Judging a Book by its Cover

We all do it.

We say we don’t, but we do.

Our minds are drawn to beautiful or interesting visuals.  That’s just the way it works.

So first, I want to look at those oh so beautiful ‘leather bound classics’ that Barnes & Noble sell.

They are wonderful.  I would buy them all, if it wasn’t for the terrible shipping rates to Canada!

Here are the ones I do have:

2013-07-30 15.57.312013-07-30 16.02.43

As you can see, I went for the same type of collections. Fairy tales and children’s stories!

This one, I’m hoping get rereleased.

narnia

Now, I’d love to talk fairy tales, and their impact on both writers and society as a whole, but I’ll save that for another post because I have tons to say about it!

This is all about the cover art.

I believe having shelves of old books, with decorated spines and beautiful imagery is a romantic idea that many people have.  Finding old books for a cheap price however is not easy! Now these books are not old, though the stories inside them are.  They are however beautiful, and are really like a piece of art in a way.

This brings me to a question though.  Do you prefer having your shelves filled with a variety of sized and styled books, or do you like the uniformity of having, let’s say, all the Barnes & Noble leather bound collection.  That would be all your classics, styled in this way.  Does that appeal to you?

As much as I think they’re beautiful, and I do want to get a couple more of them, I think having too much of the same would probably not be to my liking.  It would be too intentional, and would become more about the art, than the books themselves.  What do you think?

Another great cover:

Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane

This one is gorgeous.

ocean-at-the-end-of-the-lane-neil-gaiman

A.G. Howard’s Splintered

splintered book cover2

So I haven’t read this one yet.  This is one of those cases where my thought process went: Oh wow, that’s beautiful! Oh, it’s about Alice in Wonderland.  I’m interested!

So clearly, that’s good marketing!

Hopefully the book is gripping as well.

 

And of course, no post would be complete without a mention of George RR Martin’s book series A Song of Ice and Fire.  Walking into the fantasy section of a bookstore can feel overwhelming if you don’t know what you’re looking for.  Though this is changing now (possibly do to Martin’s covers), most fantasy covers tend to feel like they all started from the same template.  There will be a guy (or once and a while a woman) wielding some fancy sword, hair whipping around in the wind, determined look on their face.

You see the same kind of generic art in Romance covers, and it can be off putting.  Maybe the book is great, but I don’t know that when I’m looking at a cover, and I will not be inclined to read it.  So what sets Martin’s books apart, at least until everyone catches on and does the same, is that they don’t have typical fantasy art . Just a single image, on a plain background.  That’s it. Nothing fancy, and yet totally gripping!

A_Game_of_Thrones_Novel_Covers

Another fantasy writer got me this way as well.  Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy:

the-first-law-trilogy

They are so simple, with only the title being the focus, that I immediately was drawn to them.  And that’s what a good cover does, it makes you pick up the book, and read the synopsis (which is hopefully well written!).

This has worked in many genres.  Just look at how Fifty Shades of Grey, and other erotic/romance novels have used this kind of cover to grab an audience.  It really works!

As I’ve said however, people will catch on to this, and soon there will be too many books using this kind of cover, and then its impact will be lost.

 

So, when you walk in to a bookstore, what catches your eye?

What book on your shelves do you think has the best cover design and art?

Let me know in the comments!

 

Until next time,

Sarah

 

Halloween Reads!

Halloween is just a few days away so I thought it’d be nice to list books that could/would/does get us all in the mood for this creepy holiday (and to be honest, my least favourite holiday from the bunch– I am the resident scaredy cat here…). * Note, I won’t be reviewing these books. Just naming some that I think are fun for the season.

First on my list is:

The Child Thief by BROM (I do have a review of this one from a while back).

This book makes the list because it’s a dark twist on a very mischievous character Peter Pan. I think that fits well enough with the season. Think of it as a nice blend of trick-or-treat and horror movies rolled into your favourite candy surprise.

Second:

One for the kids that’s pretty popular at work is:
Scaredy Squirrel prepares for Halloween by Mélanie Watt

It’s cute, fun, and prepares kids for Halloween! What’s not to like? I like this scaredy squirrel series because, as a scaredy… well I could have related very well to these books as a child.

