I've been reading with the same book club for more than 11 years. That means we sometimes have to spice things up to keep the zing in our relationship.
While we don't handcuff each other before breaking out the feather dusters and spiked dog collars, we do like to try new things from time to time.
Last month, we conducted an experiment: Everyone had to go to a bookstore and choose a book based solely on the cover. We could read the title, but none of the back-cover copy or reviews. We weren't allowed to choose books we'd heard of before.
It was the ultimate "choose a book by its cover" experience.
Each of us had to read our chosen book, and return to the group the following month. We laid the books out on the kitchen counter, and took turns guessing who they belonged to.
It sparked some fascinating discussion – who did we think picked that book? Why did she pick it? How drunk was she when she went shopping?
Once we had it all figured out, we went around the room and talked about our books. We each revealed what made us choose our book, and what we expected it to be like.
Not surprisingly, a lot of us were...well, surprised.
Some discovered the books were nothing like they expected. Others found they guessed pretty accurately. Some hated their books. Some loved them so much they threatened to hold their breath until everyone in the room read their chosen selection.
The subject is something that's been weighing on my mind a lot lately. On Wednesday, I showed you the cover for my March romantic comedy, Believe it or Not. At the risk of sounding like captain obvious, it's pretty different from the cover for Making Waves.
My publisher has a very strategic reason for doing it, and since I don't happen to be an expert in book cover psychology, I defer to their wisdom. Any decision they make with the goal of selling more books is a good one in my mind.
To what degree do you judge a book by its cover? Have you ever conducted an experiment like the one my book club tried? Any thoughts on the psychology of book covers in general? Please share!
And yeah, feel free to guess which book in that pile above was the one I brought. My book club figured it out instantly.