Tuesday, October 09, 2012

HOW TO JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER





I love reading all night long. With the right book, of course.
Having a good book in your life is priceless.

But digging up THE ONE for you, that wont let you down and keeps you spellbound hanging on its lips no matter how much time you spend in between the pages, is QUITE THE QUEST.

Almost impossible. So better start NOW.

And yes. To save time, I do judge books by their covers. I cant help it, and if you are honest you'd admit you do it, too..

Meaning- If I don't like the cover, I wont ever open the book. Not even to peek. I'm not one of those girls, aspiring to have her own private library.

At the end of the day, what are covers made for, if not to be scanned, processed and judged accordingly?!

It is a superficial world out there, and the image represents a profound value.
Or better: THE profound value. The biggest asset. Or drawback. Depending on the book.

But how to discretely judge the cover (without being too obvious / looking like a MAKI) and do its content justice at the same time? Better become a good observer..

I suggest you...


Look at what it has to say:

Read the fine print. The title and subtitle, if there is. It gives you a hint of what you can expect, of how the book sees himself and the mask it wears. Look at its BACKSIDE. I mean the COMMENT on the back. Is he a name dropper?! Red flag. Too many references??? Scarlet flag. A 99 cents cheap read?! Flaming flag. Instead: Is it smart, funny, engaging? Good. Do you want to find out more? Even better.

Lets proceed to...


Touch it:

Feel the quality, or, the lack of it. Expensive paper you can feel. Is the suit highly inflammable or is it cashmere instead? Tom Taylor or Tom Ford? Primark or Prada? In my opinion, books printed before the 80s should show no sign of denim. And before the 70s, no chucks allowed, either.
Because the fake-youthful style I definitely don't dig. And I don't know anyone else who does.


Smell it:

Does it smell of attic?! Flea market? Mould?! Public library?!? Old lady!?!? RUN. A good book smells of Bond No 9. or Creed. Or Chanel. Single, fresh, crisp and clean.


Scan it:

Obviously, that's the most obvious. But look closely. Its the details that give away the most.
You wouldn't want a stingy little narrow minded savings book. You want something better, something like.... the great Gatsby. And you might want to pass on the encyclopedias, too.


And do a bit of research:

Where and when the book in question was printed. These dates give you a star sign and an ascendant. And that, in turn, gives away a lot more about the book than he could ever imagine.. But in any case, first editions are the thing to look for.




Now, lets take a closer look at the 10 most common books out there:
(For obvious reasons, i will skip books like Shopaholic, everything Kindle, and Women's Magazines)


The Bestseller: 

This is not my cup of tea. Not my glass of champagne, either. So commercial, so cliché. So disappointing.  Usually a load of crap. I get so upset with boring books, I tear them up once I've read them and shove them deep into my bin next to some rotten berries and chocolate cake with pale green fur. So, if you're the usual fifty shady bestseller, I suggest you steer clear of Miss Mimi.


Next book in line:

The Biography:

...and god created the fabulous me...

Although I love Biographies of female silver screen Icons and no less iconic fashion designers (or someone else who has A POINT), I cant help but finding the Book that is obsessed with his own image, has zero to say and still goes on and on about

HIS GORGEOUS SELF

extremely tiring. If every sentence, page 1- 1000, starts with "This might be your opinion, but  I think...", it's my cue to gracefully wash down my Beluga with some Cristal (No Krug- No Thanks), stride to the loo with all the stuff he got me from  CHANEL because he actually 'thought of me (for once)', and never return.  
Nobody likes a One-man show.

Then, there is...

The Cookbook:

Cook books are sexy. SEE JAMIE OLIVER. And I definitely loooove good food. But if all their life is focused on frying, grilling, stuffing, poaching (and growing the BELLY to match), it is  SO NOT. Sorry, Guys!


On to my least favourite read:


The Newspaper:


Sorry dear Daily, but you bore me to DEATH. 

Such a mess with those unhandy, suffocating bead sheet sized pages that always wrap around little me like a Boa Constrictor. Too much information. Only black and white. Only bad news. And if you look at the weather forecast, you might think the world is coming to an end. I guess this blows my chances with all imaginary future job interviews, but I hate newspapers. They're dull and larger than life. Once I'm done with a newspaper it looks really destroyed.

And I need to binge-read Joan Collins.

