Friday, September 3, 2010

On Why I Don't Read Mysteries brought to you by The Book Blogger Hop

To answers this week's Hop question, Yes, I do judge books by their covers! It's hard to admit, and I used to always say no, but the actuality is that I do.

Book covers are carefully planned and used to tell a passerby what type of book it is and what demographic the publisher thinks the book will please.

Consider this: many genres have a "look" to their covers. Do you know what I mean? Science fiction tends to use darker colors and feature some symbol of science, technology and adventure like a space ship or the galaxy or a tool. This isn't a hard and fast rule at all but... if you browse the shelves I think you'll see what I mean. Fantasy and romances have their own looks as do most other genres.

And I think this is why I don't tend to read mysteries. Their covers don't do anything for me. There's almost always a whole lot of text and very few graphics. Here are some examples of recent mysteries/thrillers:

The only one I've read is The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo but if it wasn't for many bloggers recommending it I don't think I'd have ever considered reading it just because its cover is so uninformative. Actually, I would have guessed it's about a Chinese girl just based off the title/cover. And it's not! It's a pretty cover but it didn't pull me in. None of these covers do.

I have a feeling I'm missing out on a lot of good, gripping reads. I went through a John Grisham phase a few years ago and they began to feel like the same book over and over. And I haven't read much mystery since then. What am I missing? Are my cover judgments hurting me? Can you recommend an engaging mystery?

If you're stopping by from the Hop, hi! I'm starting a new feature this Saturday for short stories. I hope you'll check it out then! Thanks for hopping by!


  1. Hello from the hop.

    You know, I don't read much mysteries either for a lot of the same reasons. The huge type makes me feel like they are screaming the title at me. I'm not a fan of being screamed at so I think my sub-conscience rejects those books for that reason.

  2. Hi,
    I just found you through the Hop. I totally agree with you on the mystery books - their covers cause me to avoiding them too! I've seen The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo at the bookstore and never picked it up before... it just didn't look interesting to me. But after reading your post I'm not so sure anymore haha. I like your blog, I'm your newest follower. Feel free to check my blog out in your spare time,

    Hope you have a great weekend,
    Ms. C

  3. Hello! At the blog from Crazy-For-books I found your blog. ;) Great one you have. I see you read Northanger Abbey, I love Jane Austens writing. Have you read Emma? My favourite! Well enjoy your weekend!

  4. I'm currently reading The Girl With The dragon Tattoo. Was a give by my partner and it's my first time looking at it. It true that's kind of confusing at first but you can see the dragon if you really look at it closely. :) Dropping by via the hop. :) I'm also a new follower. Hope you can drop by Cladestine Sanctuary Have great weekend.

  5. Hopping by also!

    I do read some mysteries, but I totally agree with you about their covers! Some of them really are very uninspiring and uninteresting! I tend to rely on recommendations choosing books from this genre.

    The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo had a different cover here (Aus) and it was much more interesting than the one you've posted. If I'd seen the one you have here in a store, I wouldn't have given it a second glance!

  6. Hmm, maybe this explains why I don't read mysteries very much. Though I think the cover of the Girl with the Dragon tattoo is somewhat appealing, so maybe I don't like mysteries for a different reason. Visiting from the Hop- now a follower!

  7. Your analysis of modern mystery covers may explain why I don't care for those. Golden Age Mysteries (mainly pre-WWII) had much cooler covers than these. It seems to me that the modern mystery cover has large type and scream at the reader--most likely because most of the modern mysteries I've read are tougher, grittier, and "more realistic" than those cozy, country house mysteries of yester-year.

  8. I had never thought about mysteries like that in terms of covers. I pretty much only read cozy mysteries and I think they definitely have a different cover feel than the ones you have here.

    I generally don't even pick up books where the title and author name takes up the entire cover. It just doesn't give me a feel for the book.

  9. Hello.

    Happy Hopping to all.

  10. Hi, Chelle. I don't think I've talked to you in a while. I'm stopping by from the Hop. I agree with Pussreboots about the cozy mystery covers. There are all types of clues and what-nots to decipher. But if cozies are not for you, the cover on Stephen L. Carter's Jericho's Fall is one that I think fuels a reader's imagination. I'm currently reading The Emperor of Ocean Park by the same author. But that cover is clean and unobtrusive. It was only after I began reading that my attention was actually drawn to the cover. It's that subtle.

  11. That's really interesting, since it is the same reason why I do read mysteries. It used to be the genre I read more than any other. In fact, I don't read many romance novels for the same reason. The "great" cover art is off-putting to me, and I tend to look for something that is much plainer.

    Very interesting!

  12. Thanks for the rec.s everybody! I haven't heard of "cozy" mysteries before but I will check them out next time I'm browsing!