Thursday, May 09, 2013

Judging a Book by its Cover

I have always found it a little odd when I see multiple covers for the same book. I come across this often when searching Google for the image of a book I've read because typically the cover I am familiar with is not the only one out there. When you think about it, it's not a stretch to imagine why publishing companies do it, as it is a rather clever marketing tactic. Another quick search yielded this article on the subject.
I finished reading The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield the other day and I must interject my main point to say that I loved it! It has been on my to-read list (on GoodReads) for a while and it exceeded my expectations. Well, when I went to search for an image of the book, I was presented with three different covers.

They have decidedly different moods to them and I can see why each would attract a different type of reader. The first cover has two sweet little girls with matching outfits and light colors, making the potential reader believe it might be about children and bedtime tales. The second cover is darker and more foreboding, indicating the story inside might be of a mysterious or sinister nature. The last cover implies it is a story about books, that the tales are the main feature.

Incidentally, it was the second cover that attracted me to this book. I won't give away anything else about it but this book did something that most books don't usually do these days, it surprised me. As an avid reader, I am used to being able to predict the ending of many books and movies, maybe not to the littlest detail but the general gist of how the story will end. It is a welcomed thrill when the author is able to reveal a twist at the end of the book that I didn't see coming without it being something totally out of left field. I highly recommend this book and gave it 5 stars on my bookshelf (which is where I keep a running list of books I've read and my ratings).

One of the things that I do not like is when the new edition of a book uses a photo from the movie. Come on people, the movie is not the book! They are separate entities so please keep them as such. I can say I have definitely passed on buying a book I like because it had cover art from the movie. I don't know, call me a book snob, whatever.

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I have been using my GoodReads page a lot lately, both to follow what some of my blog friends are reading, to keep a list of what books I have read and others that I want to read. It really comes in handy when I'm at the library (if I am not there to pick up a book that was on hold) or on the library website looking for my next ebook. I can just pull up my to-read page and go through the list to see what book I want to read next. I am always updating it and looking at what recommendations Goodreads has based on what books I liked or didn't like. Another good thing about Goodreads is that with each book, they will show the other cover art, just in case you're like me and you're interested in what angles they chose to portray the story.

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I think I have found what works for me in terms of reading. There are lots of books that my county's library system doesn't have in ebooks format so I borrow the paper version. This tends to be more of bestsellers and newer books, so most of the time I have a paper book in my purse that I'm reading and an ebook on my Kindle and my phone that I'm reading. The books from the library tend to be more serious, dramas or mysteries while the ebooks I read are light, funny and typically chick-lit that is a quick read and keeps me entertained. I am reading The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult (one of my favorite authors) and the plot centers around a former SS Nazi and the Holocaust. As you can imagine, sometimes I need a break from such an emotional book so last week I read I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella. It was light, funny and a very easy read. Since I like all different types of books, reading two vastly different stories makes it easier for me not to get totally wrapped up in a story and have it get inside my head too much.

The only problem I had recently with this system was when I was reading The Thirteenth Tale and What's Left of Me, by Kat Zhang, at the same time. It was right after I finished reading a Her Fearful Symmetry, by Audrey Neffinegger, which is a story about twins. Well The Thirteenth Tale also has to do with twins and What's Left of Me is about hybrid people born with two personalities in each body. So much use of the word "we" and "us" and two of everything started to make me feel crazy. It was just by coincidence that I read them all in a row and I am glad to be past that.

Since the newest and most popular books at the library are the most sought after, I think I am on the waiting list for at least 4 paper books and 5 ebooks. So far, they have only overlapped once and I was left with several books that each had only a 14 day limit. I love to read but as I do have to live my life as well, I had to go back on the waiting list to get one of them out again so I can finish it. I have two thick hardcover books out now and two ebooks waiting to be finished before I can start the book we chose this month for book club. Oh, yeah. I started a book club. I figured that since they don't have AA for bookworms, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em! Our first meeting is at the end of the month so it looks like I have 5 books to read this month, as long as my other library holds don't become ready. It's okay, I like a challenge.


Kay said...

I so agree with the ''movie photo on the book cover" thing. I despise it when they do that. It totally dulls the glamour of the book for me!

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