You can -sometimes – judge a book by its cover

Books and reading

One of the things I most enjoy about being a volunteer at my local library is the chance it gives to poke about on shelves I’d never normally look at. Without having had to shelve books after someone else had read and returned them, I’d never have found this:

I was entirely and unexpectedly engaged by this book, an exploration of our nation’s iconic fish: cod, carp, eels, salmon and herring. This is a story of the fish themselves; of fishermen; of the consequences of greed and the way back from it; of geology; meteorology; our nation’s social history as it relates to food and farming; of corruption and political will. Combining research and personal experiences, this book both absorbed and enthralled me. And I’d never have found it, because 799.1094 is not one of my Dewey numbers of choice. And it was the cover that did it for me.

And it’s the cover that often makes me pause and look. Just to show how random- yet satisfying – these choices can be, I’m picking some of the orange-covered books I’ve found – and read – from the library in response to the challenge ‘Hazy and Hot’ Friday Face Off, brought to my attention by Words and Peace. Yes, I know it’s no longer Friday. But I’m fewer than 9 hours late.

All reasons to Love your Library, a monthly celebration hosted by Bookish Beck.

51 thoughts on “You can -sometimes – judge a book by its cover

    1. I get that Jo. It was one of the things I always missed in France. Yes, I think April in Spain is a right good read, especially if you know your way round the Basque Country. Happy sunny weekend to you too, Jo!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Well, as April in Spain is being hyped up, I’ll take a look! But I am deep into the 16 trees of the Somme at present….

    Like

    1. I hadn’t heard of this and had to look it up. It’s going on my TBR list forthwith. I won’t say ‘thanks’, because my list is already way too long …

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Covers are so important. When publishers get them wrong it does both readers and writers a disservice. Your experience is testament to what happens when they get it right plus that one’s a thing of beauty!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it was definitely the cover that drew me in. The worst ones are those that get discarded by the like of us because the cover seems to promise a Mills & Boon experience, when that’s not at all what’s on offer.

      Like

  3. I enjoy choosing a book by its cover every so often and like you, I’ve encountered some treasures as a result. As for being late, it must be still Friday somewhere. Regardless, a perfect choice of colour palette for this spell of fiery weather ahead.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It IS hot. I’ve just this minute abandoned one of my favourite pleasures – reading in the garden. The book I’m on at teh moment was recommended by a book blogger – of course.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Those book covers are definitely impressive. I love looking at long-lasting books and seeing how the covers have changed over the years. Styles definitely evolve.

    best… mae at maefood.blogspot.com

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Silver Shoals sounds interesting and I don’t think I’d have found it by chance either. Though whether I can read it at the moment, while maintaining equanimity, I’m not sure. My allocated brain space for political corruption is overflowing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And that is exactly WHY I need such distractions. An hour reading the commentaries in the Guardian this morning has sent my blood pressure sky high, I’m sure.

      Like

  6. I well remember my years as a library assistant, shelving and tidying every morning and spotting different things to read. It’s easy to get into a reading rut, but a great cover is perfect for countering that 😀

    Like

    1. Just found this in my spam folder! You’re right about great covers. And I’m shallow enough to fall for them. I’m not usually disappointed.

      Like

  7. That would have gotten my attention, too! So, that is how you read so much – volunteer at the library! I read a book years ago with a similar title, A History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage. It was very interesting. The ‘owl’ book arrived yesterday and I need to finish the book I am currently reading before I begin reading it… and I am very close to finishing it, but I read the ‘owl’ prologue and I am excited.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I will NOT hold you responsible if it’s a dud! This isn’t the first book I’ve picked up because of you and I was very tempted to find the fish book. It’s going to be an amazing day.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hooray! The fish book IS fascinating, but it’s very pertinent to the British Isles’ geography, geology and environmental policies, so perhaps less absorbing for you.

        Like

    1. I’ve just checked that Instagram post. Great! But Ripon Library upstages that. We have a display of books with yellow covers, one with red covers, one with blue, and one with green. We have a shelf for ‘Our volunteers recommend … ‘ as well as recent returns. Where Ripon leads …

      Like

  8. The fish book is probably not something I would usually have chosen to read, even with that attractive cover, but you’ve made it sound very tempting! Those orange covers are all very eye-catching – I haven’t read any of them but do have All Among the Barley on the TBR.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Honestly, against the odds, it was utterly absorbing, and so well written. All Among the Barley is not my favourite Melissa Harrison, but plenty good enough to justify a place on your shelves, I think.

      Like

  9. Well Margaret you certainly stirred up some interesting comments with this one! I don’t think the fish cover would have gotten to me but it reminded me of a very recent post on Nat Geo about a fish that was gifted to the prime minister of Japan from an aquarium here in the US during an official visit. The fish eventually was introduced into their streams and rivers and nearly destroyed their natural fish population – they are still working on resolving the issue decades later. So I guess that proves that fish stories can be really engrossing! I’m not a lover of orange so your cover examples wouldn’t draw me in but I do agree covers have a huge impact on what we choose to read. Great food for thought!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, invasive species eh? What a nightmare. Signal crayfish, introduced from the US have created havoc in British waterways. Then above ground, there’s Himalayan balsam, grey squirrels … the list goes on in just about every country in the world. Why can’t we leave well alone?

      Like

  10. Oh Margaret! Silver Shoals sounds fabulous so I went looking for the book. You must have an older edition because the title is now “Silver Shoals – Five Fish that Made Britain.” By the way, my favourite colour is red so your post was a celebration of colour for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No, you’re right. This is the book’s full title. I was just too lazy to write out the lot. And I’m glad to have introduced a bit of brightness to your day!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Actually I was looking at your photo, which is a different cover than the one that I found on Amazon. Everything is the same except for the words at the bottom of the cover.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. April in Spain and Bitter Wash Road have grabbed my attention. Off to the library to see if they have them… and yes, I agree that covers can draw you into books you might have not otherwise chosen.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Yes, the covers in your selection are certainly attention grabbers, in the hot colours. There’s a partial history of graphic design in the evolution of book covers, isn’t there? I wonder what Austin or the Brontës would have thought of some of the covers for their works.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed. And the book covers of long-established classics are a good place to start. Just hunt Google images for any title of your choice to bring up a truly varied gallery. How to waste time without really trying …

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Thank you for showing us these book covers. I love the April in Spain. The Notes from Deep time is a good one. I feel like to read both books.

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.