman and Pratchett. “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle,” Kingsolver. “Watership Down,” Adams. “Odds Against,” FrancisLouisa
@SmartBitches also Elda Minger’s The Fling. I <3 <3 <3 that bk so much.Elyssa Patrick
@SmartBitches I own three copies of The Windflower – One to loan, one to read and one to keep. #FrayedCoverRecommendationKatiB
I second Dream a Little Dream!! @ElyssaPatrick @SmartBitchesMolly O’Keefe
@SmartBitches Dark Desire and Dark Fire by Christine Feehan-sadly I had to buy new copies-never read/never touchedSandy
@SmartBitches Love that! My favorite books are usually ones I no longer own because I keep giving them away, or the covers have fallen off.Deborah Nemeth
@SmartBitches My Frayed Cover Recommendation has gotta be Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I go back and reread that one at least once a year.Book girl 215
@SmartBitches I guess mine would be these. I was word perfect on Gone With The Wind aged 16. It’s 70% Sellotape now. Johnson
@SmartBitches My frayed cover recommendation is Pride & Prejudice.TweetWeekUSA/Shanda
@SmartBitches the Lady by Anne McCaffrey. It’s got sooooooo many problems, but I’m on my third copy anyway.Redheadedgirl
@SmartBitches my “frayed cover rec” is The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters. Gorgeous prose and brilliantly plottedAmy Taylor
@SmartBitches frayed cover recs: Chesapeake bays series, Nora Roberts, stardoc by SL Viehl & the JD Robb booksshiloh walker
RT @KatiD: @SmartBitches My “Frayed Cover Recommendation” is Warprize by Elizabeth Vaughan. Such an amazing series – so well imagined and romantic!Denise Pattison
RT @Typo_eh: @SmartBitches One of my ultimate Frayed Cover Recommendations is “The Last Arrow” by Marsha Canham. I love everything about this book. :))Joanna Novins
@SmartBitches Magic Bleeds @ilona_andrews. I love the way Curran and Kate finally get together.Vickie the Blunt
@SmartBitches A White Merc with Fins, the Stories of Eva Luna and Thud! – this year’s frayed cover recommendations – love the ideaPortia
@SmartBitches Frayed Cover Recommendation: “Cordelia’s Honor” by Lois McMaster Bujold. I never, ever get tired of it.Elizabeth DeHoff
@SmartBitches My Frayed Cover Rec: Night Shield by Nora Roberts. I’m on my 2nd copy b/c the middle fell out of the 1st. Fantastic dialogue!Holly
@smartbitches My frayed cover is Monica McCarty’s HIGHLAND WARRIOR. I’ve been through 3 copies!highland hussy
@SmartBitches my frayed book covers are SEP’s This Heart of Mine & Judith McNaught’s Once & Always & Paradise.Kelli Carter
@SmartBitches Sandra Boynton’s Doggies and Philadelphia Chickens is my frayed cover rec. (It’s not all romance you know)Vassiliki Veros
@SmartBitches My Frayed cover rec is the 7 Brides for 7 Brothers series by Leigh Greenwood. Moved many, many times with meslphilli
@SmartBitches Jean M Auel. First three books fell apart; Mom looked for the pieces to have her sign them last year. I was ten and obsessed.Catherine Krahe
@smartbitches my Frayed Cover reccomendation is Naked in Death by J.D.Robb. Read more than 10 times!Ren Puspita
@SmartBitches My rec: Pride & Prejudice. 5 copies incl ebook. Also, 4 copies of BBC adaptation (VHS, 2 DVD, digital). Wow. Lol.Lisa Jimenez
@SmartBitches Also, Night Watch, by Terry Pratchett.Lisa Jimenez
@SmartBitches My Frayed Cover recs: After The Night (Linda Howard), Garden Spells (Sarah Addison Allen), Blue Moon (Laurell K Hamilton) contJennifer
@SmartBitches please tell me someone’s Frayed Cover Rec’d Pride & Prejudice? (Or Witch of Blackbird Pond – YA romance! SWOON!)Kelly
@SmartBitches Magician by Raymond E Feist, and Hogfather by Terry Pratchett.Shell C
@SmartBitches Frayed Cover recs cont: Kiss of Fire (Deborah Cooke), Brides Series (Catherine Coulter), LoTR series (Tolkien), Dune (Herbert)Jennifer
@SmartBitches Frayed Cover Recommendation: Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Night Play. Held together with hope and promises of book tape.Ms. Lily Anderson
@SmartBitches: Frayed Cover recs: Judith McNaught’s first 10 novels (minus Tender Triumph). LaVyrle Spencer’s Separate Beds.Farrah Rochon
@SmartBitches My Frayed Cover Rec: Improper English by Katie MacAlister. Every time I read it I have to tuck pages back in.Julie
@SmartBitches My #frayedcoverrecommendation is @LisaKleypas “Wallflower” series. Love them so much! Romance, humor & great stories.rayvyn2k
@SmartBitches Frayed Cover recommendation: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. The spines creased & some pages are loose.Michelle?
@SmartBitches Frayed Cover recommendation: nothing’s more battered than The Complete Works of Jane Austen.Julia Tew
@SmartBitches Son of the Morning Linda Howard. I’ve gone through four copies.Marty Mathews
@SmartBitches Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K Hamilton for me. Back when that series was still amazing.Sierra Dean
@SmartBitches other frayed covers: The Duke And I by Julia Quinn. Capital. and The Bargain by Mary Jo Putney.Julia Tew
@SmartBitches My Frayed cover rec: The Flame and The Flower K. Woodiwess. original 1976 copy, in pieces, wouldn’t trade it for the world!Natalie Nutting
@SmartBitches My frayed cover books are Pride & Prejudice, Orlando by Virginia Woolf, and The Ordinary Princess by M M Kaye.Mrs. Mystery Brewing

v>@SmartBitches most of my #frayedcover books are from when i was a kid, specifically Little House on the Prairie and Charlotte’s WebLusty Reader

