Cover Collection: Excellent Women

Excellent Women Collection

1. VMC Designer Collection  // 2. Penguin Books // 3. Plume // 4. Virago Modern Classics //

5. Penguin Books // 6. Pan Books

In honor of Barbara Pym Reading Week this month’s cover collection is of Excellent Women, Pym’s most famous and beloved novel. I own the Plume edition and it is my favorite of these covers. I love the simple vibrancy of its pattern. My second favorite is no. 4. I know a lot of people dislike the VMC covers, but I think they are bright and beautiful. No. 6 on the other hand…gross. Which of these covers do you prefer?

It’s been really wonderful this week to read the numerous Pym posts around the blogosphere. To see one of my favorite authors receive attention, admiration and respect is truly exciting and gives me hope that her books will be read for many years to come.

Here is a list of the Pym books I’ve posted about in the past:

Excellent Women

A Glass of Blessings

Jane and Prudence

Less Than Angels

No Fond Return of Love

Some Tame Gazelle

An Unsuitable Attachment

I plan to read the rest of her novels by the end of the year. What Pym will you read next?

Have a fantastic weekend!

21 thoughts on “Cover Collection: Excellent Women

  1. I have #5, but I’m not wild about the cover. As usual, I’d love to have the Penguin edition – and not just for the cover, I’d be interested to see what kind of editor’s notes are included. The pattern covers are interesting & attractive, but they don’t seem connected to the books, to me – they seem a bit generic – in contrast to the new VMC covers, which do convey something about the books, to my mind. I’m waiting on copies of Some Tame Gazelle and No Fond Return of Love – I’m hoping one at least arrives in tomorrow’s mail.


    1. Both the books you’ve ordered are wonderful – good choices! The VMC covers are criticized as being ‘chicklitish’, but I think they are very ’50’s and suit the stories.


  2. Number 3 is my favorite, but I sent my copy to Matt (A Guy’s Moleskin Notebook) last year. Number 1 seems to be the ‘classic’ cover, and #4 is the one on my shelf now. My daughter purchased it for me in London a couple of years ago.


  3. I read a wrapperless copy from the library, but I do rather fancy number no. 3’s lovely floral pattern. The other Pyms I’ve read followed no. 4’s cover in style, but as they were on my kindle, I didn’t have to look at it!


  4. I agree with you about number three. That’s the edition I have; it’s a bit old and tattered from so many readings, but very special to me. Yes, it is heartening to see so many people love one of my favorite authors and I have really enjoyed this Reading week devoted to Barbara Pym! I know you are a fan and have enjoyed your reviews of her books.


  5. I received number 1 as a gift a few years ago, it’s the only Pym I’ve read, feeling I should read another after all the blog posts this week.


  6. I agree with you #3 is my favourite I like the simple pattern and the purple band at the top. I am a sucker for anything with purple on it.


  7. I have #1 and it’s my favourite by some margin. I’d like #2 on the right books, but I don’t think it suits Excellent Women. And though I’m not overly fond of the new Virago covers they do seem to be selling the books – I see copies on the returns shelf in the library quite often.

    No immediate plans for reading more Pym – I’ve learned these year the she’s one of those authors – like Muriel Spark and Molly Keane – shoes works I need to spread out, even though I love them.


    1. I definitely feel that way about Muriel Spark. I love her and read two of her books last year, but I’ve taken a break because her style is a little too intense for mass reading.


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