Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sunday Salon

Please excuse me for a minute while I step up on my soapbox and begin the lecture. The lesson this week? It's that golden oldie: Don't judge a book by it's cover.

This is my daughter's best friend. To say that some people find her look off-putting would be to put it mildly. In addition to the heavy eyeliner, this friend wears tremendously oversized black clothing, her hair hangs in her face, and she's frequently sporting skulls on her clothing. But this young lady is one of the best friends a teenage girl could possibly have. She's never anything other than polite and is more than willing to talk to my husband and me when she is over. There is never a time when this young lady is not welcome in my home--which is more than I can say for some of the young people my children have befriended.

Recently I came across a blog post that had a picture of some books the blogger had received and all of them had identical grey covers. Nothing on them at all. And I very nearly skimmed right over the post because my brain automatically assumed that dull covers = dull books. Which would logically lead to the assumption that beautiful covers = beautiful books. Likewise, if a book has a dessert or a beach scene on the cover, the assumption is that the book is chick lit and that it's a light read. My copy of "Gilead" by Marilynne Robinson has a very simple, plain cover. And, in some ways, it is a very simple book. But it is not plain; it is a beautifully written book. Without word-of-mouth, I'm not sure I would ever have picked it up. That would have been a real lose. Are there any books you've picked up because of the cover that have disappointed you? Any that were a real surprise?

12 comments:

  1. Oh man! I wish I could think of some specifics, but I know that there have been several covers that don't really match the type of book I'm reading. I buy so many books based on blogger input now that I don't really look at covers much anymore. I agree, though, shouldn't judge!! You never know what's on the inside (and sometimes the cover is better than the book!).

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  2. To be honest, I mostly remember the times when I picked up a book with a beautiful cover and the story turned out to be crap. I'm sure there have been the other sort, too, but I can't remember anything off the top of my head. You make a valid point, though!

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  3. I had a torn up copy of Uncle Tom's Cabin for my book group and it was my own pick yet I did not want to read it just because of how boring it looked. Of course I loved the book. I think I felt the same way about The Grapes of Wrath.

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  4. I know exactly what you mean. Some teens need to make a statement, but that has nothing to do with what kind of person they are.

    as for books, i am attracted to cover, but i can think of a couple that had beautiful cover, but disappointed me:

    True Colors; Kristen Hannah
    I See You Everywhere; Julia Glass

    and the reverse has been too too, although I'm tired and can't think of any right now LOL

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  5. Great posting! I always tend to choose books with beautiful covers. Some of them has been dissapointments, but books like Something Blue and Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin I chose only because of the cover and they became one of my favorite books.
    First time I read P&P by Jane Austen years ago I found this really old copy of it from the library which had nothing on the cover of it, it was just brown. I did not know anything about the book, I just took it home with me and I read it on one sitting. Since that day it has been my favorite book. :DD

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  6. I can't think of any good-cover books that let me down. I will however admit that when I first saw the Outlander series, I thought it'd be pretty boring because the books are essentially just 1 solid color with a small symbol or graphic on the front. I thought they'd be dull, but boy was I wrong!!

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  7. I can say that I'm not usually swayed by good or bad covers if I really want to read the book. and since my tbr is hundreds of titles long, I rarely (sadly) ever shop by sight alone. I can't think of any books that answer your question. But it might bug me so if I think of something I'll run right over and let you know. :)

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  8. Diane, I totally agree about "I See You Everywhere."

    Milka, if you hadn't picked up that plain brown book, you never would have discovered your fav!

    Same is true with Sarah and the Outlander series!

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  9. I agree with you, but I do hate when older books are reissued with plain cloth covers. It doesn't stop me from reading them however!

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  10. I try not to judge a book by its cover, but most of the time can't help it! It's been awhile since I've picked up one without knowing already what it's about...

    I have an award for you:

    http://gofita.blogspot.com/2009/08/humane-award.html

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  11. I can't think of any specifics, but I know that there have been some. A lot of the times when I go to buy books, I just browse, and if the cover doesn't grab me I'm unlikely to pick it up. That's one reason why I love reading reviews, it helps me to look beyond the cover.

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  12. I am a sucker for a beautiful cover. I really am. It is hard for me to pick up a book that has a cover that I don't find interesting. I have picked books out at the bookstore just because of their covers. Have I ever been disappointed? Yes, of course. However, I can't think of one right now! How quickly we forget them. :)

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