Monday, February 06, 2006

Book Covers

I'm sure everyone knows the old adage not to judge a book by its cover, but how much does the cover art on a book influence your decision to read (or buy) it ? I ask because I recently had the fortune to have two Amazon gift certificates to spend, one for the US site and one for the UK. Initially I was only planning to spend the US one on books, so I shot over to the site and added American Gods to the shopping basket and then I was going to add Fire and Hemlock, but a second look at the cover picture put me off it. It just didn't appeal to me - and bear in mind, I'm not a very visual person, so I chose to buy the UK edition instead since its cover seemed more appropriately surreal than the US edition's cover; the latter looks too mundane somehow, given the supernatural nature of the story. Of course, the cover of the US edition would not have put me off borrowing the book to read, I just didn't want to own it. I confess that when I'm browsing the library's shelves, I usually randomly pick up books based on their titles rather than their covers since the majority of them are shelved spine out - but I do look at the cover before I read the publisher's blurb. Does cover art ever influence your decision to read or buy a book ?

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Talking of Diana Wynne Jones, I learnt today, via Dave (Hugo) Langford's Ansible that Jones "is overcome. 'The University of Bristol have suddenly upped and said they'll give me an honorary D.Litt. this summer! Could have knocked me down with the proverbial. This sort of thing has to go through Solemn Committees full of serious men who do not know fantasy exists, so how this happened I am at a loss to know. / Oh, and did you hear that Howl's Moving Castle is nominated for an Oscar? On the strength of it, the Japanese have sent me Sophie's walking stick and a purple plush bag to keep it in -- plus two stone of jigsaw puzzles and a tiny tiny ring.'" (The other Oscar nominees for Best Animated Feature Film are Tim Burton's Corpse Bride and Nick Park's Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.)

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