Armchair BEA 2016: On Aesthetics

May 12, 2016

For a period of time back in the early 2000s (aka before the blog), I refused to read book jacket flaps or the back of the book because they always, always seemed to spoil a major plot point. I would go into a book thinking that the basic premise was whatever was written on the flap and then that thing that I thought would be part of the set up would happen three-fourths of the way through the book. Oh, it made me so angry.

So I stopped reading jacket flaps and plot synopses and started picking books based on the cover and title. So, a few of the books I encountered that way are:


  • A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
  • Jason and Kyra by Dana Davidson
  • Luxe by Anna Godbersen
  • Nzingha: Warrior Queen of Matamba (part of the Royal Diaries series)
  • Dancing in Red Shoes Will Kill You by Dorian Cirrone
  • Slam! by Walter Dean Myers

I didn’t 100% love them all, but they all matched my expectations–even if A Great and Terrible Beauty was more fantasy than the cover let on.

Now that I think about it, though, I was more likely to give books and genres I wasn’t into more of a chance when I went by the cover and title alone. Lately, I have been reading jacket flaps (usually only the first paragraph–just enough to get an idea of the basic premise. Unfortunately, spoilers still abound if I read beyond that) and ruling out lots of books because they’re not what I feel like reading. However, the best way to discover if I feel like reading something is to just read it. A lot of my favorite reads have been outside of my preferred genre.

So. I guess I learned something about myself today.

As for blog aesthetics, I kept thinking that I needed a knockout layout. You know, something that really said ME. And if I had that layout, I would be more apt to update my blog. Yeah, that didn’t happen.

My point then is that I have no real brand except for my content. However, I did redo my Top Ten Tuesday button to match my site. So I guess that’s something.

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  1. Grace

    Aaaah, I know the feeling! I’ve read covers that have spoiled an entire story. But I still make it a point to read covers, because I really don’t like books that will make me cry, so if the cover starts talking about tragic events or death and despair, I know it probably isn’t a good fit for me.

  2. Ally Bean

    “However, the best way to discover if I feel like reading something is to just read it.”

    So true. And the same goes for blogs. All the emphasis on having a consistent brand across multiple platforms is pointless if there’s no content/soul there to begin with. And in my experience the smoother something looks, the less I find it interesting. Meaning that I believe in the old adage: don’t judge a book [or blog] by its cover.

  3. Melanie

    I’ve totally been having this problem lately! It seems like they spell everything out and you’re halfway through the book STILL going through stuff set out in the synopsis! I don’t think I could give up reading synopses though. I like an idea of genre. I picked up Transmission [ ] based on cover (primarily), but I haven’t read it yet.

  4. Meaghan

    Check out some of the free graphics resources I have in my post today. They help give me creative ideas when I’m stuck for designs.



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