Elizabeth's Bookshop: Don't Judge A Book By Its Cover

Elizabeth's Bookshop: Don't Judge A Book By Its Cover

How wrapping books may help you to discover your new favorite novel.
1442
views

Do you judge a book by its cover? I must admit that I have before too. It’s just that sometimes I enjoy sitting in the yard on campus and letting myself fall into an epic romance — but I’d like to do so without holding a book that has a man with his shirt ripped open and chest glistening as he catches a fainting (swooning?) woman. It’s a little embarrassing, but who knows, maybe by not picking one, I missed out on what could have been my new favorite book.

In Newton, Australia exists Elizabeth’s Bookshop, a bookstore that has adopted a method meant to keep readers from judging a book by its cover. The idea of the project is that the staff pick some of their favorite books and wrap the copies in brown paper so that buyers cannot see the cover; on the brown paper, the staff writes bullet points that vaguely describe the story within, and readers can decide if they like the sound of the novel or not without design bias. For example, one book in the stockpile has the points: Marriage, fight, accident, and nightmare printed on the front. Another: tragedy, justice, solution, and divergence.

My sister’s friend recently published her first novel and every day she questions whether the cover of her book is overdramatic in the worst way. She wonders how some things about it may set someone off from her story, and thinking about it, people tend to be on the touchy side when it comes to media images. With recent pictures of models who are deemed “too skinny” has come the argument that skinny shaming exists, especially because some women just have a high metabolism and cannot help their weight. If a book cover has a thin woman on the front, will that push readers away? Or what about the opposite? Would a larger woman make petty minds turn an eye? You rarely see black people on the cover of novels — unless the book involves some sort of fetish — but maybe that’s because white characters are safe in a world where racism still triumphs over unconscious and conscious minds. The race of the people on the cover of a book can be a factor in someone buying something.

According to Debate.org, 51% of buyers believe that you can, in fact, judge a book by its cover, which means that about 1 out of every 2 people who pick up a book think they can figure out if they will like a book or not simply based on the cover art. However, a thing to consider is that fact that while authors are asked to give their opinion about the cover created for their work, their opinions are not always the final one. The opinion of the author is simply considered, but because they have sold their work to the publishing company, the company has the ultimate final decision on what artwork will represent someone else's work. Many know from English classes that people can interpret books in many different ways, and a cover can be a different interpretation than the author wanted or meant. Therefore, there is no guarantee that the cover will in fact fairly represent the plot of the novel.

With the covers covered, readers are more likely to enjoy something when they’ve read points that deem the book as something they would enjoy, and could be pleasantly surprised to find the next great novel that they would never have picked. The great novel in the brown paper bag.


Check out the Elizabeth's Bookshop website here.

Cover Image Credit: Womanazing

Popular Right Now

To All The Nurses In The Making

We tell ourselves that one day it'll all pay off, but will it actually?
72848
views

I bet you’re taking a break from studying right now just to read this, aren’t you? Either at the library with friends or in your dorm room. Wherever you may be, you never get the chance to put your books down, at least that’s how it feels to most of us. It sucks feeling like you’ve chosen the hardest major in the world, especially when you see other students barely spending any time studying or doing school work. The exclamation “You’re still here!” is an all too frequent expression from fellow students after recognizing that you’ve spent 10-plus hours in the library. At first it didn’t seem so bad and you told yourself, “This isn’t so difficult, I can handle it,” but fast-forward a few months and you’re questioning if this is really what you want to do with your life.

You can’t keep track of the amount of mental breakdowns you’ve had, how much coffee you’ve consumed, or how many times you’ve called your mom to tell her that you’re dropping out. Nursing is no joke. Half the time it makes you want to go back and change your major, and the other half reminds you why you want to do this, and that is what gets you through it. The thing about being a nursing major is that despite all the difficult exams, labs and overwhelming hours of studying you do, you know that someday you might be the reason someone lives, and you can’t give up on that purpose. We all have our own reasons why we chose nursing -- everyone in your family is a nurse, it’s something you’ve always wanted to do, you’re good at it, or like me, you want to give back to what was given to you. Regardless of what your reasoning is, we all take the same classes, deal with the same professors, and we all have our moments.

