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Judging A Book By Its Cover

John Srouji

This cover definitely gave off the impression that it was a horror book. The cover was black, and from all sides, trees crept in...

We all know the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” I’m sure everyone has heard this since they were very young. We are constantly told that even if a book (or person) has a really boring cover, the story (or personality) could be amazing, however no matter how many times I was told that, it never stopped me from judging. The cover is the first part of a book that you see, so why would you not judge a book by its cover? Well, I went to the library and chose four books that I would judge and make a prediction on solely from their covers.

For each book, I first took a detailed look at the covers, then I made a prediction on what the book was about, and finally, I decided whether or not I would read it based on the cover alone. 

For the first two books, I asked our kind-hearted librarian Ms. Martin if she had any books with really interesting covers and she recommended a few to me. The first one I judged was Suggested Reading by Dave Connis.

The cover seemed to suggest somewhat of a mysterious tone. It depicts a sheet of paper, with text typed onto it. The colors are red and black and lots of the text is blacked out. The text that isn’t blacked out is highlighted in red and says “What are you missing?” So that seems to suggest that it may be about someone or something that goes missing. However, the title of the book, Suggested Reading, makes it seem like it is about books.

My prediction is that it is about some object or aspect of life that goes missing in someone’s life, but they don’t realize it at first and then later they begin to notice that something feels absent from their life and try to figure out what it is. Because of the title being Suggested Reading, I would imagine that perhaps the thing missing is a bunch of classic books. So in this world, everyone forgets about these classic books and they are erased from history, so people have to try to find and remember them. 

Because it seems like this book is about other books, I would decide not to read this book just based on its cover. I already am not a person who reads for fun, and the cover sort of just bores me.

The next book that Ms. Martin chose for me was Quichotte by Salman Rushdie.

This cover gave me much less to work with. It depicted a person walking along the squiggle of a “Q.” The letter Q and the man are both silhouettes, which leads me to believe that once again, this is probably a mystery novel. It also, of course, shows the title in big letters, but unfortunately I have no clue what Quichotte means so it’s not a lot of help.

My prediction is that this novel is about a man, maybe a killer, who is trying to kill someone and that person is trying to get away. This cover is really confusing, so my prediction might be pretty wrong.

Based on Quichotte’s cover, I think I would read the book. The cover was very mysterious and I do enjoy mystery books, so this seems like a good book to read.

For the next two books I judged, I went to the fiction section on the second floor of the library. I closed my eyes, walked down the aisles, and randomly picked two books to review. The first one I found was And the Trees Crept In by Dawn Kurtagich. 

This cover definitely gave off the impression that it was a horror book. The cover was black, and from all sides, trees crept into the middle of the cover. In the middle was a girl in a white dress falling down. The title was in big glowing yellow letters that took up the entire cover.

My prediction for this book is that it’s about a girl who gets lost in the woods somehow and then can’t escape.

Based on the cover of this book I would probably read it. The cover seems really interesting, and I already really want to know what the cover means.

The final book I found was The Mystery of Drear House by Virginia Hamilton.

This book’s cover seemed pretty old. Most of the cover appeared to be hand-drawn, which was drastically different from the other books I chose, which all appeared to be done by a computer.  The cover featured a boy behind a wall and in the background was a massive house. At the top of the cover, it said “The Conclusion of the Dies Drear Chronicles” which implies that this is the final book of a series.

Immediately from looking at the cover, I knew that this was a book about a haunted house. The house depicted on the cover looked creepy and the name implied that it’s a mystery too.

Based on the cover, I don’t think I would read this book. The cover is just too dull and bland for me to be interested in it. Also, the idea of a haunted house just seems very overused and I’m sure I’ve read books or seen movies just like it. 

Now that I’ve looked at all of the book covers, I am going to look up summaries to them all to see how close I was in my predictions.

First off is Suggested Reading. As it turns out, I was pretty close on this one. It wasn’t really a mystery like I had predicted, but it was about classic books going missing. A summary from goodreads.com says “In this standalone, a bookworm finds a way to fight back when her school bans dozens of classic and meaningful books.” So I had some parts of the book figured out, but I really wasn’t that close. 

Next is Quichotte. Reading the summary of this one, I realized my prediction was completely off. Even the summary was very confusing for me to read, but from what I could tell, Quichotte is actually about a man named Sam DuChamp who is a writer and DuChamp creates a character named Don Quichotte. The summary from Amazon then says that Quichotte “falls in impossible love with a TV star. Together with his (imaginary) son Sancho, Quichotte sets off on a picaresque quest across America to prove worthy of her hand.” I’m still a bit confused about the imaginary son thing, but the point is that I was nowhere close in my prediction.

The next book is And the Trees Crept In. I wasn’t that close on this one. This book is about a cursed house. And in this house, the trees around it keep getting closer, and there are many secrets that the protagonist, Silla, is trying to discover. She is in the woods, but I don’t think she’s lost, she’s just staying in the house there. After seeing the cover and reading the summary, I might actually end up reading this book. 

The final book is The Mystery of Drear House. I was really confident about my prediction on this one, however I actually was wrong. From what I read on Amazon, the book is about a house that used to be a stop on the Underground Railroad and there’s a bunch of secrets about the house. The house doesn’t seem to be haunted like I originally stated in my prediction, but there definitely seems to be a mystery.

So, while I was somewhat close in a few of my predictions, it seems like maybe judging a book by its cover isn’t the way to go. 
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