Judging a Book by its Cover

Posted October 10, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Literature / 0 Comments

They say “never judge a book by its cover” but why can’t you? You can tell a lot about a book by its cover. You can tell if a book is self published, get a sense of the genre and even the blurbs on the front of the book might give you an idea. To test out this theory, I thought I might play a little game. I recently got a gift certificate for a commercial bookstore and I was struggling to work out what to buy (I had three books that I was definitely going to get but I wanted to use the entire voucher). So I picked up a book that I’ve never heard of and I’m going to read and review it.

The book is called American Dream Machine by Matthew Specktor; I have never heard of the author or the book before. Judging by the cover I assume it is set in the 1960’s and the title suggests it’s about the great American dream, maybe on the lines of Revolutionary Road. There is a blurb by Jonathan Lethem, which makes it sound promising.

I know Jonathan Lethem mainly from Motherless Brooklyn and believe he writes literary mysteries. I know Raymond Chandler, Philip K. Dick and Patricia Highsmith influence him so if Matthew Specktor is anything like Lethem then I’m in for a treat. Watch out for my review of American Dream Machine and who knows I might try this again.

If you want to try for yourself, the rules are simple. Go to a bookstore or library and pick a book by an author. The only real rule is you are not allowed to read the synopsis or look it up online. I’ve still not read the back of the book; I’m just going to start reading it. This is going to be fun…I hope.

0 responses to “Judging a Book by its Cover

  1. Amy

    I’m going to admit that this is how I chose a lot of the books I read in high school (okay and maybe again now), and it actually rarely let me down.

    The only real way it fails in my own experience is for the books that you don’t expect to like – the ones that cover doesn’t appeal, or feature quotes from an author you don’t care about, or with some cliche mentioned that you just can’t get into – which is funny, because those are often the books I end up loving the most. There’s nothing like getting a recommendation from a friend, or being gifted something you start to read half-heartedly only to have it end up being your “book of the year” pick.

    I’ll have to try my hand at the challenge when I finish my holiday!

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