Quote of the Week

"I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! -- When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library."
Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Books by the Cover, People by the Book

I know the saying, "Don't judge a book by it's cover."  I've actually been known to use it now and then, because I think there is tremendous value in seeing something for its contents and not what it's wearing.  However, I still find myself a bit embarrassed to wander into the science fiction/fantasy section at the bookstore.  It's pathetic, but I still find myself looking down the aisle first to see if anyone is there and then decide whether or not I want to go down that road.  Frequently I see the stereotypical balding, mid-40s man with glasses completely enthralled in the synopsis on the back of a poorly designed book cover.  Now, I have no doubt that the book is good, but do I want to be caught reading that?  Then I wonder if I'm as weird as I think they are.  I'm sure they are delightful people, and I have, on occasion, seen a very attractive mid-20s guy wrapped up in the same books.  If the attractive guy is down the aisle I generally tend to glance around and see what else I could be viewing--besides his perfectly formed shoulders.  I also wander down if there is no one there to see me actually pick up a book or two.

Why is this?  I can guarantee that some of you out there have thought the exact same things about some of these books.  Am I right?  You see the busty redhead in leather thrusting a sword into the air, lightning striking its tip.  Or, there's the spaceship gliding through space with lasers defeating the evil emperor of a foreign galaxy.  I just can't get myself to pick up these books because they have such awful covers.  I see them and automatically think mid-40s, bald, glasses, loner.

Have you noticed it's usually just the adult books?  Young adult books (for the most part) have really intriguing covers.  If the cover isn't interesting a teenager simply isn't going to pick it up, let alone read it.  There are some books that I have heard are excellent, but I can't get myself to read them because the cover makes them look cheesy and not worth my time.  It actually took quite a bit of coaxing for me to read the Uglies series because of the covers.  The new covers look splendid!  And...the content was much better than the cover.  Still one of my favorite series. 

I will admit, I'm getting better at giving books a chance despite whatever an artist has done to the cover.  There's probably a lot of good out there I'm missing.  I quite like science fiction when the story is well written and the same goes for fantasy.  I know I shouldn't judge, and I'm happy to admit I'm getting better.  Remember it's not the author who designed the cover.  Someone else did. 

Shannon Hale once said not to let anyone get to you about what you read.  Read what you love and don't ever let anyone tell you not to like something.


Jernae Kowallis said...

Ha ha ha ha! I totally know what you mean about the stereotype! Only I always imagine the dorky looking twenty-year-old loners in that aisle. I still can't bring myself to read much fantasy.

Mallary said...

yeah, the hard core fantasy still worries me.