Third:

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

This one also pretty much speaks for itself. I mean what’s not Halloween mood-ish about it? A boy lives in a graveyard and it raised by ghosts and stuff! If that doesn’t sound like a perfect spooky season read, I don’t know how to help you.

Fourth:

Another Neil Gaiman book, Coraline.

I’ll admit, I haven’t actually read the book… but the movie was pretty good and definitely something I think fits the Halloween criteria! Am I right or am I right?? Plus, how can Neil Gaiman NOT get on a list twice (look at Michelle’s list the other week!)?

Last one:

Let’s go with a classic —
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

I think the title is enough of an explanation, no?
:)

What are your favourite Halloween Reads or Recommendations?
You probably noticed I didn’t suggest any horror stuff… well I stay true to my claim, I’m a scaredy cat… I don’t read horror. I barely watch horror movies haha.

Until Next Time!
Sam

Michelle’s Tantalizing Treats

Because I have no time to read anything outside of the textbooks I need for class, I have decided to write about all the books that I want to read, but can’t because school is evil.

These books aren’t in any particular order. I looked around my room and picked the first four books I saw. Also note that these are not the only books that I own, but have yet to read. I have about thirty others, but that would make one hell of a long list and nobody likes long lists.

Firstly, there is Sever by Lauren DeStefano.

Though the second book was not fantastic, I have to finish the series. The last book ended on a cliffhanger, so I need to find out what happens next.

Then, there’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman is my favourite author and everything he touches is magical, so why wouldn’t I want to read it. I am just waiting for the price to go down a little bit. It’s less than 200 pages and yet it’s nearly $30.

On the same note, The Graveyard Book also by Neil Gaiman.

Again, everything he makes is magical.

Lastly, I really need to read John Dies at the End by David Wong.

A friend of mine recommended this book to me during the summer, but I haven’t had time to dive into this one. I got through the first few pages and I was immediately hooked. It was a bit of a shame when I had to put it down, but Game of Thrones was calling me. This one is first on my reading list, though last in this list.

Michelle’s Paper Garden: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Title: Neverwhere

Author: Neil Gaiman

Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks

Year: 2003

Type: Paperback

Number of Pages: 370

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Horror, Fantasy, Adventure, Contemporary

Summary: When Richard Mayhew stops one day to help a girl he finds bleeding on a London pavement, his life is forever altered, for he finds himself propelled into an alternative reality that exists in a subterranean labyrinth of sewer canals and abandoned subway stations. He has fallen through the cracks of reality and has landed somewhere different, somewhere that is Neverwhere.

[http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/14497.Neverwhere]

Review:

Slight rant before beginning: that is a ridiculously short summary. The Time Machine had a longer summary than that and the book is half the size of Neverwhere. Hmph.

This is one of my favourite books. Thank you, that is my review.

I’m just kidding! Okay so this book is weird. Basically, there is a whole hidden world under our world and each station of London’s Underground is something different. How cool is that?

The main character, Richard, is a little annoying because he doesn’t really do much, but there is an array of better characters in the book like Lady Door who can magically open doors anywhere and the Marquis de Carabas who is my favourite character. Lady Door is clever and a strong female lead. Thank you for the strong female lead. I am so sick of reading about damsels in distress. Give me a girl who can hold her own. Marquis is odd and a little two-faced. The only reason he even helps Door is because she will have to owe him a favour. The villains of Neverwhere were creepy and twisted and gave me the heebie-jeebies. They love blood and torture. They are a pair of sick cookies and they will stop at nothing to kill Door. I loved them, especially after reading American Gods where the villains were less than scary. (That is a review for another time)

As for the story, you have to go in knowing that it is going to be weird. Think world of Alice in Wonderland or Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and with about the same level of randomness. Question nothing and all will be well, though the world building is very impressive; it almost seems plausible if magic was a real thing and all. Anyway, the world and the eccentric characters fascinated me and the story kept me hooked.

Oh a word of caution: Stay away from the graphic novel and the miniseries.

5/5

Like I said, this is one of my favourite books. Neil Gaiman is godly and the sooner you accept that, the sooner you will find true happiness.