‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’. We’ve all heard this expression numerous times in different situations. The phrase often goes beyond referring to books even if we don’t want to admit. We judge an individual’s personality with their outward appearance, an appliance or object if it can accomplish a task, whether an animal appears gentle or aggressive, a new food’s taste, and many other situations where we must look beyond only appearances. In this case, I examine only books. What made you stop and pick up the book?
I love bookstores and libraries as I gaze upon rows of bookcases and displays. As I tilt my head along the bookcase and examine the books’ spine there are only a few things I have at first glance: book title, general appearance, and size. Let’s be honest, those bright, flashy, and colorful books scream: ‘Look at me, look at me’. Whereas the monotone and subdued books perhaps state: ‘Ignore the flashy adolescent, instead I’m a book with substance’. Of course, this isn’t the case since a book’s ‘substance’ and ‘worth’ is not measured by its cover. A book’s size doesn’t affect me too much, since I’ve read great short and long books. Sometimes a creative and interesting title pulls my attention. I’m even guilty of doing this on Amazon.com looking quickly at a book’s cover if it has flowers, swirls, dark shadows, bold print, a damsel in distress, a knife with blood, ocean waves, young children, symbols, city background, or nothing but the title.
Where do you ‘classify’ those books with a worn spine, faded paper, creases, stains, and no dusk jacket? I think those books are mysterious and hold secrets. This book states to the world: ‘Look past what I don’t have and my faded appeal, because my wear shows I’ve been loved and enjoyed by many’. A book doesn’t need to be flashy for greatness.
Even if we claim otherwise, a book’s outward look often describes its genre. For example, you’re not likely to discover romance inside a book with a bloody knife on the cover, well perhaps deep heartache. The title and appearance are a ‘sneak peak’ at the treasure deep inside. However, take a chance and pick up that book that turns you off or is nondescript for you may be in for a surprise.