Feb 21, 2012

by English Muse

Or if you are me “never buy a book by its cover”.  Nothing worse than buying a book for its looks and finding later that the cover was much more interesting than the contents.

Saying that, a while back I went Orla Kiely mad.  Mugs, bag, wallet, I even tried in vain to get something for our kitchen.  Inevitably I had to get the book whose cover she designed, Excellent Women by Barbara Pym (Virago Modern Classics 2008 edition).  After a few months of being a mere decorative object on my side table I read it and to my surprise I thoroughly enjoyed it.

This is not a story about women in Louboutin’s in New York, and neither are its characters pivotal actors in current affairs.  In fact it’s quite the opposite, this novel’s gem relies on making those ordinary things and personalities seem like something remarkable and peculiar.  And this is why, regardless of the time when the story is set it feels current, the feelings, worries, motives and thoughts in this book are not too dissimilar from the ones we have today, so there is no surprise that anybody in this book could be our colleague, our neighbour and yes, even ourselves.

Despite buying this book for the design of its cover, it has become a book that I will enjoy reading time after time, on my comfy sofa, with a cup of tea and a stack of cookies.

Now tell me, have you ever bought a book because of its cover??

(Text and photo by Lizzet at Living101)


This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 21st, 2012 at 3:18 pm. It is filed under Books. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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14 Responses to “Never judge a book by its cover”

  1. I buy books based on their covers all the time if they are too pretty to pass up.
    Makes me wonder what treasures may be stored on my bookshelf.

  2. […] I am “blog-sitting” at the English Muse.  Pop over to read about books, cookies and pleasant […]

  3. Lizzet says:

    Hi Christina, So happy that I am not the only nutter in this world that likes “shinny” book covers 😉 I hope you enjoy your books with pretty or no-s0o-pretty covers xx

  4. marni says:

    book covers can be seductive! …this sounds like a really good story.

  5. i have a habit of buying replacements of books i already own whenever i discover editions with prettier covers (like all the penguin classic hardbacks!)

    and i did once buy a gardening book just for the title’s darling alliteration: “truly tiny gardens,” by thomisina tarling.

  6. Micaela says:

    I misread this post at first and thought you were saying that the book didn’t match it’s cover. I adore this book, so I was glad when I realized this was not the case. I stumbled upon it in a library once and fell in love.

    I think I tend to buy books for titles more than covers. That can also be problematic.

  7. I have bought a book where the cover drew my attention.
    I find all Virago books to be a good bet.
    My best
    Helen xx

  8. Samantha says:

    i bought a used version of “west with the night” because it had a blank cover- but it felt so right, i needed it- and for $1, it wasn’t taking a big risk. such a great book!


  9. Melissa says:

    I buy books based on their covers all the time and if I like the cover I generally like the story. Only once has this led to disappointment and I own a lot of books! The way I see it is that the cover is designed to match the book / story – why would they put something on the cover that doesn’t match? Not really good advertising.
    I wonder what kindle and kobo users do?

  10. Mariana says:

    I have been guilty of being influenced by a cover… But I at least read the first page or two to see if it really captures my attention beyond the cover!
    I love Orla Kiely!

  11. Katie says:

    I’m always so happy when a book cover is as delightful as the contents. It just seems right! I rarely buy a book only for its cover, but on occasion I do choose not to buy a book based on the cover (like movie tie-in editions). I just wait until I can find a version in a cover that’s more suitable. So far this has worked out fine for me!

  12. Diana says:

    I do this all the time! It often pays off for me (granted, not always), so I’m not sure I’ll discontinue this practice!

  13. I always begin teaching a novel by dissecting it’s cover! Books are designed to be judged by their covers. So much marketing goes into it, I love deciding whether that money was worth it or not with my students.

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