Tag Archives: reading

Judging a Book By Its Cover

I know the saying really is “Never judge a book by its cover”  but I’m speaking in the more literal sense. You know, actual books and their actual covers. Being a very visual person,  I notice book covers.  If there is an interesting or intriguing photo or illustration,  I stop and look.

I’m a bit of a book store addict. Shopping online only works if I know what I want. When I’m just browsing I need to be in a room surrounded by actual books. Secondhand bookstores are my favorite because you never know what treasure you might find tucked away on the shelves.  On these expeditions, I  often purchase a book just because I am am fascinated by the cover or title. What can I say, I’m reckless like that sometimes.

Here are some examples. These are only the covers. I’m not going to tell you what the books are about (if you don’t already know) because I figure if you are as intrigued by the covers as I was, you will find out for yourself!  I will, however, tell you that they all lived up to my expectations and were well worth the time.

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Creepy, huh? I admit, I like weird, especially weird photographs. The entire book is filled with the same kind of visuals. This is a Young Adult book, by the way, but as far as I’m concerned a good story is a good story no matter what section of the store it’s in.

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Another YA book. I found this one at a yard sale and was desperate to find out how a baseball bat and an umbrella worked together in the story line. The characters are wonderful. My 16 year old has read it several times and considers it one of her favorite books.

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So so here is a book about…..a book! I’m already hooked.  I really wanted to know more about this intense society woman posing in her 1920’s finery. This was a real person and a real diary and that alone made me curious.

imageAnd finally, how could you not love the title of this book?  I am a great lover of letters and post cards. They are so much more personal than emails or texts. I think that  woman gazing off into the water and the hand written card tugged at the romantic in me.

This isn’t a foolproof method though.  I’ve bought other books because of their great covers only to be very disappointed by the story. Live and learn, you know. I still enjoy the hunt and I get really excited when I discover a hidden gem.

Let’s hear your thoughts. Have you ever judged a book by its cover? What book was it? Was it worth the risk?

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O is for Opening Lines

All writers know the importance of a good opening paragraph. They only have a few lines in order to get the reader hooked and to make them want to read more. Good writers usually equal good openings.

There are lots of list on the Internet of famous opening lines. They are usually from classic novels and they really are “great opening lines” but they don’t always include more modern book.

Well, I have very eclectic taste in novels so I thought, just for the fun of it, I would make my own list.

So, in no particular order, here are Nancy’s 10 favorite opening lines:

1) “When Mr Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would shortly be celebrating his eleventy-first birthday with a party of special magnificence, there was much talk and excitement in Hobbiton.”
– J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

2) “There are some men who enter a woman’s life and screw it up forever. Joseph Morelli did this to me–not forever, but periodically.”
– Janet Evanovich, One For the Money

3) “I’d been waiting for the vampire for years when he walked into the bar.”
– Charlaine Harris, Dead Until Dark

4) “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”
J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
5) “Serene was a word you could put to Brooklyn, New York.  Especially in the summer of 1912. Somber, as a word, was better.”
– Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
6) “The Time Traveller (for so it will be convenient to speak of him) was expounding a recondite matter to us.”
-H.G. Wells, The Time Machine

7) “Marley was dead, to begin with.”
– Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
8) “Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were.”
– Margaret Mitchell, Gone With The Wind

9) “The terror, which would not end for another twenty-eight years – if it ever did end – began, so far as I know or can tell, with a boat made from a sheet of newspaper floating down a gutter swollen with rain.”
-Stephen King, It

10) “When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.”
– Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird 

Okay, how did I do? What opening lines would you add?

B is for Books

This was an easy one. All I had to do was look around me. There are books in every room of my house and yes, that includes the bathroom! But as I look at the covers and titles of these book, I realize how much of my adult history can be told through them.

In my early twenties, on a quest for independents and enlightenment I decided to read my way through the classics. On a table in my hall between  the bookends my mom made are copies of  The Great Gatsby, Sun Also Rises, To Kill a Mockingbird and on my shelves is The Complete Works of William Shakespere  (which, I’ll admit, I never actually read but it has come in handy for flattening out posters).image

Later, as a young wife I developed a passion for mystery novels, which are represented by the entire (so far) collection of Sue Grafton’s  Alphabet Series, along with The Cat Who… novels by Lillian Jackson Braun.

On to my thirties when I was in between marriages and a working woman thirsting for new adventures. Here on this shelf sits Michael Crichton and John Grisham. I confess, I have read Jurassic Park and The Firm more times than I can count.

Next, I met the love of my life, bought a house and started a family. This began my love of science fiction and fantasy novels (I could say it was because my life had become like a fairy tale but that would be really corny). One shelf in my living room is dedicated to The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia. Later on they were joined by books about witches and vampires by authors like Charlaine Harris and Patricia Briggs.

On came the children! With them came all the classic children’s books of course, but when they grew old enough for us to read novels together we began with Harry Potter and continued through Percy Jackson. Personally, I really enjoy YA books and on my shelves now are novels like  Inkheart,  The Hunger Games, and Perks of Being a Wallflower. 

imageNow I am at the beginning of my fifties and my choice in books has become very eclectic. I might go back and reread a classic or pick up a mystery. The last book I finished was called Bless the Bride and was a paperback I had picked up for my mom who passed away in October. She was an avid reader too and I’m sure I got my love of books from her just as my daughter has gotten this from me. I miss being able to talk about what I’m reading with my mom but I’m glad I have so many of her books to remember her by.

So basically, I am the sum of my bookshelves. My history is written (pun intended) right there in front of me. As Thomas Jefferson said “I cannot live without books!”