Monday, October 13, 2008

buy the book

How do you pick out a book? Do you have a favorite author that you gravitate to or do you just wander around the bookstore and look in the genre that you like? I can spend hours in Barnes and Nobles and I could spend hundreds of dollars in one visit. In fact, I often do. Of course, it isn't my own's for my job. Yes, I do have a really great job.

But I used to be an art teacher and I guess you never stop being an artist, so I love cover art. You aren't supposed to judge a book by it's cover, and I don't, but I can definitely appreciate good cover art. Usually, in a photograph, the eyes draw you in, but I was intrigued by this painting where the face isn't even shown. The Other Boleyn girl was an awesome book and a great movie.

I love too that the cover art can vary by the country the book is published in. I happened upon a Harry Potter from Australia one day and I snapped it up. The cover is completely different and I like seeing how that artist interpreted it. And critics will tell you, we here in America definitely had one of the best interpretations of that magical orphan.

The color and art can draw you in. It's like an invitation to a party of one. Do you want to pick me up off this shelf and begin an intimate conversation, a cover might ask? The Midnight Twins first spoke to me with it's bright colors and, I hate to admit it, there is a tree on the front. I know, it's sad. I love trees.

This one is certainly about the eyes. Or...eye. And once you read the story, you keep looking back at that eye. I did. All the way through those 600 pages.

There are many reasons why I choose books. I have many authors that I like and will usually gravitate toward those names if I can't find something that draws me in. But I am open to being invited by new friends to their parties, and it's great when you find a book that has intriguing artwork and design elements. I don't know if they have contests and hand out awards for cover art, but they should. And this post would serve as my nominations.

What makes you choose a book, or are you as open as I am? I would love to hear your reasons as I know it will certainly help me understand my students better.


chickadee@afamiliarpath said...

i'm pretty open about books. the cover is very important if i'm in a bookstore or browsing in the library. but i mostly go by reviews or authors i'm already familiar with and love.

stefanie said...

Lots of reasons to pick a book!
1. Recommended
2. Already like the author
3. Cover
4. Try my daughter's latest method - start with the A's

Interestingly, I picked up a book a few months ago because I liked the previous one by the author. My daughters HATED the cover and couldn't believe I wanted to read it. I gave the old 'don't judge a book by it's cover' speech. I quit reading after about 30 pages. Horrible book. I should have listened to them.

One daughter decided to read the entire YA section recently. She is still on the A's, but is having a great time discovering authors (one local) that she'd never heard of. One book has the strangest size and cover, but she loved the book.

Also, we loved the Westerfeld trilogy - Uglies, Pretties, Specials (and Extras was an extra) - the covers are fantastic and the books are fascinating. He has a cool blog too!

Kat said...

Oh, this post would go great with my "what kind of reader are you?" series. Wish I had thought of it :-)

I too love cover art. And sometimes it is so awful that I don't read the book. I loved "The Other Boleyn Girl." I have another of her books on my shelf begging to be read.

One series with great cover art - and that is really good - is Lauren Willig's "Secret History of the Pink Carnation." Have you read it?

Lula! said...

I buy books for many reasons...recommendations, cool cover, the liner notes, etc. Any form of fantasy, mystery, caper, intrigue, romance, wizzard, or vampire...I'M IN! Ha.

Heather said...

I'm horrible about choosing books for their covers. However, if a friend really recommends something I'll read it despite it's cover.

Frizzy and Bird said...

I read the back cover. Otherwise, I'm all about following someone else's suggestion. I too could spend tons of money and time in a book store. My favorite isles are the cook books and travel sections. Both make me drool like an idiot!

Sniz said...

Question: What kind of bear is best?

That's a stupid question.

Wrong. Black bear.

That's debatable. There are basically two schools of thought.

Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica.

Interesting post. I am a reader and a writer and I agree that the cover has alot to do with the appeal of the book. If a book has a stupid or embarrassing or gender-specific cover (in the case of most romances, all of the above), it makes it difficult to take a book and read it openly...say on a plane, etc. (I used to be a flight attendant and had this problem).

Francine Rivers who is one of my favorite Christian authors, wrote a book called Redeeming Love which is the biblical story of Gomer and Hosea set in the time of the California Gold Rush. The original cover looked just like a stupid romance cover...let me ask you, what man would read it? I was kind of embarrassed myself. And yet, my dad who's a pastor wanted to read it so he read it at home. There was the same problem with many of her books which have since come out with classy or plain covers. MUCH BETTER! Why did the publisher do that at first and limit themselves?

Also, my son reads Harry Potter voraciously, but the covers are cartoony, babyish drawings...I just don't get it. Why can't covers be like the ones you have here? I'm definately attracted to nice cover art.

My girls (10 and 11) especially like to look at the covers to get an idea of what the author thinks the main character or the setting or the mood or whatever is supposed to be. My 11 year old no longer wants to look at any covers or the stupid illustrations that are in some books because they are so much worse than what is in her head and she doesn't want that stupid image in there. The publishers pick the cover art and many times they make absolutely no sense. Or am I just the only one who cares (besides you)?

Debbie said...

I don't know what draws me to books. There are certain authors that I love like Anne Tyler, Amy Tan and Pat Conroy and will read anything they write...I guess most of the books I read are by word of mouth our what everyone is talking about...Good post!

J'Ollie Primitives said...

I'll open a book, any book, and read a few pages in the middle. If there's enough of a story line or writing style to pique my interest I'll put it on my list.

So far so good. I've come across some good authors this way. I try not to let the cover art be the reason for opening a book, but the bodice-ripper art is definitely a N.O.