July 04, 2012

Judging a Book by its Cover - and Synopsis!

I'm still a bookblogging newbie. A baby, A nobody. I don't have any experience, no feeling for the world of book-publishing. Honestly, I think I just scratched  on the surface a tiny little bit these last few months.
BUT there is a saying I learned way before my book-blogging time. Actually way before my book-reading time.
And the saying goes like this:
Don't judge a book by its cover.
And yes, I will agree I've not always lived by that. Actually, almost never. I mean, look at my bookshelf! When I buy a book I almost always do it for the cover.

So, what is this random post about, you ask? Oh, come on. You know it.

Exactly! This is the cover I'm talking about.
And I agree - listen to me! - I agree with all of you guys out there who were like "What????" when they saw this cover. I thought my computer screen was kinda off for a moment.
Until it sunk in: this is the cover. The cover of the new book by my absolute favorite author.
Let's face it. This cover is not pretty, it doesn't make me curious and I wouldn't ever get the idea of picking it up.
So, assuming I'd actually turn it around and read the synopsis MTV was so nice to share with us.

According to a Little, Brown press release, the story begins when Barry Fairweather dies suddenly in his early 40s, leaving the little town of Pagford in shock. Now, Pagford seems a nice enough place on the surface with its cobbled square and ancient abbey, but beneath this idyllic setting lies a town at war. Dun dun dun.

The rich fight the poor, teenagers fight parents, wives fight husbands (you get the idea) — and the empty seat on the town's council left by Barry sparks the biggest battle yet. As the drama unfolds, the question arises: who will triumph in this election riddled with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations? (Guess politics never change.)
Okay. Doesn't knock you off your seat, either, right?
And this where my actual criticism comes in ( I know it took me a while...).
Cover and synopsis of this book are not as appealing as everyone thought they would be - that's - I guess - a fact. Anyway, we don't know. You hear me? We can't know if there isn't a wonderful, awesome, breathtaking story waiting behind that ... unusual cover. 

And this is where hope comes in. Because I have to say: I almost lost my faith in this book. Among others this blogger over at Bookalicious stated his (or her) disappointment over the new Rowling book here and here and contributed to my bad feelings towards the new Rowling (and made me type this post).
Again: I get it. I feel the same way.
Still, I can't believe A Casual Vacancy will turn out being a flop. I mean, this is JK Rowling we're talking about. She already wrote seven books I devoured over and over again. No other author has ever gotten me so hooked on his or her books.
And the publishers! I mean, they know what they're doing, don't they? This might be childish and naive but I do hope that the awkward bits they gave us from A Casual Vacancy might be little pieces of the huge picture of awesomeness.
Couldn't that be, too? Couldn't we all continue living in that bubble where JK Rowling comes and turns our boring  lives upside down?

As you can see this is no real criticism post. It's rather the appeal to a discussion. Because in my head Rowling and a disappointment just won't go together :)

Added later: Posts that deal with exactly this topic

A cover designer on the cover for A Casual Vacancy


  1. I am not saying The Casual Vacancy will be a flop but from the moment I read the synopsis and heard that the book was a mystery my interest in it went down. I do read adult books but I mostly read fantasy and paranormal books and on the occasion some scifi but usually in the form of dystopian and steampunk. I don’t read mystery books and if the book was under a different author name with the same synopsis I wouldn’t even consider it but because the author is J.K. Rowling who has written my favourite book series of all time I was willing to give this book a shot out of loyalty and not because this sounds like a book I would love. But now the publishers have revealed this hideous cover and my interest in this book has diminished even more. I have no idea what’s going through their heads, it looks like the cover was made in Microsoft Paint and my friend even says it looks like the design for a 1960s cigarette pack and after she showed me examples I have to agree. I am perfectly fine with minimalist style, I have seen some fantastic minimalist movie posters on tumblr but this cover is a joke. I am not saying the cover will reflect on the story because honestly the author usually has no say in the book cover and we all know J.K. Rowling is a great story teller and writes fantastic characters but this cover is really affecting my willingness to give this book a shot when I am already have reservations over the genre. Maybe the publishers are trying to make it obvious to old Rowling fans that this is not a book for them and that the target are mystery readers, but really the synopsis was already telling us that.

    Also darling you may be new but you are not a nobody you're opinion matters just about as much as anyone else'. Congratulations on reaching 100 followers.

    1. Aww, thanks! But actually I didn't mean that little intro as literal. I don't really consider myself a nobody - I just admire all the huge bloggers because of their original content and review styles and stuff.
      Anyway, I think with the new Rowling we'll just have to wait and see - although I do believe that her writing style will be enough for me to fall in love with the book!

  2. I do not like the cover but I still plan to read it because of the author. I think her name is the only thing that is going to make it fly off shelves.

    I'm a new follower!

    1. Same for me. I am super excited for the book - simply because it's by JK Rowling!

  3. I personally don't have a problem with the cover,but I can see why people are disappointed. To me it looks like an Agatha Christie Mystery Cover and I like that because that's what this book is supposed to be; a mystery.

    That being said I've had bad experiences with judging books by it's covers and I like to read books for myself instead of going for the cover and the blurbs. I usually tend to read the first few pages of the book and see if it grabs my interest. However this time I'll read it purely for J.K. because I want to see how she does in another genre and I think it's good that she's branching out because she's a really talented author.

    1. I just tought of another reason I think I will love this book: Rowling has this way of coming up with really twisted, but awesome plots and showdown endings and I think that makes her mystery even more appealing :)


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