Instead of making this a Literary Listings post and just listing the things I don’t like, I want to actually discuss it here in greater detail and find out if anyone else has a few bookish pet peeves?
Book Cover Pet Peeves
Oh man, I am a seriously judgmental sort of person. I am the type of person to just look at a cover, not like it and completely pass it over. There is nothing that can get me to give it a chance, nothing except a great review by a friend. That being said, I’ve read crappy books because the cover looked good. I need to stop my judgmental ways but man, there are some cover-tropes that I just hate.
Ball Gowns: What the heck are they for?
I can’t stand book covers with ballgowns on the front. I seriously, seriously, can’t. Why is she in the gown? Is the book a modern day Cinderella? Does she have a curse put upon her that she must be tight laced into a painfully outdated goth-looking dress? Is the only way she won’t be eaten by monsters, is to be enshrined in giant red organza? If not, then why the heck is this trope such a popular one? I notice that it is especially popular within the YA genres and I find it to be a big turn off as I find that it lessens the quality of the text. Now, remember, this is my personal opinion. The sight of a ballgown makes me want to shudder, in real life or on the book-o-sphere. What I especially don’t like is the over-feminization of it all. I’m sure those satin-clad heroines are kick-ass but it is all just a bit… much. Plus! I read a ball-gown book once and the protagonist never wore a darn ballgown in the book, what the heck is the point then?!
Abs-Of-Steel: Come hither or run away?
At this point, as I type this I’m rolling around my bed going whhhhhhhhhy? I actually extend my dislike of this trope to the entire human species: I don’t see the point of a semi-naked man or woman on a book cover. I just don’t. To me, it screams that the book doesn’t have much content that all they could feature is a renegade looking tough guy. Even for urban novels or romances, there has to be more to add to the cover? Maybe?
Why does everyone have to make-out?
Again, these book cover pet peeves are all immensely personal and my own. I am not a huge fan of the romance genre, not withstanding, I can’t stand covers with couples making out in the front. Even in YA books, when I see a teenage couple kissing, even if it is an awkward peck, it is a turn off for me. To me, personally, these scream as to the lack of content that I’d find interesting. I don’t want to read about people making out so, why would I want to see it either? Plus, this is a bit nuanced I guess, but these types of covers really do suffer from a lack of diversity, which again, reflect their content. I have seen many covers with covers with people of cover embraced in a seemingly-torrid love scene, but those tend to reflect the “niche” element of the book (it being in the African-American genre for instance) which is fine, but I’d like to see a few mixed-race couples pop up a bit more or have more diverse casts. Again, the cover tends to reflect the content so there won’t be much more in the diversity scheme until people start actually writing more diversely.
So as it is, I won’t buy a cover if it has any semblance of a ballgown, washboard abs or PDA.