- Fizzy Thoughts: Cover Up

Cover Up

Thursday, March 27, 2008

While acknowledging that we can’t judge books by their covers, how much does the design of a book affect your reading enjoyment? Hardcover vs. softcover? Trade paperback vs. mass market paperback? Font? Illustrations? Etc.?

I'm a visual learner. I adore books with quirky layouts and font changes and little illustrations, especially fiction books where you don't normally see these things. Special Topics in Calamity Physics and The Cheese Monkeys are good examples. For me, these additions are eye catching and they add a little visual interest to a page filled with lines of text. It's like finding a treat in the book.

I also like photos, especially when they're interspersed throughout the book. Or, there's a picture at the beginning of every chapter, as in Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight. What I don't like is when the pictures are all in the middle of the book. I look at the pictures first, and they have no relevance. Then when I'm reading and something sounds familiar, I flip to the middle and check out the pictures again. It bugs me, because it interrupts the flow of the book, but I can't seem to stop myself from looking at the pictures.

And don't get me started on cover art. I've been known to buy books just because the cover caught my eye. It can be quirky, or a beautiful picture, or even an eye-catching title or color. A few of my favorites:

8 comment(s):

Table Talk said...

I think the type of learner you are is really important here. I'm an aural learner and I only ever notice a cover if someone draws my attention to it.

bkclubcare said...

Water for Elephants has pictures at the beginning of every chapter. In fact, the photos are what inspired the author to write this - if I remember correctly... I'm a visual learner, too.

Jeane said...

I'm very visual too, and cover art can either highly irritate me, or make reading a book a joy. I too, find it annoying when all the photos are in a clump centered in the book. Once it was even worse when the photos were not in chronological order, so it was even more confusing!

chartroose said...

Yeah, I don't like pictures in the middle very much either. I keep turning back to them over and over again for no apparent reason. It's not so much a learning style thing as an OCD thing for me, I think.

lisamm said...

I, too, get annoyed with pictures in the middle. I am also compelled to look at them first, when they are meaningless to me, and then flip back to them later, which is annoying. I agree they should be interspersed throughout!!

Very Cool covers you've showcased!!

trish said...

I've been known to pick up books based on their covers too. Have you read any other Carol Goodman? I have a book by her that I haven't read yet, I think it's The Drowning Tree?

bleeding espresso said...

Oh I definitely pick books by their covers, at least to then read what they're about. It's also very difficult for me to enjoy a book whose cover I hate. Guess I'm kinda visual too ;)

softdrink said...

Lots of visual learners around here!

Carrie, thanks for reminding me about the pictures in Water for Elephants. They were great, and really helped me visualize the circus.

Trish, I've read lots of Carol Goodman, although not her latest. I really like her style, but The Drowning Tree, The Lake of Dead Languages and The Seduction of Water are all similar. Different stories, but they all involve very literate women and lots of refernces to mythology and literature, a lot of which was beyond me.

In a real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read. It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish. ~S.I. Hayakawa

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
~St. Augustine

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
~Mark Twain

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