Sometimes A Picture Or Book Cover Is Worth Three Words – “Not For Me”

When I saw the cover of Tortilla Flat I knew it had to be a good story. It's one of my favorite books.
When I saw the cover of Tortilla Flat I knew it had to be a good story.
It’s one of my favorite books.

Daily Prompt: Judgment Day

If you were to judge your favorite book by its cover, would you still read it?

When ever the expression is said ‘you can’t judge a book by its cover’ I normally follow it by saying, “Of course, that was first said when book covers were all alike.” The expression is akin to, ‘First impressions are the lasting impressions.’

The Daily Prompt has much deeper implications, more than books – people.

Not so long ago a friend and I stopped to get a coffee at a 7 – 11 (Yeah, we were that desperate.)

My friend owned a business that employed around forty people. It was a service type business. Many of his employees entered homes to do restoration work.

At the 7 – 11 a large man stood in line at the register in front of my friend. The man was muscular, had a beard, shaved head, tattoos, piecing in the ears and nose.

The large man turned around and said to my friend, “Didn’t you interview me for a job a couple of weeks ago.”

My friend smiled and said, “Yes, I remember you.”

“Why didn’t you hire me?”

“At the moment I can’t remember, but I’m sure there was a reason.”

My friend was smaller than the man who seemed to be trying to intimidate him. But my friend, in his younger days was completely immersed in the Kung Fu culture and had played parts in several movies. That didn’t make him a tough guy, but it wasn’t going to make him stammer and stutter either.

“Is it the way I look?” the man said.

“Well that might be one place to start,” my friend said.

“Can’t you judge people by who they are on the inside?” the man said.

“Think about this, sir,” my friend said. “You’re already telling me who you are.”

When we got to the car my friend said, “Let’s get out of here before he has time to think.”

In my view, if a book or a person wants me to judge by what is on the inside and not the cover, than the cover should reflect what is on the inside. What the cover looks like is likely what is on the inside. That is what the publisher is selling and that is what the person is telling us about who they are.

imagesCAR8BFZOThat said, and back to the prompt; I have commented on this book before. It was To Kill a Mockingbird. I recall on the front cover of the copy I purchased was a picture from the movie by the same name. The cover was Atticus talking to his daughter, Scout, before bedtime. I knew immediately all that was needed to know; a lesson being passed on to a child.

If for a moment there is the feeling of being seduced or hoodwinked by a title or a cover it’s rejected. A cover must do more than titillate me, it must touch my heart.



Other judgmental bloggers:



  1. Steinbeck is one of my favorite authors, more for The Grapes of Wrath and Cannery Row, but Tortilla Flat was a funny one. These days, book covers can be made to look deceivingly good. I go right to the inside.

  2. My favourite book is also To Kill a Mockingbird! I’ve read different copies (a school copy, and a found copy in an old cottage cupboard), but my favourite cover is the one that shows the tree with the yarn and watch hidden inside the hole. It’s so curious.

    Every time I read it, I learn something new. And my old tattered copy hidden in a cupboard is my favourite. 🙂

  3. I have had a few great interesting covers of books where the book ended there sadly. Thank goodness it does not happen too often. Great article I loved it, Thank you

  4. This is good – and true – the outside does, often times, reflect exactly (or at least in part) of that which is inside. Anyway, stopping in to see what others wrote for the Prompt – hope you have time to visit soon and read my take on it – Cheers!

  5. Just a tad scary. I am currently about three-fourths of the way through re-reading Tortilla Flat — and loving it again. I’d even enjoy reading a grocery list by Steinbeck. Another nice piece — I don’t know how you do it every day.

  6. I love Steinbeck! The expression was more for being judgmental of people, rather than books. It was a caution for people to not accept that a person is telling the truth, because of the way he seems to be. A good con man will always dress the part. Would you invest in a venture capitalist scheme from a guy that is riding the crosstown bus with you everyday? Or maybe he has a car, but its got a bungee cord holding the door closed. Do you think he is a success story? I always look beneath what I see, and you are right, The cover should reflect what is inside. but the publishers just want to get the bar code scanned .

    • I’ve heard this argument many, many times. In fact, I have used it.
      Perhaps “judge” is to harsh. I really don’t know for sure when it comes to people. I personally have a vocation that “judging” is absolutely a hindrance to my success.
      If I see a raunchy, sadistic, violent, or tawdry cover, I’m not making a judgment, I’m making personal choice not to read it. It does not meet my standards.
      If I see a person dressed in the same manner I realize they may not be that type of person and merely succumbing to peer pressure.
      As to a person dressing in jeans and the such that is not what I’m referring to; it is people who go out of there way to look raunchy, sadistic, violent, tawdry, bizarre. I go around in old jeans, sweat shirt and so on at times. As an example one who dresses Goth. When I see a Goth I see a slasher. In fact they are the ones who are telling me to beware and stay away from them. They know the effect it has.
      In fact, the type of people I have described are more likely not to choose me as a friend or judge me.

  7. I love the way you bring out your opinion, to finish by ” it must touch my heart” makes it even more likable.

    we owe ourself such moments!

    I m now looking forward, finding my next book!

    I ll maybe try the one you ve just mentionned.

Blather away, if you like.

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