“Don’t judge a book by its cover” is a saying that I sometimes willfully ignore. I must admit that from time to time I pick up a book because of its cover art alone-because it is strange, funny, strikingly beautiful, or it simply reflects my mood- and I usually end up truly enjoying the book.
Next time when you visit the library without a specific book in mind, check out some of our book displays and pick up the first book that grabs your attention based on its cover art. You may discover a new and exciting author, try a new genre, or simply have fun in the process.
Here are three very different books that I chose for their striking covers and enjoyed because of their great content:
Skagboys by Irvine Welsh. When in a dangerous mood, a cover of Skagboys by Irvine Welsh may catch your attention. It is the newest novel by this author and a prequel to his world-famous Trainspotting. Similar to the writing of Anthony Burgess or Charles Bukowski, this book is not for the faint of heart when it comes to obscene language, sexual content, or descriptions of drug use, but it is also truly beautiful in its portrayal of the dynamics among the working-class youth of the 1980’s Edinburgh. Mark Renton, an intelligent and charismatic protagonist of the novel, should be starting a successful life, but instead he reacts to the disintegration of his community by staying close to his troubled friends and plunging into drugs, petty crime, and defeatism. The book includes clear explanations of the disastrous effects of Thatcher’s welfare cuts on the Scottish working class, as well as gut-wrenching and often hilarious descriptions of Ron’s, Spud’s, Tommy’s, Begbie’s and Sick Boy’s misadventures, creating a novel that is political, outrageously entertaining, painful, and touching.
The Most Beautiful Book in the World by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt; translated from the French by Alison Anderson. If you are in the mood for something uplifting, pretty, and undeniably French, this cover will certainly draw your attention. It did mine. The book by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt, one of Europe’s most popular contemporary writers, includes eight simple stories about very different women dealing with love, heartbreak, death, and search for happiness. The characters vary widely and include, among others, a working-class fan of a failing novelist, a wealthy divorcee, a disgruntled perfectionist, a long-time mistress, or even a group of female prisoners. Some of the stories, such as ”Odette Toulemonde,” are clever and uplifting while others, for example ” Every Reason to be Happy,” are more melancholy in tone, but they all end on a hopeful note and remind us that life is short and precious. If you like quirky and touching stories reminiscent of O. Henry’s warm style and French cinema’s realism, you will surely enjoy this collection. OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
When She Woke by Hillary Jordan. 26-year-old Hannah Payne lives in a dystopian yet imaginable near future where human rights are severely curtailed and convicted felons are no longer imprisoned but skin-chromed to indicate the crime, and released into the lawless and savage world. Within this hostile reality, out protagonist falls deeply in love with an unattainable man and eventually pays the price for her decisions by becoming one of the Reds on the run. This thought-provoking and fast paced-book about religious fundamentalism, reproductive rights, politics, morality, shame, religion and romantic love is truly as striking and beautiful as its cover. If you enjoy books like The Handmaid’s Tale, or even the more current and YA-focused The Hunger Games Trilogy, this book is sure to grab your interest.
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