I’ve found that groups of students in the same nursing program are like a big family who are unconditionally supportive of each other and offer advice when it’s needed the most. We think that every other college student around us has it so easy, but we know that is not necessarily true. Every major can prove difficult; we’re just a little harder on ourselves. Whenever you feel overwhelmed with your school work and you want to give up, give yourself a minute to imagine where you’ll be in five years -- somewhere in a hospital, taking vitals, and explaining to a patient that everything will be OK. Everything will be worth what we are going through to get to that exact moment.

Remember that the stress and worry about not getting at least a B+ on your anatomy exam is just a small blip of time in our journey; the hours and dedication suck, and it’s those moments that weed us out. Even our advisors tell us that it’s not easy, and they remind us to come up with a back-up plan. Well, I say that if you truly want to be a nurse one day, you must put in your dedication and hard work, study your ass off, stay organized, and you WILL become the nurse you’ve always wanted to be. Don’t let someone discourage you when they relent about how hard nursing is. Take it as motivation to show them that yeah, it is hard, but you know what, I made it through.

With everything you do, give 110 percent and never give up on yourself. If nursing is something that you can see yourself doing for the rest of your life, stick with it and remember the lives you will be impacting someday.

SEE ALSO: Why Nursing School Is Different Than Any Other Major

Cover Image Credit: Kaylee O'Neal

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

17 Ways To Practice Self-Care When Face Masks And Bath Bombs Aren't Doing The Trick

Sometimes self-care needs to be a little more intensive than a trip to Lush.

148
views

Self-care is a growing trend that seems to mostly consist of bubble baths and face masks. While I certainly love some "me time" and treating myself to my Glossier masks and a Netflix marathon, I think it's important to remember that "treating yourself" is not necessarily the same thing as self-care.

Self-care looks different on everyone, and I'm not here to tell people how they can or can't take time for themselves. I've simply come to realize that as a person with mental illness, sometimes my self-care needs to be a little more intensive and regimented than a trip to Lush.

1. Keep yourself hydrated

It's something small, but drinking an adequate amount of water can dramatically impact your physical and mental wellbeing. Though exact numbers differ, it's commonly recommended that we drink two liters of water per day, or eight 8-ounce glasses. Even if everything else in the world feels too difficult, just try and remember to keep a glass of water near you.

2. Sleep

Sometimes, the best thing you can do for yourself is catch up on sleep. Poor mental health can severely disrupt sleeping patterns, so allow yourself time to simply rest. This is something that's personally difficult for me because when I allow myself time to nap, I feel guilty for not doing something more productive. But that fact is that in order to truly be productive, you need to allow your brain and body time to recharge.

3. Practice journaling and reflecting

This may sound cliche, but taking a few minutes out of each day to reflect can help track your mental health progress and patterns. I keep a mood tracker for myself in the back of my planner, and comparing that to my daily reflections can help me identify emotional or environmental patterns that trigger my mental health flare-ups.

4. Go for a walk or a drive

Even when you don't feel like it, it's so important to give yourself time each day to get out of the house. Whether that means taking your dog for a walk or simply driving a few minutes down the road to get a coffee, make it a goal to leave the house at least once a day. This also requires that you be conscious of your personal limits, so never get behind the wheel if you feel like you're a danger to yourself, and always tell a friend or family member if you're going out so someone knows where you are.

5. Read

Reading is a great way to slow down and get out of your head for a little while. TV and movies can do the same thing, but sometimes you need to give your brain a break from screens.

