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.
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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

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A Love Letter To The Girl Who Cares Too Much About Everyone But Herself

You, the girl with a heart full of love and no place big enough to store it all.

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Our generation is so caught up in this notion that it's "cool" not to care about anything or anyone. I know you've tried to do just that.

I'm sure there was a brief moment where you genuinely believed you were capable of not caring, especially since you convinced everyone around you that you didn't. But that just isn't true, is it? Don't be ashamed of this, don't let anyone ridicule you for having emotions.

After everything life has put you through, you have still remained soft.

This is what makes you, you. This is what makes you beautiful. You care so deeply and love so boldly and it is incredible, never let the world take this from you.

Have Your Voice Heard: Become an Odyssey Creator

You are the girl who will give and give and give until you have absolutely nothing left. Some may see this as a weakness, an inconvenience, the perfect excuse to walk all over you. I know you try to make sense of it all, why someone you cared so much about would treat you the way they did.

You'll make excuses for them, rationalize it and turn it all around on yourself.

You'll tell yourself that maybe just maybe they will change even though you know deep down they won't. You gave them everything you had and it still feels as if they took it all and ran. When this happens, remind yourself that you are not a reflection of those who cannot love you. The way that people treat you does not define who you are. Tell yourself this every day, over and over until it sticks. Remind yourself that you are gold, darling, and sometimes they will prefer silver and that is OK.

I know you feel guilty when you have to say no to something, I know you feel like you are letting everyone you love down when you do. Listen to me, it is not your responsibility to tend to everyone else's feelings all the time. By all means, treat their feelings with care, but remember it is not the end of the world when you cannot help them right away.

Remember that it is OK to say no.

You don't have to take care of everyone else all the time. Sometimes it's OK to say no to lunch with your friends and just stay home in bed to watch Netflix when you need a minute for yourself. I know sometimes this is much easier said than done because you are worried about letting other people down, but please give it a try.

With all of this, please remember that you matter. Do not be afraid to take a step back and focus on yourself. You owe yourself the same kind of love and patience and kindness and everything that you have given everyone else. It is OK to think about and put yourself first. Do not feel guilty for taking care of yourself. You are so incredibly loved even when it doesn't feel like it, please always remember that. You cannot fill others up when your own cup is empty. Take care of yourself.

Cover Image Credit: Charcoal Alley

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Smiling Is The Greatest Medicine

And it's free.

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Have you ever had a bad day where everything just seems like it's going wrong? Then one of your friends texts you a picture of a dog covered in spaghetti and even though you're on the bus, you smile and chuckle. That is the best feeling to get from another person. I love when someone does something or says something funny and it just makes you smile and realize that today really isn't that bad. If you smiled or laughed after reading "a dog covered in spaghetti," then I gave you a dose of the best medicine you can receive besides love, smiling and laughter.

I want you to think about today or yesterday or the past couple days, has anyone gone out of their way to make you laugh or smile? If they have, you should definitely keep them around, unless they were creepy then maybe don't keep them around. Have you ever just randomly smiled at someone and it made you feel better and knew it made them feel better? That's you sharing the wonderful thing called happiness. Happiness can be shared between anyone you know and anyone you meet.

Sharing a smile with someone can actually do more than you think. It can remind someone that they are important and needed. It can make someone who is having a terrible day realizes that it gets better. You might be helping more people than you know. Just by talking to someone can make someone smile because it makes them realize that they matter to you regardless you know them or not. You can make someone smile by telling a joke or a story or just waving hello to them.

I think that it can be difficult for us sometimes to share our emotions because we usually think that if we smile at someone that it means we like them. You are very capable of smiling at someone without having a crush on them. If you see someone you might know, you are allowed to smile at them without it being weird. If you were to smile at someone that you barely know, it is perfectly fine is they are holding the door for you or let you cross, but don't be weird. If you were to smile at someone and didn't know them and you didn't have a reason to, that might be kind of creepy.

I think that smiling is the best thing you can do for someone because it can mean so much even though it's so small. It can change a life and save a life. It can make someone feel like they are important and needed in this world. Smiling is one of the greatest things you can do for a person and it is also one of the easiest thing you can do. By smiling, you can make yourself feel better and others feel better too. Smile is wonderful and you should try and smile every day.

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