Columns > Published on January 25th, 2013

Judge A Book By Its Cover

I'm not a huge fan of the aphorism "don't judge a book by its cover." Well, actually, I think in the case of Young Adult fiction you should follow that adage, because all YA covers are dirt and some of the books are quite good. But in general, I say go ahead and judge 'em. In this day and age as publishers spend more and more money on art design, the best books have the best covers, and the worst books have covers like this

But while I do believe we can often estimate a book's quality by its cover, we usually can't guess its content. Covers nowadays are arty, and when it comes to art, ambiguity wins the day. In fact, if you can glance at a book's cover and know exactly what happens within, chances are:

a) It's an ugly cover and...

b) It's a terrible book. 

So because we're ornery and rebellious here at LitReactor, we're going to do the opposite of what we're told. Let's judge some books by their covers! I'm choosing vague and unconventional covers for well-known novels and blurring out the titles and author names. I'll even be generous and throw in some keyword hints for you. I'll include the answers at the end. Speak up in the comments and let us know how you did!

Violets On Knees

keywords: picnic. train. fiancée. cuckold. theater. society. 

Blood Tie

keywords: dog. card. hooker. record. chainsaw. hair. 

Knit Knit Knit

keywords: lawyer. yarn. reign. sacrifice. chop. double. 

Hot Rock

keywords: birthday. letter. professor. snake. mirror. broom. 

Skate By

keywords: isolation. school. date. cigarette. stripper. checkers. 

Okay! Make your guesses! The key is below, but don't cheat. Let us know how many you got right in the comments!


1) ɐuıuǝɹɐʞ ɐuu∀ 2) oɥɔʎsԀ uɐɔıɹǝɯ∀ 3) sǝıʇıƆ oʍ┴ ɟo ǝlɐ┴ ∀ 4) ǝuoʇS s,ɹǝɥdosolıɥԀ ǝɥʇ puɐ ɹǝʇʇoԀ ʎɹɹɐH 5) ǝʎɹ ǝɥʇ uı ɹǝɥɔʇɐƆ

About the author

Meredith is a writer, editor and brewpub owner living in Houston, Texas. Her four most commonly used words are, "The book was better."

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