Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Judging a book by its cover

I'm just back from the Public Library Association Conference in Portland, Oregon. It is good to get out and mingle with other public librarians and find out what they are doing at their libraries. Everyone gets some new ideas and I hope to share some of the things I learned while I was there. It was beautiful in Portland - their grass was so green, the trees were already flowering, and they had tulips blooming in planters. I wish we had a transit system that worked as well as their MAX; it was so easy to get around downtown with free MAX service that arrived about every 5 minutes - how would that be! I'd never drive!

One program I went to that was hilarious was "Readers' Advisory for Dummies: Yes, you CAN judge a book by its cover!" led by Michael Gannon of the Prince George's County Memorial Library in Hyattsville, MD. Mr. Gannon gave us a slide show of numerous book covers and an idea of how you might judge the content of each one. Of course, you had to be there to really catch the humor, but I thought I'd just touch on some of the many genres he showed us.

Here are some of the things you might see on a cover which will automatically give you clues as to the type of book you'll be reading:

Science Fiction: you are going to have a spaceship or aliens on the cover.

Fantasy: there will be someone in medieval dress, someone might have wings on their back, there will be a castle, a sword...
Cozy Mysteries: will have a cat, a cottage, food, nuns
Hardcore Mysteries: knives, guns, blood
Sweet romances: kids, family, pregnant women (the sex has already happened, you won't be reading about it)
Steamy romances: horses, wolves, falcons, waves

Sneaky reads: Cover with flowers opens to reveal bare chested guys
Chick Lit: purses, stores, high heels, skinny women
Inspirational: Whites, blues, flowers

Suspense: Lonely roads, men in the fog, white, black & red colors

Techno thrillers: Heavy equipment, tanks, airplanes

Legal thrillers: Gavels, courtrooms, capitol buildings

Medical thrillers: Blood, gurneys, knives

Cyber killers: Computers, people with wires coming out of their heads

Teen Scream/Horror: Scared, screaming people - teens in cars
Vampire: Good looking guys, fangs

Traditional Westerns: Man, horse, gun
Male historical steamy western: Man, horse, woman scantily clad
Notable Fiction: lonely landscapes, old photographs
Blockbuster author: the author's name is larger than the title


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