They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. But here we are doing precisely that. Judging a book – or ten books – by their covers.

In this latest instalment of our weekly feature, Tuesday Top Ten, we are taking a look at some of the most beautiful and attractive cover art from contemporary English-language Pakistani literature. It is not overly strict as to which book is a valid candidate for this list and which isn’t – as long as a book or its author have a strong connection with Pakistan.

Five Queen’s Road by Sorayya Khan

five queens road

For a historical, dramatic novel set in Lahore’s old city, what better way to set the mood than exceptional photography of the city’s dusty yet royal splendor.

In Other Rooms, Other Wonders by Daniyal Mueenuddin

in other rooms other wonders daniyal mueenuddin

This short story collection by the Pakistani-American author is adorned by a skillfully illustrated cover that shows a very peculiar, and interesting, interpretation of the stories and the overall tone.

Our Lady of Alice Bhatti by Mohammed Hanif

Our lady of alice bhatti mohammed hanif

The delicious visual marriage between stained glass painting style and a dash of bright tones seemingly inspired by local truck art make for a very attractive cover to a very enjoyable read.

The Sweetness of Tears by Nafisa Haji

the sweetness of tears

The main theme of the novel by the Los Angeles-based author is a quest of discovery against most norms and boundaries. This theme is beautifully brought to life in the striking cover art.

An American Brat by Bapsi Sidhwa

an american brat bapsi sidhwa

This delightful novel has a lot to do with east-meets-west themes and fittingly, the cover makes use of excellent illustration to bring together east and west.

I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

i am malala

As controversial and contentious as the Malala issue may be in Pakistan, there’s no denying that the cover art for her autobiography is poignant and attention grabbing. Foregoing everything for a simple portrait in beautiful color tones, the cover manages to attract attention quite well.

How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia by Mohsin Hamid

How to get filty rich in rising asia mohsin hamid

Hamid’s innovative storytelling experiment polarized critics – and the cover art for his self-help style novel makes smart use of elements from the story. The water bottle and a silhouette of Lahore serve as excellent icons.

A Case of Exploding Mangoes by Mohammed Hanif


The sensational hit that is based on the death one of Pakistan’s military dictators, General Zia ul Haque, has a dark, satirical tone. Satirically, the novel’s cover is bright yellow and mangoey.

Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie

burnt shadows kamila shamsie

With the intense narrative of this novel set around themes such as the Nagasaki bombing and the Indo-Pak partition, it is only fitting that the cover art paints a rather glum tone.

Duty Free by Moni Mohsin

Moni Mohsin Duty Free

Described as ‘Jane Austen’s Emma, transported to the outrageous social melee of 21st-century Lahore,’ this novel has a very appropriate cover that stays true to the fun narrative.