You know, when I looked up the quote, "Don't judge a book by its cover," the internet told me it is an American Proverb. What, other countries don't do the same thing? I find that hard to believe, why do we have to take the rap for it? That aside, my hope was to find a more official (aka important sounding) reference for this quote. Either I'm lazy and didn't look further or this just made for a good opening. You decide.
In effort to spur myself on to writing more for my blog, I thought I'd come up with a weekly post. As my mother told me this morning, "You can't stop writing your book, just because you think no one is ever going to read it." Well the same goes here. Every Friday, it is my intention (fingers crossed) to post this new series, Uncovering the Judge. Wow, she capitalized Judge, which would in fact mean that I think I'm important. Well I am, aren't I?
I must be the worst or the best, depending on how you look at it, when it comes to purchasing, reading, or borrowing a book based on the cover. That is a tall order to live up to. I'm not saying I'm always right, but a good majority of the time I am. A few things to keep in mind when considering my book tastes:
A. I don't read inside covers.
Hello Publishers! Did someone tell you to give us the entire book in 1 to 2 paragraphs, making it pointless for us to crack the spine and read the book? Well, yes in fact they did. I still don't read them; I like the surprise, the mystery. That's why I drag my sister along with me on most book buying excursions. I need someone who is willing to read the inside cover and tell me, yes you'll love or no don't waste your time. Someone somewhere told her she knew my tastes well.
B. Be brief, Be interesting, Be Magical!
Titles on a rare occasion can be these ginormous things that do in fact appeal, but most often I like short titles that make me ponder how it coincides with the plot.
C. Ditch the face.
Who told publishers that putting faces on books, so large we can see every photoshopped pore, was a good idea? I'd like to slap them. Nearly every book on the market, it seems, has some gorgeous stranger on the cover that makes me scratch my head thinking, huh? These books, also, immediately fall into the realm, I term, Fou-fou books. It is sad to say, but you my friend will not be read by the likes of me. These books, harsh as it may seem, look as though they were written for a brainless bimbo. Was that too harsh, perhaps?
If you check my LibraryThing (please do I encourage you), you may see books with these covers. In fact I'll be the first to point out one, The Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson. I really want to use the word moron, but I won't. Someone (insert moron if you choose) decided 20 years after the fact, that hey let's make these fresh, for a new generation. Why? (Face palm) Why does a fresh look equal a face on the cover? Please, please, I beg you do refrain. I better stop now; I could be on this soap box for awhile.
I may have more reasons to share in later posts, but this is what comes to mind right now.
First book up...The Mark of the Horse Lord by Rosemary Sutcliff
This book cover makes me blush a bit. Rosemary Sutcliff ranks among one of the authors I run to the shelf when I see her name on the spine. She is sought after and well-known for her historical-fiction. I will admit I've never read one of her books. I collect them and plan to read them someday, but I truly am ashamed to admit that I haven't read any her books and I own many. I was thrilled to see a few years ago that Front Street Press was taking the initiative to republish her books.
First impression: Okay yes I bought the book because the guy on the front. Hello! Awesome tattoo.
Second impression: On second thought, the cover could be mistaken for a romance novel, which I know is not the case. But the tattoo! (Me whining)
Since, the nearly 5 years that The Mark of the Horse Lord was republished I've seen this photo used, at least, on 2 other covers. At that point the value of the cover goes down, in my opinion. It is not as unique, nor does it stick out among favorites. There is no denying, though, that it is eye candy.
Where did I get this?
I ordered it from a local bookstore. A conservative bookstore that come to think of it, based on the cover I'm surprised they said yes to ordering it for me. At times they do tell me they can't order a particular book because of its controversial nature.
According to my LibraryThing, I added this book to my library in March of 2007.
Why haven't you read this book yet?
Actually I've been (without the book in front of me) several chapters into it for a few years. I think I had difficulty feeling that it was (ugh hate to say this, I'm cringing) boring. Of course I've not always been wild about this genre. It has taken me time to branch out from reading just fantasy.
For you Synopsis Lovers (copied from Amazon):
Phaedrus, an enslaved gladiator in northern Britain in the first century, earns his freedom by killing his best friend, a fellow gladiator, in a final fight to the death. Within days of leaving the arena he is recruited by leaders of a tribe from the far north to impersonate Prince Midir, who has been robbed of his right to kingship in a brutal attack by followers of the current ruler, Queen Liadhan. As Midir, Phaedrus is charged with reestablishing his kingship and the tribe's rule in the land. In this world of superstition and ancient ritual, of fierce loyalties and intertribal rivalry, Phaedrus finds companionship and love, and something more - a purpose and a meaning for his life as he comes to fully understand the significance of the Mark of the Horse Lord.