Whether it’s bold and beautiful or stark and minimal we all have book covers we are drawn to.
‘Never judge a book by it’s cover’ is of course the old adage but WE ALL DO IT!
Don’t even pretend you don’t.
But how often do we get it right? How often do we get drawn to a book by its cover and actually *dare I say it* love the contents too? Well that is holy grail type stuff fo sho!
I’m writing this post as a newly thwarted, freshly scorned purchaser of a beautiful book which was absolutely, disappointingly NOT what I was expecting. I’m still a bit raw to be honest. It smarts.
I am using my pain as a catalyst for this post which got me thinking about the times I’ve hit the nail on the head and the times I was so wrong I could have wept.
Let’s start with the most recent book in question…..
Fine Fine Fine Fine Fine by Diane Williams.
LOOK AT IT.
It’s stunning! It also has French flaps and who doesn’t love a flap, French or otherwise?…
I picked this short story collection off the shelf in my local Waterstones, stroked it, flicked through it, sniffed it……wait no!
I didn’t sniff it…..
Rewind back to my first mistake ‘I flicked through it’.
What I should have done instead of ‘flicking through it’ was get right on my phone and google the hell out of the Goodreads reviews. Because let me tell you those guys over there know what they are talking about when it comes to 1 star reviews. Had I looked properly and done my research I would have put this beauty firmly back on the shelf and walked away…..maybe a little wounded but £8.99 the richer.
These short stories are SUPER SHORT, more like flash fiction.
Here is a perfect example of one of them:
No? Me neither.
I had NO IDEA what any of these stories were about. NOT ONE!
I mean I’m no Einstein but I like to think I have at least a modicum of intelligence but this book had me for a fool (not least because of the £8.99 I shelled out!).
Man I’m still sore about this one!
Let’s move on to exhibit B in the never judge a book by its cover failure debacle.
The Man Who Loved Children By Christina Stead
The picture I have of this one doesn’t do the beauty of this book any justice. It opens out into a complete Norman Rockwell painting entitled ‘Going And Coming’.
It is a stunning image and to be honest, it’s what drew me right in. The contents however……..
I really didn’t understand much of what this book was about……it’s a right bloody chunkster too. This is another book which I felt was made up of an accumulation of words that I didn’t understand. I did feel somewhat dumb after I’d read it. And read it I did! In its entirety! Another reason why I’ll be DNF’ing books much quicker this year!
Lets move on to more positive pastures shall we? I don’t like to dwell in the negatives…..
What are the books I was initially drawn to by their cover BUT then turned out to be books I’ve loved? Well of course I’ve read quite a few great books with eyecatching covers but if I was pressed to name one or two standout books they would be:
The Silent Companions By Laura Purcell – Publisher by Bloomsbury Raven
This is a beautiful hardback with a cutout keyhole with that creepy little eye poking through…..open the cover and you get to see the whole disconcerting face! Plus it has lovely gold foiling and those beautiful old fashioned birdcages. I just love it! The book aswell is actually amazing (my review is here).
Next up we have:
Night-Gaunts by Joyce Carol Oates
I bought this book entirely on a whim when I was in London recently. A cheeky little trip to Hatchards revealed this beauty and I knew I must have it! If i’m honest I didn’t check the price before I went to the till and nearly had a coronary there and then but I sucked it up and handed over my bank card (£18.99 if you’re wondering…eeeek!). So worth it!
Whenever I post pictures of this one on Twitter or Instagram I get comments about the cover art. A couple of people mentioned recently that the image looked very Hopper-esque so I did a little research and it is apparently based on the painting ’11AM’ by Edward Hopper (1926).
I just adore this cover. When I bought the book I spent a while just LOOKING at it! I sometimes take it off the shelf to stare at it a while….Normal.
As to my opinion of the contents, well, I’ve only read a couple of the short stories but so far so good. I have a very good feeling about the rest of the book. I’ll report back when I’m done.
I thought I’d include a book I’m crushing on the cover of.
BUT I’ve not started reading it yet so I cannot comment on the story contained within.
Blonde By Joyce Carol Oates – 4th Estate
Just look at Mazza! she’s an absolute queen!
Lastly I thought I’d lower the tone and show you this book that I bought in a secondhand book shop/cafe purely because it’s completely silver foiled and has a nipple on it……
It’s pure filth.
On that note I’ll leave you. But please do let me know of your book cover triumphs and failures. Mainly so that I don’t make the same mistakes!
See you all soon.
Amanda @Bookishchat xxx