Friday, September 16, 2011

Cover Speak: My (completely superficial) Pet Peeve about People on Covers

Good Morning, my Dear Readers! 

I started a feature a long time ago, on this blog where I started talking about the impacts of covers on book buying and impressions. For a refresher, see here. 

I am bringing back that feature (owing to better time management skills, less studying and a better understanding of how Blogger works) so that I can continue to discuss (bitch) about book covers. 

I plan on rotating this feature with two others, that will be announced shortly, so that every Friday, a feature article - with a tangent to the book world, will be available. 

Now onto Cover Speak!

"Cover Speak" will be a feature whereby I discuss some aspect of book covers: genre covers, trends in literary covers, criticisms and elations, etc. I welcome any and all opinions and comments, as long as they're respectful and I look forward to an interesting dialogue! 


This week's topic is my personal pet peeve - and I will admit now: it is kind of a superficial one, but, here it goes:

I hate it when the cover person is not the same as the
description of the character in the book.

Hate. It.

Doubt me? Here’s an example:

Recently, I was reading The Barefoot Princess by Christina Dodd. Though it was a great book (Review here), when I got to the part where our heroine was described ... well ... let me quote it for you:


Her hair was black, unswept, and curled tendrils escaped from the
 ribbon that bound them.

pp. 6

And here is the cover:

 Yeah, not so much black hair eh?

Now, why do I hate something that really, in the end, doesn’t matter since I  won’t consider it while enjoying the book? Well …

The thing of it is this: While I browse the rows and rows of books that greet me whenever I walk into Indigo, I do the thing you’re taught – even as a child, not to do: I pick the books by their covers.  

Yes, I know! It really is a terrible habit! How could I? I, who profess to see the layers in literature? How could I admit to such a thing.

Well … I am human. And I am not alone.

A lot of people actually do this – obviously, since publishers keep competing with better and better covers in order to tap into this buying trick.

And still … it’s a lovely cover and it shouldn’t bother me – the book was awesome. (See review here). But I just couldn’t – in my head, get the blonde from the cover away from my picture of the heroine. Every time her green eyes flashed – I would see it in a face framed by honey golden curls. I couldn’t help it.

And that is why I hate it – because it leaks into my mind and changes my perception of the characters without my permission . And though it probably matters very little, I can’t help but feel that this influence makes me miss something of the story – makes me sit at a certain distance from what the Author was trying to convey. And that irritates me.

Anyways, what do you guys think?
Am I being nit picky?
Or does this irritate you, too?


1 comment:

  1. I totally agree with you. A cover is supposed to illustrate something about the novel, at least by establishing a mood or feel. It is our first bit of information about the novel and, therefore, becomes foundational to our later mental conceptualization of the related story elements.

    I could rant endlessly about this topic. ;-)

    I'm looking forward to next Friday's Cover Speak.