“What’s in a cover?
That which we call a bestseller
With any other cover
would read as sweet.”
My apologies to
Shakespeare, but as a best-selling author himself, whose plays have seen some
crazy covers over the years, I think the man might agree. When it comes to the
reading and enjoying of a story, a book’s cover is irrelevant. Yet, despite the
age-old adage warning us not to judge a book by its cover, we do. It can’t be
helped; a cover is a book’s first impression, it’s online dating profile pic, if you will.
Like with potential dates, it’s
hard not to judge a work upon first seeing it. Also like with potential dates, that
first judgment can often be wrong. A cover that might catch our eye visually
might belong to a book whose genre or style is far from our tastes and vice
versa. Who doesn’t have a few books on the shelves that look stunning but were
never finished? Or a few classics with yawn-inspiring jackets that have been
reread to the point the binding is in pieces? We ought to have learned this lesson in high school when we always went for the guys with the looks, only to Facebook search the geeks we graduated with years later to discover they’re not only rich, but also pretty handsome.
Even my own shelves,
stacked only with the books I loved enough to buy physical copies of, often
hard-covers, in order to display, have quite a medley of covers—more than a few
of which I don’t particularly like. The cartoon drawings on Charlaine Harris’s
Sookie Stackhouse books would never have led me to purchase them if I hadn’t
had numerous recommendations from friends. (It was a blind-book-date I was glad I went on!) And though a few friends and
former students might burn me for blasphemy for this one, I’m admitting it
anyway: I don’t really like the covers of any of the first four Harry Potter
books. Sure, they’ve earned a special place in my heart, but that’s because of
the hours I spent lugging them around, reading and rereading the pages in
between. The artwork itself is not my style. I much prefer the symbolic covers
of the Twilight series or the
simple symbols on the Hunger Games
But those, of course, are
my preferences. Everyone’s preferences of what they want to see on a cover are
different. Just like everyone’s preferences of what they want to read between
those covers are different. However, you might miss out on some good reading if
you only open the covers of books that look good to you. As anyone who has ever
dated knows, a pretty cover is great to display, but if there’s nothing
interesting on the inside, it makes for some looong nights.
However, if you’re lucky enough to
find a book or a beau that has both, you should scoff it up—and quickly, too!
I’m hoping you’ll find Unveiled
worthy of scoffing up come May. For now you’ll just have to make do with judging
this book-to-be by its cover tomorrow!
In the meantime, share
your general cover preference: