Judging a Book by its Cover (or How to Choose a Novel)

Colorful books in a circleSo the dictum goes: Don't judge a book by its cover. But I admit it, sometimes that's where I start. Yeah, of course I still read the blurb and if it, too, grabs me, I have my next reading adventure. Spencer Quinn's novel The Right Side about a soldier returning stateside wounded physically and spiritually was well worth its cover which reminds me of Caspar David Friedrich's painting Wanderer above the Sea of Fog.

I've also been known to choose a book based on its title. In fact, this is probably my preferred way to make a selection. The teen novel Not A Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis lured me with both title (Rime of the Ancient Mariner), cover, and of course the blurb. This story of survival, in a world where everything is scarce, pits a mother and daughter against humankind and wildlife to protect their water source. When the mother dies, the girl must fend for herself and make choices about whom she can trust.

On very rare occasions I will take a recommendation from a friend or colleague, as with Neal Shusterman's Scythe and David Baldacci's Wish You Well. These were both winners for me. The first was recommended by two colleagues, no less, and the second by someone who had previously made a successful recommendation for me. There are already so many books I want to read that taking on recommendations is often too overwhelming.

In my youth, I was more likely to read a prize winning novel, like To Kill A Mockingbird. PCPL has a list of lists of various award winners.

If you are interested in a single genre you can browse our Genre Guides, or check out NovelistPlus in our Books and Reading section for a book recommendation. Should you discover an older title you desire to read, don't forget to use our Interlibrary Loan service to request it.

Otherwise, find me in the stacks.