Judging Books By Their Covers

Although I tend to talk about writing a lot here on my blog, you may not realize I'm a major reader too. I know, I know, like a real person, right? I lay in bed at night, knees tipped to the sky, cat lying on my feet, and flip the actual pages of books or press the button to turn pages on my old school Kindle sans ads and touch screens.

I read quite a wide variety of books and I'm often in more than one book at a time. I also take advantage of my local library, which is fantastic beyond belief, for both my print and digital books to keep costs down. I'm a starving writer, I NEED my library to support my habit. Currently on my nightstand I have Shangai Girls by Lisa See, Scott Snyder and Scott Tuft's comic issue #5 of Severed, The Help from Katherine Stockett, Fables: Book Three by Bill Willingham, and Tom Franklin's richly-verbed Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter. In bed is the safest place for me to read since that means my child and the cats are already asleep, so my time is quiet and mine. But why do I pick up these books and what's sucking me in?

Sometimes I pick up a book because others have recommended it from their readings (Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love) or there's a lot of buzz going around about it coming out and my interest is peaked (The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern). Other times, as is the case for Lisa See, I picked up Snow Flower and the Secret Fan because I kept seeing her name and her books all over my library and in bookstores and I was curious. Other times still, I read a book because it is an author I adore [author read: Toni Morrison, adore read: want to be].

Then there is the other way, the reason for this post, that I spot the cover of a book and I just wonder what is going on in those pages. Some books, based on their cover (and let's face it, people get paid to worry about snagging readers based on the cover alone) and only their cover, I'm turned off completely without looking up the plot or reading the inside flap of the dust jacket.

Other books, however, get me interested just by their cover and I either read into the plot to see if I want to read it, or I go ahead and turn to page one to get started. These books have just the right title with just the right cover. These are books, I believe, that get better sales just because they have appeal. Let's face it, you can wrap the same story in two covers (such as a second edition) and suddenly you're buying based on the look of the cover.

In The Help, for example, I prefer the cover with the birds on it as opposed to the one with the movie shot of the women sitting at a bench. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan has a green cover with a lone, small open fan, or you can pick the larger open fan which covers the majority of a girl's face. I'm all over the one with the partial face and the green cover leaves something to be desired.

So, all of that being said, I thought I might share some beautiful covers from time to time with you as I spot them just for fun. The first comes from an awesome looking book called Women Travelers: A Century of Trailblazing Adventures, 1850-1950.

The second I saw this coffee table book I fell in love with the cover. A job well done for the book designers! It's intriguing and wild, composed and juxtaposed. The inside of the book and the stories there of real women traveling the world was just a deliciously good to read.

Are there any beautiful covers you've seen lately? Share away.

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