But still, I always keep a daily at hand. To clean up messes. And then chuck out. No wonder they only have a one day lifespan.


Lets take the Eurostar and check the stores in London...


The Classic English Novel:

I like them. They remind me of my English classes in school. Grey around the edges, dog eared, vintage charm, slightly dated, yet wonderfully weird and comforting, most likely British or printed in the UK. But look for Hardcovers. They have a BACKBONE and are to be taken more seriously. Paperbacks don't age very well and are more affected by wear and tear.

But bad news for the sexy book worm: 

These ones usually happen to already be on some older ladies dusty bookshelf. Whatever makes them happy. Me, I'm allergic to dust. It makes me SNEEZE.

And beware of those fake classics that have oh so reassuring covers, THAT COME OFF the second you confront them a bit. Just to reveal a very square, frightened, sheepish little book beneath. (That crawls back to his old ladies' bookshelf for that sake.)


So, lets turn to a fresher page.


The Short story:

A friend once said that if she's short of books, she might even consider shorter books. 
(In case you didn't get it by now: Books= Guys)

And as exciting as this could be in the short term, I prefer longer reads.
More profoundly developed characters, better plots. Usually short stories are short stories because they didn't have the potential to become something more.

Like...

The Thriller:

Thrilling. All girls love them. The sexy, evil thriller, starring minimum one bad ass bad boy. I've got a friend who is crazy about everything mafia/vampire. The worse, the better. I can see why she finds them attractive, but find too much conspiracy theories stressful at times. And at the end of the day, I occasionally also want to sleep. And NOT with the fishes, please.


Catwalking right up, something that never fails to make me doze off:

The model/picture books: 

Sorry, but every time I come across one of those I cant help but thinking 'who on earth reads those?!?' 
Not a single smart sentence in there. All you get is Zoolanderesque poses, some airbrushed abs and some disappointing measurements.

But despite of the above, I have a few friends who exclusively collect sedcards on their bookshelves. Because model books never stick around, anyway. Too many castings. That's for what they have the cards, to leave behind. Too short of a memory span to remember. Reminds us of, hmmmm... a GOLDFISH?



Speaking of acquired tastes, here comes...

Science fiction:

I don't read science fiction. I'm not into Hobbits, Shrecks, Yedis, Zuckerbergs, and other weird stuff (the vampire diaries is as far as i go). But as I've heard people actually go crazy about them (someone I know on facebook suscribes to exactly two people:  ME (OK) and Marc Zuckerberg (WTF?!)), I had to add the nerdy sci-fi book to make this list complete. Since the Internet has taken over the world and nerds have actually become cool (they control facebook, and facebook controls the public opinion) and they could hack into and close down Miss Mimi's Little World in a "sub beat", I (might) begin to reconsider..

Until then, here comes...


The self help book:

OMG. Those puppy eyes, encouraging you to talk and talk and talk and spill all the secrets of your past relationships in the process. Tempting like truffles.
Calling you ALL THE TIME, TO CHECK YOU'RE OK. Adorable. But I suggest you keep those books in your drawer as friends. Good advice and a strong shoulder to cry on is priceless once in a while. But usually these books have way to many unsolvable issues to make a happy relationship possible. Plus they take everything so overly personal, they can even get upset with you for the 'grim way you stare down' said truffle ..




So now,


World class literature:  

The great Gatsby/ James Bond are certainly on top of my wish list this Christmas... But really good books don't come around too often. Once in a lifetime more likely.

I cherish them, lovingly mark my favourite passages and write my name on the first page. 

If you find one: Stick with it. 

And treat it with care. Because in some way, you are what you read.



SO UNTIL THEN: KEEP CALM AND READ MISS MIMI.



And tell us: Whats your favourite book? Which ones do you hate? AND, BEST PART: Did you recognize someone you KNOW??? ;)


PS: 
I'm not telling you to be shallow. Quite the contrary- a good cover with a crappy content will earn a book a fast pass to my waste paper bin. What I want to say: Trust your animal instinct. Don't like the cover? You probably wont like the content, either..

Good places to meet good books are big airports and well sorted bookstores like Galignani. Amazon would be good if i was into used books with plenty of reviews. But i am not. I find reviews misleading, as i prefer to make my own experiences. And I don't like audio books too much either. After all, to me reading itself is the one true pleasure...

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