37

[LET’S CHAT] The Graveyard of Ugly Book Covers

file_000-41

Ah, yes, it’s that wonderful time where we talk about ugly book covers. You might’ve heard that popular saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” but, as bookworms, we know that is a total lie. We judge books by their covers, sometimes even buy books based off their covers, and will complain if they look in the least bit ugly. And we all know the Curse of the Ugly Cover, and, usually, they can be categorized in five groups.

I know that I usually post reviews on these days, but I was too lazy to write up a review over the weekend, and I had this post that wasn’t really scheduled for a date or anything, so I thought, “Why not go ahead and post it?” So, here’s me breaking my sacred schedule.

Also, I’m using the Slideshow format, so, hopefully, this won’t look like trash. Fingers crossed!

img_2014

the-well-thumbed-reader-11

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Ah yes, the original covers of books a.k.a. Publishers Were Really Obsessed With Faces and Cover Models. You might be surprised to know that John Green has gone through a crap-ton of cover changes concerning his first three books, but he has, and BOY, are they disappointing. No wonder nobody picked up his books until The Fault in Our Stars was published.

(Just kidding; I love you John Green.)

Then, of course, we have 2012, which you might remember as the Year We Thought The World Was Going To End, but was really the Year Cover Design Artists Didn’t Even Try. I mean, seriously, what is up with these badass ladies posing like they’re about to take their prom pictures? Why would anyone want to pick up these books?

Fortunately, they have gone through vigorous cover changes, and we have now reached peak level of gorgeousness, as seen in the slideshow below. Make sure you don’t become blinded by the beauty!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

the-well-thumbed-reader-12

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“I absolutely LOVE these books covers,” you say as you read your favorite book series.

“Oh, really?” the publishers respond as they contact a new cover designer to EFF UP THE BEAUTIFUL COVERS.

Seriously, what is this mess? Why are you changing the beauty of the original covers? Who do you think you’re appealing to? AT LEAST DO A SURVEY BEFORE YOU JUST LAUNCH NEW UGLY COVERS MY WAY! WHY IS IT SO HARD TO ASK FOR OPINIONS?

But, seriously. I find it highly concerning that publishers just change the book covers without even taking some sort of consumer report, since bookworms are easily reachable and we are literally the ones buying the books. Covers mean a lot, and I know publishers are well aware of that since they change covers all the time, so why do they change the covers of books that are selling well, and close to series’ completion? Why do they make the gorgeous cover out of print? Why do they change the books mid-series so I’m forced to re-purchase the previous ones in the series? WHY?

A moment of silence for the beautiful old covers that died for the ugly new ones. I highly recommend listening to this song by Lindsey Stirling to set the mood.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

file_000-6

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Okay, for some reason, publishers went through this awful phase where they assumed bookworms liked seeing blown up faces on covers. Newsflash: we don’t, and we never have. There’s just something about seeing a close-up of a face that’s just a complete turn-off for readers, and, thankfully, the trend seems to have died over the years, but R.I.P. all the books that could have had beautiful covers if they were published recently.

Also, three of these covers went through changes, and, unfortunately, Vampire Academy suffers yet again. All Richelle Mead wants is a beautiful cover! Why does she have to suffer like John Green used to?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

file_001-3

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Sometimes, the U.K. can definitely beat us at gorgeous covers that I lust for, but sometimes, they just fall flat. Have I already expressed my distaste for the U.K. editions of all of V.E. Schwab’s books? Because they are so god-awful compared to the beauty of the U.S. editions that I almost feel bad. The covers look so busy and boring and less minimalist than the U.S. covers. Not to mention how bland the ACOTAR trilogy looks. WHY DOES THAT AWFUL SHADE OF GREEN EXIST? WHY DOES THE ACOMAF BACKGROUND LOOK SO BORING?

file_002-3

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Of course, besides fangirls and bookworms alike being robbed by horrible book-to-movie adaptations, we are also greatly rewarded with ugly movie tie-in covers with stickers that ruin the book and are almost impossible to remove!

deadpan

(Somebody please help us.)

img_2014

And that’s it for my rant on ugly covers! I hope any of you guys found that slightly interesting or funny (I’m neither in real life). I’m absolutely loving these Let’s Chats, and this is my first time using the Slideshow format, so I hoped you like it. I thought it was the best post to use it for since the pictures sizes were all over the damn place.

file_009

Do you agree with my least favorite covers? Are there any that I missed out? 

follow me

Bloglovin’ | Instagram | Twitter

26

[LET’S CHAT] Do We Have Influence As Book Bloggers?

File_003 (6)

Okay, so, you guys really seemed to like my first ever edition of  Let’s Chat, which is awesome! I’m so glad to see you guys are pumped about this feature as much as I am! I was originally going to publish another Let’s Chat, but wanted to push it down later in favor of something else that I thought would be more interesting to talk about, and that’s the question in the title: do we really have that much influence as book bloggers?