6. Do yoga

Nowadays, you don't even need to head downtown to a yoga studio to squeeze in a good yoga session. Heck, even my Amazon Alexa offers yoga practices. Yoga is a great way to exercise your mind and body, and with so many variations and flows available, there is truly a pace for everyone. I recommend Yoga With Adriene, a free YouTube channel offering numerous yoga practices for LITERALLY everything and anything you may be feeling physically or emotionally, including yoga for depression, yoga for nurses, and yoga for text neck.

7. Make a therapy appointment

I am of the belief that if you have access to therapy, take advantage of it, even if you think you don't need it. If you're already in therapy but haven't gone in a while, schedule an appointment. Making a therapy appointment is the first thing I do on self-care days because I know that even if I don't want to go, my brain could use it.

8. Meditate

Another cliche, but meditation can be incredibly beneficial to people with mental health problems. It's an easy way to slow down, ground yourself, and check in with your mind and body. I have been using the Calm app for a few weeks now and would highly recommend it for meditation beginners. I've found it especially useful for when I'm feeling anxious as it helps ease my racing thoughts and focus on my breathing.

9. Make positive affirmations in the mirror

Sounds cheesy, but just give it a try. Self-care means reminding yourself that you are worth the time and energy it takes to heal, so speak kindly to yourself and remember that your life is worth cherishing.

10. Do a phone detox

It's easy to get wrapped up in the chaos of group texts, social media, overflowing inboxes, and Snap streaks when you're on your phone 24/7. For me, my phone is definitely a crutch I cling to in order to distract myself, and I know that isn't healthy. Allowing yourself a phone detox gives you a chance to come back to the present and focus on your immediate surroundings. The texts and emails can wait, but your mental health can't (just be sure to notify people if you won't have your phone on you for a set period of time).

11. Take time to shower and groom yourself

Face masks and bath bombs can sound boujee when you're in the middle of a depressive episode. Like...no, Karen, a trip to Lush is not going to cure my depression, but thanks for the suggestion. But it is important to maintain your physical wellness because these are often the first things to go when you're feeling mentally drained. It may feel impossible, but make it a goal each day to shower, brush your teeth, and brush your hair, even if that's all you can do some days.

12. Make sure you're getting proper nutrients

When you're feeling mentally unwell, remember to start by fulfilling your physiological hierarchy of needs. Before you can enjoy a spa day or shopping spree, make sure your body is physically capable of carrying you around in the world by eating a nutritional diet and taking any vitamins or supplements you may need.

13. Record advice for yourself for when you have bad mental health days

This takes a little bit of planning in advance, but on good mental health days, try recording yourself giving love and advice to your future self on bad mental health days. It's so easy to get caught up in listening to the negative thoughts about yourself when you're having a mental health flare-up, but those thoughts are lies. Know that good-mental-health you would not lie to bad-mental-health you and keep these videos as a resource for when your negative thoughts become too much to handle.

14. Be honest with the people around you

Sometimes, self-care means letting people know that you are not OK and you need help. Have a circle of people who you can trust to look after you when your mental health takes a turn. Depending on your relationship with the people you work with, this may even mean sitting down with your boss to discuss what you need when you aren't feeling well or having a coworker you can reach out to who can help you with your workload.

15. Clean your living space

Your environment has a huge impact on your emotional wellbeing. Your physical living space is an embodiment of your mind, so if your room is dirty and cluttered, you're not doing your brain any favors. Try cleaning your sheets, cleaning out your closet, and working more light into your room.

16. Make a doctor's appointment

If you have the resources, try scheduling an appointment to check in with your doctor, especially if you're more than a few years overdue for a physical. You may hate it, but it really is important to keep up with your health. A trip the doctor can help pinpoint certain things that may be affecting your mental wellbeing, as well as help you get on the right medications and supplements for your brain and body.

17. Allow yourself to be broken, but don't let yourself stay that way

It's OK to not be OK. You're allowed to break down, spend the day in bed, and let yourself be a little broken. What isn't OK is letting yourself stay that way for too long. Know when it's time to reach out for help and remind yourself that you owe yourself the chance to get better. You are worth it.

Related Content

Facebook Comments