@SmartBitches The Oracle Glass by Judith Merkle Riley. I don’t loan it out, I’m that attached to it. I think every page is dog-eared.Kate Ahern Loveric
@Smartbitches Frayed cover Rec: Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. Recently replaced Dragonfly, it was losing pages.
@SmartBitches Heartless by Mary Balogh. Luke! It’s all about Luke.Phyl
@SmartBitches my adult #frayedcover books are Jane Eyre, Nora Roberts’ Born in Ice and V. Dahl’s Lead Me OnLusty Reader
@SmartBitches My dust jacket of Slightly Dangerous by Mary Balogh is horribly frayed. #FrayedHardcover.Mandi Schreiner
@SmartBitches My frayed cover books are Pride & Prejudice, Orlando by Virginia Woolf, and The Ordinary Princess by M M Kaye.Mrs. Mystery Brewing
@SmartBitches My Frayed Cover Rec: “The Talisman” by Stephen King & Peter Straub. 1st book to lose its cover & really make me want to write.slod
@SmartBitches my #frayedcover is Ellen Kushner’s SwordspointMaria
@SmartBitches Dude, @lucymonroe’s The Greek’s Christmas Baby & my cover on her “The Italian’s Suitable Wife” has completely fallen off.DeeTenorio
@SmartBitches Goodnight Mister Tom,on the inside of book cover I have written the date for every re-read since the first read in 4th grade:)Annika
oh my god! Yes – Goodnight MR. Tom! Love that book – need to find my copy @AnnikaEinarsson @SmartBitchesMolly O’Keefe
@AnnikaEinarsson I’ve never met anyone else who’s read that book! @SmartBitchesLu@RegularRumination
@SmartBitches Midnight Warrior by Iris Johannsen. I’ve owned 3 copies.B303tilly
@SmartBitches My Frayed Cover: Jennifer Crusie’s Bet and all Suzanne Brockmann’s..esp Into the Night.Ryann Murphy
@SmartBitches “A string in the harp” by Nancy Bond. It was a gift when I was 10 or 11 from a teacher. It’s still one of my favourites.Janne
@SmartBitches my copy of ‘the madness of lord Ian Mackenzie’ looks like it’s been through a threshing machine. #frayedbindingandcoverstacey agdern
@SmartBitches #frayedcover recommendation: Over the Edge by Suzanne Brockmann. Start of a lifelong love for Sam Starrett & Team Sixteen.Anne
@SmartBitches Jane Eyre. The pages are like soft cloth they are so worn, and the corners are all rounded. #frayedcovermidnightblooms
@SmartBitches Howl’s Moving Castle which wore out in about six months my family and I reread it so much. #frayedcovermidnightblooms
@SmartBitches Beauty by Robin McKinley. Isle of Glass by Judith Tarr. Arrows of the queen by Mercedes Lackey #frayedcoverwyvernfriend
@SmartBitches Strands of Starlight by Gael Baudino Infinity Concerto by Greg Bear; winds of darkover by MZ Bradley #frayedcoverwyvernfriend
@SmartBitches i have a collection of Saint and Baron novels that are in complete bits #frayedcoverwyvernfriend
@SmartBitches my #frayedcover – Conflict of Honors by Steve Miller and Sharon Lee – has been my comfort read since HS
@SmartBitches My #frayedcover is Peter S. Beagle’s The Last Unicorn.Cindy
@SmartBitches #frayedcover reccs: The Duke’s Wager, Windflower, The Temporary Bride, The Grand Sophy, Lord of Scoundrels, Shards of Honor.Darlene Marshall
@SmartBitches Again by Seidel. Notorious Rake by Balogh. A couple of old Burchell categories. #frayedcoverSunita
@SmartBitches Carnal Innocence by Nora Roberts and Shades of Twilight by Linda Howard #frayedcoverBrie (RAroundCorner)
@SmartBitches My #frayedcover would be my Christopher Pike. I collected and read them literally apart. Except Pepper. Hated that one.DeAubreyDigest
@SmartBitches Frayed Covers: Gerald Durrell’s My family and other animals,Terry Pratchett’s Guards Guards.Genoveva London
My Frayed Cover Recommendation: Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie @SmartBitches #frayedcoverRita Oberlies
Guilty pleasures by Laurell k Hamilton is my frayed cover. @SmartBitches #frayedcoverDena De Paulo
DARK LEGEND by Christine Feehan is my frayed cover. #frayedcover @smartbitchesPenny Watson
So many #FrayedCover. Daddy’s Little Dividend by Elda Minger, Dark Desire by Feehan, Guarding Jeannie by Beverly Barton @SmartBitchesLillie
I’ve rebought all of Garwood’s historicals because of #FrayedCovers @SmartBitchesLillie
@SmartBitches Not romance… Mickey Zucker Reichert’s Legend of Nightfall, CS Friedman’s Black Sun Rising, & Mercedes Lackey’s Magic’s PawnLisa Rodgers
@SmartBitches My #frayedcover recommendation is Black Beauty. My copy literally fell apart, so I replaced with an ebook.Linda Taggart
@SmartBitches Mine are “Eye of the world by Robert Jordan and Sheepfarmer’s daughter by Elizabeth MoonPatrick Doris
@SmartBitches Frayed cover rec. I can only read MacHugh now if I hold him Very Carefully (which I do :-) Kearsley

What about you? What are your frayed cover books? Want to share a pic?

Thank you to BigStock for the image!