This topic was mainly spurred by the huge announcement that Angie Thomas’s debut novel The Hate U Give hit number one on the New York Times’ Bestseller List twice (which she totally deserves;  you can check out my long, gushing review it here). Of course, even though I was very excited for her, I realized something: Veronica Roth’s Carve the Mark was second. SECOND.

I’m sure you’ve already heard that Carve the Mark was revealed to be racist and ableist, and there have been a multitude of Twitter threads and reviews calling the book out for this. Basically, the book blogging community banded together against it, because we, as a community, don’t believe these harmful books need to continue being published. Yet, it seems to not have really worked that because her book is still number two on the NYT Bestseller’s List, and will probably continue to be on there for a while. Maybe it’s because she’s a popular author already, so it doesn’t really matter what the community does, but it really begs the question: are we really influencing the reading community in general?

Now, I guess I could specifically pertain this to problematic books, but I want this to be a bit more generalized as a statement. There have been multiple times where book bloggers on Twitter or authors and such talk about an important topic in the book community that “goes viral,” in a way and gets everyone talking…but does it really? Because, yes, we’re re-tweeting and, yes, we’re participating in this discussion, and, hell yes, it’s important, but the only people listening are other book bloggers, and there’s a chance that we’ve already heard the same thing said by someone else, and then we go share it…to our followers, who are usually other book bloggers who’ve already seen it pop up in their timeline, and the cycle goes on.

I think this really old discussion from Jamie over at The Perpetual Page-Turner and the comments section (which I highly advise you to read because even though it might be irrelevant in some places, it’s still really interesting) really shows my point. Often times, on Goodreads or on Twitter or within our book blogging community, we talk about how a book is over-hyped and such because we seem to see it EVERYWHERE. But, from a regular old reader’s perspective, to someone who doesn’t know that book Twitter exists, or doesn’t use Goodreads, or doesn’t blog, they might have never heard of Caraval or The Hate U Give or The Raven Boys until they walked into the bookstore that day. Sometimes, only the fact that a book is becoming a movie is what pushes that author into incredible amounts of fame from “the outside,” much like what it did to John Green when The Fault in Our Stars movie adaptation was announced, and what it seems to be doing to Nicola Yoon and Everything, Everything (which is number three on the list, as you can see up there).

The Black Witch

And then back to the whole problematic books thing. Recently, The Black Witch has been called out for being racist, sexist, homophobic, ableist – you name it, the book probably has it. I’m going to leave some reviews here and here in case you want to read more in-depth about it. This recently started a conversation about how to deal with problematic books and how re-tweeting is never enough to spread the word, but then what is? Talking about it on my blog just alerts other bloggers who have probably already heard about the controversy and have sworn it off already. Talking about it on Goodreads just blasts the same thing to people who have already probably been exposed to it via their own circles. Sharing it on Twitter and Instagram is just sharing it to people who are already, in some way, inundated into the book community and have, again, probably heard the news. But what about people who just aren’t on any of those platforms? I’m sure a large majority of book bloggers aren’t going to read it and that’s cool and all, but that doesn’t stop a heck of a lot of readers who just occasionally go to a bookstore and pick up a book based off its pretty cover, who don’t look at outside influences, who aren’t part of the online book community. I mean, if Carve the Mark is sitting right next to an #ownvoices novel about the Black Lives Matter movement, have we really done anything at all? Will The Black Witch still be successful despite all the reviews and  Twitter threads?

And even talking about ARCs. Publishers give the most popular bloggers ARCs to get the word out there about their book. They’re out there to build up buzz and publicity. But, a large majority of the time, readers of blogs are usually other bloggers. Nine times out of ten, that book that popular blogger is advertising is one I’ve already seen popping up in my Reader or in my Twitter timeline or on my Instagram feed or even one I just tried to request on Netgalley, and there’s only so many times you can hear someone gush about a book before getting bored and skipping over every review of said book after reading just a couple of them. Are we really even generating buzz if that buzz is towards other bloggers?

Of course, this discussion seems to be super depressing and might imply that book bloggers are useless, but we aren’t (at least, I like to think we aren’t). I mean, authors think we’re cool enough to contact us if they need a boost or if they’re self-published. Publishers are nice enough to give us ARCs that are a lot of work to make, and that relationship didn’t come out of nowhere. We get to meet other bloggers and maybe gain new readers at places like Bookcon or Yallfest/Yallwest. We start important conversations that can take the blogging community by storm. We’ve been pushing for diversity and #ownvoices. We’ve managed to make some incredibly underrated authors/books popular. In some ways, our hard work is definitely paying off, and it shows me why I started my blog in the first place.

let's chat

For my fellow book bloggers, do you think you have a lot of influence in the reader community? For anyone who reads my blog and isn’t a book blogger (I don’t know if you guys exist lol), who influences you? For everyone, where do you get most of your bookish news or how do you hear about new books?

follow me

Bloglovin’ | Instagram | Twitter

38

[LET’S CHAT] DNF-ing Books

 

file_000-32

“Mikaela, are you starting another new feature?” Of course I am. I already have a Discussion feature, in which I talk about bigger book topics, but I realized there were a lot of topics I wanted to discuss that I didn’t feel would be able to fill out an entire blog post or seemed a bit unoriginal since pretty much every other blogger has talked about the same issues. So I thought it’d be nice to create a sort of mini-discussions feature called “Let’s Chat” about all the problems/things we as bookworms face. And I thought the perfect first topic was DNF-ing books.

