Yes, you read that right. You definitely can judge a book by its cover. I’m going to show you why it’s helpful and how you can go about it. By judging a book through it’s cover – the design, it’s title and author, to be more specific – I mean to be able to tell whether a book is worth reading simply by the cover page, the review at the back (if it has to get to that), and/or the preliminaries.
You may be thinking that you’re not supposed to do it, but judging a book by its cover is something we do from time to time; whether we’re standing in a library or a bookstore, or trying to buy a book at the roadside, or deciding what to read next. We quickly glance through the book, trying to find out whether it’s worth choosing. This article with help you get better at this simple, life saving skill.
Why You Need To Learn How To Judge A Book By It’s Cover
In a booktopia, you would have all the time you wanted in choosing a next book. You would inhale it’s pages if it smells right, skim through lines of text if it sounds right, and perhaps even ask the librarian if it’s the right book. But in reality, you may not have all that free time. Therefore, being able to tell the contents of a book by its cover is important.
In 2019, reports from Bowker show that about 2,700 books were being published each day. There are more books being published in one day, than an average reader would read in their entire lifetime. Given this fact, there’s no point in forcing yourself to read a book you don’t like when there are lots of interesting books on your TBR pile. Being able to discern if a book is going to be worth the read proves to be an important skill.
Finally, being able to judge a book by its cover would save you from buying the wrong book. You’d get the right “hunch” when holding a book because you’d have gotten good at it. Some readers think it’s a spoiler to read the review of a book before starting the book itself; whether from the back of the book or on Goodreads. If you are one of those, this article will provide you with a “legal” alternative.
How You Can Judge A Book By It’s Cover
For starters, you need to be an avid reader. You must have read lots of books, stories, articles etc. You must have gotten used to different titles and the kind of works/genres different authors specialize in writing. Being conversant with books and their titles will help you easily categorize a book. When you can tell what genre a book is – if it is epic or a thriller or something else – you have successfully done half the work. Remember that typical English class exercise where you are asked to fill in the missing words? It pays here. What is the title insinuating?
Think of the cover designer. The art in the book is almost always carefully designed to match the theme of the book. What is the art saying? How best does it compliment the title you just read?
Putting it all together
When you pick up a new book, look at the title. What is it saying? Next, look at the art. There has to be spoilers that correlate with the title. If you are aquainted with the author’s works, it should be a guide to decipher the plot. For example, I can easily conclude that any Stephen King book I come across is Horror, John Grisham writes Crimes and Thrillers, Paul Coelho writes philosophical novels, Francine Rivers writes Christian novels, and so on.
Some books are relatively easier to judge because their titles give them out easily, like What She’s Having: Stories of Women and Food by Dear Damsels and two others. Other books make judging very difficult because their titles are phrases cut out from a particular passage in the book, like A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hossein. For instances like this, you rely on other means like the author’s specialized genre. I know I’m gonna cry when it’s Khaled Hossein.
Here’s the June 2021 bookpick for ReadWithJenna community. I may proceed to judge this way:
- The title is Malibu Rising. I know Malibu is a place, so it is set in Malibu. Books that base their setting on true-to-life locations are almost always not fantasy novels and are sometimes inspired by true stories.
- There are surfers in the cover art. Is it a book about surfers? Probably.
- Malibu Rising is vague all by itself. Can I fill in omitted words? Sure. ‘Malibu’s” Rising “Star”. If it’s about surfers, then it’s probably a story of a particular surfer who rises to limelight in Malibu.
I have and will not read the book or it’s review yet, so if you think I’m wrong, do go ahead and correct me in the comments section below!