Everyone knows that adage “don’t judge a book by its cover.” Well it was coined by a spin doctor who is on intimate terms with the idiom “pulling the wool over your eyes.”
I don’t pretend to have extraordinary powers of deduction, like David Sedaris, but I can tell if a book is going to be worth my time or not. I think it’s because I have tempus fugit stamped to my eyeballs. Life is fleeting and I don’t have the time, as I get older and wish to guard it more and more often, from relaxing in my favourite reading chair and giving up my private space to a crap book.
I suppose you might call me a discerning reader.
I can tell if a book’s going to be worth my time just by the feel and look of it. When I walk into an independent bookseller (the best place to buy a book) or browse Amazon, I can tell if it’s going to be plot-driven at the expense of characters, language, and ideas; an experimental work; a mesmerizing book of ideas and brave new fiction dialogue; a potboiler that surprises with deft plot twists and an unexpected ending; a picaresque tale of the pithy sorrow of another young Werther of wonder; a work that transcends genre; or a totally hyped bestseller that’s oozing snooze factor.
Plus it helps to read the brief description on the back. That gives an even better idea of whether I will be sitting in the lap of luxury or snuggled up asleep on the sofa.