Judging a book by its cover

**This was posted to a different blog that I started but never kept up with, but I thought it was interesting enough to repost here. Enjoy.**

I’ve heard this irritating saying for as long as I can remember.  Most of the time, it’s referring to people who may be very nice but disguise their normality by wearing frumpy jumpers and hair bows or doctors’ offices filled with shabby furniture but house a brilliant physician.  However, I’ve been thinking about this quite literally.  Judging actual books by their actual covers.

I’ve had a long-standing dislike for books of the sleazy-romance-novel shape, the 8×5 shape that you’d find in grocery stores and airport shops.  I’ve felt the same way for series and authors who’ve written tons of books.  It’s always seemed to me that if an author can turn out so many books so quickly that surely there can’t be any real quality to them.  I wouldn’t read popular books.  I stayed away from Harry Potter until college and didn’t touch the Twilight books for quite some time.  Even books about relationships or love or anything that I considered “sappy” were on my no-read list.  I preferred to read the quality literature, the school reading list books, the serious and thought-provoking books.

I was a book snob.

But recently, in my vast amount of time I’ve had on my hands, I’ve chosen to read.  I don’t know if it’s the time in my life or maybe a lack of concentration, but I’ve had no desire to read anything heavy.  It took me nearly three weeks to read One Hundred Years of Solitude, and when I finished it, the thought of jumping right into Love in the Time of Cholera was just too depressing.  So, I lowered my standards, I gave in to the pressure, and I read the Janet Evanovich Stephanie Plum books.  And I enjoyed the hell out of them.  I’ve never laughed out loud so much while reading.  Trust me, these are no works of Pulitzer Prize winning literature, but I do now realize that they serve a very real purpose.  They are fun books.  They make you laugh.  You begin to really like the characters, to anticipate how they will react, and to recite things that they’ve said or did that had you in stitches.

The following is happening after Stephanie Plum, a less-than-stellar bail bonds agent and her sidekick, Lula, a plus-sized ex-ho, were shot at by bad guys whom they witnessed murdering a famous Food Network Chef. 

The car turned left onto Olden, and I was prevented from following by heavy traffic.
“Get back into the car,” I said to Lula.  “I’ve lost them.”
“I can’t bet back,” Lula said.  “I’m stuck.”
I looked over my shoulder at Lula.  All I could see was bright yellow ass.  The rest of her was out the window.
I checked her out in my side mirror and saw that  not only was she stuck, but her boobs had fallen out of the scoop-neck sweater and were blowing in the wind.  I turned onto a side street and pulled to the curb to take a look.  By the time I got out of the care, I was laughing so hard tears were rolling down my cheeks and I could hardly see.
“I don’t see where this is so funny,” Lula said.  “Get me out of the window.  I’m about freezing my nipples off.  It’s not like it’s summer or somethin’.”
Short of lubing Lula up with goose grease, I didn’t know where to begin.

And it goes on until Lula is safely back inside the car after, well, I’ll let you read that part.  So as you can see, they’re sort of silly but totally worth the laugh.  Listening to them on CD is good, too.  As of right now, there are fifteen Stephanie Plum books, so they can keep you occupied for quite a while.
I have read some books that are more along the lines of my usual style including A Small Rain by Madeline L’Engle, The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (that I LOVED), Alas, Babylon, by Pat Frank, and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

Other authors of multiple related books that I’ve recently read since overcoming my snobbishness are Marian Keyes, Emily Giffin, and Sophie Kinsella.

Heather Armstrong, author of What I learned from My Father (In Therapy), and It Sucked and then I Cried, and creator of the best blog in the world, dooce.com were quality reads, too.
So, overall, I’ve read thirty-three books this year.  I’d be more than willing to recommend some more if anyone is interested, and of course, I’d love to hear about books that anyone else has to recommend.


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