Do you read a book for its cover?
- May 7, 2021
- Susan Breen
The other day I was scrolling through Facebook and I came across a photo of the cover of Mia Manasala’s new book, Arsenic and Adobo. I was intrigued immediately. The bright colors pulled me in. So did the dog. It just had the vibe of a book I would enjoy reading. I’ve certainly read books with unappealing covers (probably), but I do find that if I like a cover, I’ll often like a book. So I asked my fellow Miss Demeanors how that felt on the subject. This is what they said.
Keenan: I admit it. I’m a cover snob. If the art strikes my fancy, I buy books which I may never read. Bought a ton of the British Library Crime Classics for that very reason. At least I have a well-rounded library. I didn’t buy Mexican Gothic for the longest time because I thought it was a romance which is not my favorite genre.
Michele: While I don’t judge a book from its cover, I can be enticed by book covers. A beautiful book cover is a piece of art in and of itself. There are many books I have not read that had book covers I admired. There are also many books I have read and loved which had less than alluring covers. Occasionally, there will be a book that has both. Before We Were Yours is a book that I loved reading. The cover is so evocative, I can feel the story at a glance. A winning combination.
Tracee: Michele, I agree completely! The art of the cover can be enough, but it is wonderful when it is a cover and story that I love. Glancing across the spines on my shelves, I still love All The Light We Cannot See. The way the landscape rolls across the spine and the words are stacked horizontally, despite there being a lot of them.
In our home it is clear which books are in English and which are from my husband’s large collection of French and German titles. The English titles start the words at the top of the spine, in French and German the title reads UP. So if you are reading the titles as you go down the bookcase you need to keep tilting your head from left to right as the language changes. If a book is laid on a table, in English you can see the spine and easily read it. In French, and other continental languages, the spine title is upside down if the cover is face up. I have always wondered why. Maybe it’s time to find out.
Connie: Covers play a huge in attracting readers—at least for me—as well as telling readers something about what they can expect inside. Cozies, for example, tend to have cartoon-like covers with lots of elements (some of them clues). Suspense and thrillers tend to have darker and starker covers. I admit to an attraction to covers featuring villages. That will pull me in to read the back-cover copy at least. I also love the covers of vintage books. Combing through bookstores that carry books from the thirties, forties, and fifties is a treat for me. I’ve attached a few examples.
Emilya: So, I actually have a story about that one. Yes, I do, and I know I shouldn’t. I avoided reading “Where the Crawdads Sing” precisely because I hated the cover. I know it’s an objectively nice cover, but it implied a certain kind of novel that I simply did not want to read. I also couldn’t get my head around the title. Finally, FINALLY, I got it and immediately fell in love. Lesson learned: pink covers don’t mean lame storylines.
The best covers I’ve seen recently (and ones that convinced me to read the book, because I TOTALLY and unfairly judge books by their covers) are: The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley (the yellow cover)My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite, Say Nothing, by Patrick Radden Keefe, My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell
Note from Susan: I am totally going to read My Sister, the Serial Killer, based on the cover. But I couldn’t get it to upload for this blog. 🙁
Alexia: I admit I judge books by their covers. A well-designed cover is what catches my eye (if the author is new to me). I know authors have differing degrees of input into what goes on the cover but, regardless of whether it features a close-up of a woman’s eye, a woman walking away from the viewer, a pet, a craft, or food, a professional design suggests that what I find between the covers will be equally professionally craftedTags:
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