Snarking the Cover

No, I get it. ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’, and all that. BUT WE DO. It’s the first thing we see, the first aspect of the book that we meet. A good cover is a real asset. Some of these from Christina at Reader of Fictions? … er… well… not so much.
Sure, that enthusiastic ‘Hey! Let’s put a doe’s head on the body of a woman wearing a tutu and ballet shoes!’ sounds AWESOME in a planning meeting. But surely the first first rough sketches would have tickled someone’s sense of the weird far enough to go, ‘er, anything else on the drawing board?’
Christina is a “twenty-something librarian” and book reviewer who also offers us Cover Snark, where the people are snarky and the covers quiver in fear. “Since I don’t write many snarky book reviews here on A Reader of Fictions, Cover Snark is my outlet.”
 Some examples:
Hair cover 
Thoughts: No, I really wouldn’t believe the things she sees, since her HAIR IS IN HER FACE. She sees hair.
Thoughts: What a funny looking Cyberman.
Cover Snarks
Required Reading: 40 Books Set in the Pacific Northwest
 Some books celebrating my current home, the Pacific Northwest, or the Great Northwet as one friend calls it.
 The books were chosen by the staff of Powell’s Books. “Whether you’re from the area or you simply appreciate the region for its beauty, history, or temperament (or legendary bookstore), these titles will give you a more nuanced understanding of this peculiar corner of the U.S.”
 Lathe of HeavenThe Lathe of Heaven, by Ursula K. Le Guin
The Northwest’s very own SFWA Grand Master writes a philosophical novel set in Portland, Oregon. George Orr goes to sleep and awakes in the world of his dreams — still Portland, but… different. Now anytime he goes to sleep, the world is capable of shifting, and no one seems to notice. What is the true world? How does one bear such a gigantic responsibility? Big-idea sci-fi at its finest. ~ Recommended by Kaila
Mink RiverMink River, by Brian Doyle
Mink River is Pacific Northwest fiction at its finest. Doyle plunges us head first into the lives of the residents of a soggy, fictional Oregon coast town, Neawanaka. Rich with both Native American and Irish storytelling, Mink River lets us inside the raw, honest lives of ordinary people and makes us see the extraordinary in them. Long after you have read this novel, you will find yourself wondering what the characters are doing now and hoping that all is well in the fictional little town you’ve come to love. ~ Koa
Roadside Attraction
Another Roadside Attraction, by Tom Robbins
In this funny, rambling tale about a pair of counterculture roadside attraction operators, Robbins asks: What if Jesus wasn’t really resurrected? True to form, his first novel explores spirituality while questioning organized religion and social mores through philosophical parables and clever prose. ~ Genevieve A.
40 must-reads
Women, Books, and Oscar: 10 Brilliant Books That Gave Women Excellent Roles
Okay, we know Bette Davis didn’t actually win for Of Human Bondage but it’s such a great performance she should have, the Off the Shelf staff says. Every actress in this list had a career-making turn in her part-based-on-a-book. Each of these woman captured their character so well that we only see them now when reading the book.
The first in their list:
Of Human Bondage
Of Human Bondage, by W. Somerset Maugham
 The story of Philip Carey, a sensitive orphan born with a club foot who is eager for life, love and adventure. After a few months studying in Heidelberg, and a brief spell in Paris as a would-be artist, he settles in London to train as a doctor where he meets Mildred, the loud but irresistible waitress with whom he plunges into a tortured and masochistic affair. There is no more powerful story of sexual infatuation, of human longing for connection and freedom.
Great roles for women
What It’s Like To Live At A Bookstore In Paris
Young writers are invited to stay at the Shakespeare and Company bookstore in Paris for free, Krystie Lee Yandoli of BuzzFeed reports, as long as they work in the bookstore for a couple of hours every day and commit to reading and writing every single day.
Shakespeare books
Shakespeare2 Molly Dektar, a 23-year-old MFA student at Brooklyn College, lived at Shakespeare and Company in January and June 2013. “One minute I was a visitor just like any other, and the next minute I was welcomed in to this huge, historic community of writers and expatriates,” Molly said
“I aimed to read a book a day but it wasn’t entirely possible. Still, the goal is spiritually important and should be taken seriously.”
 Living in a bookstore
The 19 Most Charming Places On Earth, Too Perfect To Be Real
Hidden all over the world are towns that you may think only exist in your dreams, Viral Tales reports. They are villages full of quintessential charm, almost too perfect to be real. However, these dream towns really do exist. Here are 19 towns that are so beautiful, you will scarcely believe that they aren’t movie sets.
Wengen, SwitzerlandWengen, Switzerland – SergiyN / iStock
Shirakawa, JapanShirakawa, Japan – del.Monaco
Living in beauty
At 90, she still is running the store
The white-haired woman in Manila is short but stands straight, in a pink blouse and flat shoes, with mostly unwrinkled skin, a wide nose and a broad smile that nearly leaps from her face when she laughs, Mitch Albom reports in the Detroit Free Press. “You ask her the secret of her longevity, and she says, ‘Work every day’.”
Socorro Ramos When asked about the early days of her first bookstore, opened during World War II, Socorro Ramos rolls her eyes and says the Japanese soldiers censored every publication, ripping out the pages they didn’t like. After a while, she feared selling American books at all because — she runs a finger across her throat — “the Japanese cut your head off.”
Socorro and her husband Jose started the bookstore in 1942. Who opens a bookstore during a war? They got by selling candies, soaps and slippers because books were just too dangerous. She let them pile up in the back until the fighting was over.
Still running the store
Quote of the Day
The love of books is a love which requires neither justification, apology, nor defense.” ~  J.A. Langford
Alma Alexander
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2 thoughts on “Snarking the Cover

  1. While I somewhat judge a book by its cover, for me the #1 most important piece of marketing of a book is its title.
    A title can be a little piece of poetry, like The Wolves of Andover, and titles like this are what make me pick up a book immediately, whether it’s shelved cover-up or spine-out.
    This is probably what led me to pick up The Secrets of Jin-Shei, as well. Consonance and assonance at once is a winning combo, IMO.

    1. “Secrets of Jin SHei” was a bit of a committee title because my original – in teh style of “Shogun”, I guess – was JUST ” Jin SHei”… but you should have seen the fun and games when what were Changer of Days Volume 1 and Volume 2 were taken up by a US publisher who wanted a DIFFERENT title for Volume 1 – it took several hours and a number of pots of tea in a New York cafe before we settled on “The Hidden Queen”, which was something both of us could live with…

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