Friday, June 06, 2008

Oopsy and a pet peeve about a ridiculous cover

My apologies to those who subscribe to my blog feed. I tried to edit my Southern Reading Challenge post to reflect updates and accidentally hit the "Save as Draft" button, which meant that it went out again as if it were a brand new post when I hit the "Publish Post" button. I hope that makes sense. Just toss that puppy out with the socks that have holes in them and all that nasty spam.

And, here's something interesting to mull. I'm reading an older copy of In the Land of Dreamy Dreams by Ellen Gilchrist. It was printed in 1981 and, thus far, the stories have been set in the New Orleans of the 1970s. The cover illustration shows a woman lying in repose on a cushioned wicker settee , looking dreamy, a shell in her hand:

It fits. The dress is right for the time of publication -- not sure about the time the stories were written or set, but it's close enough. I can easily visualize one of the female characters, who tend to be off in their own world, lying around with that dreamy expression. The furniture would easily fit that of a nice porch in the Garden District in pre-Katrina New Orleans. So, I cannot figure out for the life of me why on earth the current cover looks like this:

What the heck is that? It will be interesting to find out if there's something beyond the mention of a Japanese kimono on page 140, as I continue reading. Either way, it seems like an awfully odd choice for the cover image on a short story collection by a Southern writer. This is a mystery I must unravel. More on that, later. Gotta keep reading.


  1. I'll be curious to know if the cover does match the book somehow, Nancy. I've seen that before, where the cover doesn't match the book. I always wonder what the publisher was thinking.

  2. Re: the first cover -- I had a dress like that except it was peach. Same year!

  3. Anonymous10:47 AM

    As a former bookseller I can tell you that people really do judge/purchase a book by its cover. However, I would sure be hard pressed to explain that one.

  4. Maggie,

    No kidding! :)


    I plan to read the entire book, so I'll update on that, later on. I'm just reading one story per day, at this point. I've seen covers that don't fit, but this one really takes the prize. It'll be interesting to find out if there's a genuine reason for that cover choice or if they were just trying to find an image that they thought met the concept of "dreamy dreams"!


    Exactly!! It fits the time period. And, hey, you must have looked like a Roman goddess, that year. I like that dress.

  5. Kevin,

    Absolutely. It's hard to explain, but we all are influenced by a cover, for better or worse, at some point. I have a great example, actually. I've been wanting to read Divisidero since it came out, but a couple of weeks ago I browsed in Borders and I bought The Blood of Flowers, instead. I got home and thought, "What was I thinking?" And, then I realized I didn't like that plain cover on the Ondaatje book, but the beautiful red illustration on The Blood of Flowers made me want to hold it and admire it. I'd still like to read the Ondaatje, but I'll have to talk myself into walking to the counter with that one. It's ugly.

  6. LOL! Wow, that's a big different. Slighly disturbing in fact, but it makes me giggle.

  7. How bizarre! I'm really curious now to see if there's a reason for it. I am definitely attracted to good cover art, and make no apologies for it. At my library, our entire main area (called the Community Commons) is full of face-out book displays and it's much more appealing to browse those than the regular stacks.

  8. I always find it annoying when the cover doesn't seem to match the book at all. Sometimes I get the feeling the artist was given some short description by someone who hadn't really read the whole thing.

  9. You're supposed to throw out socks with holes in them?!!

  10. Anonymous6:02 PM

    The publishers wanted to make sure that the cover was so different you'd buy it twice.

    Maybe. I'm curious to see if they did actually have something from the book in mind or if it's just evocative.

  11. Yeah....that whole Japenese thing doesn't really go with the whole Southern thing, does it??

    Of course, it's actually a pretty picture.

  12. Anonymous12:58 PM

    Certain covers are truly atrocious. They put me off reading!

  13. Andi,

    Yep. Funny, yet . . . horrifying.


    I'm a cover art lover, too. I would like very much to trade libraries with you, please. :)


    I think that's how it works, actually. What I really dislike is a cover that has, say, a blonde in a flowing dress when it has a heroine who wears nothing but torn jeans (or, whatever). You can't help but flip to the cover and think, "That is so wrong," while you're reading. At the very least, they ought to have the physical attributes right when protagonists appear on covers. My opinion.

  14. Debi,

    No, you nut. You're supposed to darn them. But, I think maybe we're in the wrong century for that.


    That's what title switches are for, but you're right. Sometimes that works, sad addicts that we are.

    I haven't touched the book in a couple of days, so I'll have to get back to everyone on whether or not there's any relation, whatsoever, to something in the book. It doesn't fit the title the way the other cover did, though, so far.


    Unless there's some sort of Southerner who travels to Japan, later on, but I haven't gotten to anything like that. It's a pretty bizarre contrast, isn't it? Oh, yes, the picture is pretty. I'll bet it's stock art and there's another cover floating around with that illustration, somewhere.


    Me, too. Divisidero's paperback cover is a prime example. I want to read the book, but I actually put it back because I couldn't stand the thought of forking out money for such an ugly book. Then, I went home and gave myself a lecture, but we won't go there. :)

  15. Hey, I got to meet Ellen Gilchrist this past weekend. She was on a panel w/ two other woman writers promoting post 9/11 books. She looked at me and smiled and said, "Honey, you got something on your teeth," in the sweetest of gentile voices! Bah! :D

  16. Maggie,

    Cool! Well, except for having something in your teeth. Did you tell her the infamous unknown Bookfool loved her short stories? ;)


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