Everyone usually has their own personal policy on DNF-ing. Some people give it halfway, some people give it 25%, some people will just give up ten pages away from the end in frustration, and some will know that the book isn’t for them after two chapters in. It’s so interesting how different we are as readers, and I think it says a lot about us depending on when and where you give up and say, “I’m done!”

For me, I try (the keyword is “try”) to give until at least 50% before I DNF. I personally think that if I’ve read around that much of an author’s book, and it’s still not picking up or improving, then there’s really nothing in the last half of the book that’s going to make me change my mind.

Above are some books that I DNF-ed after reading through 50%. First up is Under the Never Sky, which I actually first read in the sixth grade. I actually liked the novel back then, but last year, I decided to re-read it so I could finish out the series, and lo and behold, I detested it. The insta-love was SO BAD, and the world-building wasn’t too great either. I got so annoyed and I wasn’t enjoying reading it, so I just bowed out before I got too angry. We also have Hollow City, which I gave up on because I was so damn bored, I couldn’t take it anymore. The Iron King was a book I expected to love because all of my Goodreads friends seemed to and I LOVE fae, but I wasn’t really invested in this one, and ended up calling it quits about 40 pages before the end. And for Rebel of the Sands, I also DNF-ed it late in the game, literally two chapters in the end because I just couldn’t finish it. I was bored, I didn’t like the plot, and there were too many characters to juggle.

img_2014

Other times, I just end up quitting earlier on because my expectations aren’t met, or I just really don’t feel like suffering through something that has an incredibly slow start. Usually, for most of my earlier DNFs, it really all comes down to how bored I am with what’s going on.

These are some books I ended up quitting early on. As you guys know, I wasn’t a huge fan of The Darkest Minds trilogy, and once I reached In the Afterlight, I was so bored, I just gave up, especially since I wasn’t really a huge fan in the first place. With The Fever, I was expecting something completely different, and I ended up being faced with petty high school drama. I knew I couldn’t take that, so I decided that it just wasn’t for me. For Before the Fall, I was super excited to read this, but it was a slower thriller, more of a literary thriller, and I felt like the plot hadn’t really moved forward, so I skipped on it. Bad Little Girl was one I felt super bad about, since I received an e-ARC of it, but I read 10 chapters and was so incredibly bored, that I knew it just wasn’t going to happen. I also had a bunch of other e-ARCs to read, so I didn’t feel like wasting time.

img_2014

And there’s also another category of DNFs. There have actually been books I’ve DNF-ed that I just read at the wrong time, and have actually become some of my favorite books (or, in one case, a book that I found just fine). I’m always up for giving books second chances if I see enough hype for them, and I’m always glad when I do and find that it was just bad timing the first time around. 

Way back when, I started to read Cinder. I didn’t hate it exactly, but the first chapter didn’t really pull me in. Later on, I picked it up because of Goodreads reviews, and ended up loving it. I binged all three books in the series (at the time, Winter hadn’t come out yet), and it’s now one of my favorite series ever. With The Maze Runner, I’m sort of angry about it because I picked this up way back in the fifth or sixth grade, when it wasn’t popular. Believe it or not, I was obsessed with romance over plot (I know, crazy, right?), and flipped through the entire book to find the scene where they kissed, and was highly disappointed to see the main characters didn’t. I decided to give up on it after two chapters, and picked it back up once it got popular and loved it. I could’ve been a trendsetter you guys! Daughter of Smoke and Bone and Shadow and Bone were both fantasy books where I couldn’t get past the first couple of chapters, but later read and enjoyed. I loved Daughter of Smoke and Bone, while I thought Shadow and Bone was just okay and I never actually continued on past that.

arrow break

Then there’s the big question: Should we rate books we haven’t fully read? Personally, for me, I have rated a couple, mostly the ones I read 50% or more of. I consider that enough for me to judge the book on, but I know there are some people who only rate books they’ve fully read and feel like it’s wrong to assign one star to a book because it’s sort of unfair. For books I read less than 20% of, I didn’t rate them at all, and for the ones I went back to, the only time I rated them was after I actually completed them the second time around.

img_2014

And that’s it for the first ever edition of Let’s Chat! I hope you enjoyed it, because I’ve already written about 10+ topics, and I’m not going to waste them all.

(Just kidding. But I HAVE already written a bunch of topics already.)

file_009

What is your personal DNF policy? What are some books that you’ve DNF-ed? Any books you’ve DNF-ed, then re-read them and enjoyed them?

follow me

Bloglovin’ | Instagram | Twitter