Judging A Book By It’s….. Title or Author


We have hashed our way through conversations of judging a book by its cover.  Been there… done that… still happening…

BUT – today my question is what about the title or cover.  Have you ever passed on a book because of its title?  Or because of the author?  OR… have you picked up a book because of the title or author?

I have two examples of skipping (or almost skipping) books because of titles.  One I talked about a week ago when I linked on to Home Girl’s Blog and her subject on book confessions.  The book I talked about there was Leave It To Cleavage by Wendy Wax.  If it were not for my book club it would have been a no to me on both accounts.  No to the title…. and the authors name just added to my resounding no.  Well – I did read the book for book club and found it to be a light, clean, chick lit read that did make me laugh.

Judgement #2 was Good In Bed By Jennifer Weiner.  This one I did not read…. because of the title.  The book club did read it and said it was a wonderful book and had a good story to it about an overweight woman struggling with body image.

As for judging a book by its author, Lori in my book club would not read Nora Roberts.  Thought she was a terrible author and had no interest in her books.  I told Lori she had to read the The Three Sisters Trilogy by Nora….  at least book one, Dance Upon The Air.  She begrudgingly did – and loved all three of the books in this series.

So how about you?  Have you judged a book by its title or author?

About Sheila (Book Journey)

Bookaholic * Audio Book Fan *Bike Rider *Rollerblader *Adventure Seeker *Want To Be Runner*Coffee lover *Fitness Fan * Movie junkie

Posted on March 3, 2010, in Book Stuff and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 48 Comments.

  1. Yep. Thought I would like a book called Hook & Jill. Didn’t. My review:

    http://calicocritic.blogspot.com/2010/01/book-review-and-giveaway-hook-and-jill.html

    Very disappointed.

    Laura

  2. I have passed on many books because of the title. I steer away from books that from the title, sound like there is excessive foul language or extreme sexual content. One book I remember right off the top of my head was “No Ma”. From the synopsis I received in the email offer it sounded ok. But when I received the book, the back cover told a different story. Lately I usually check the book out on Amazon before committing to a review.

    • I do that too Vicki. Often book offers come with very little info about the book. I usually check out Amazon and if I can see a couple reviews on it as well that is always helpful.

  3. This happened to me just this past Christmas season. I had been wanting to read The Christmas Sweater for a long time and I finally got the book. I wasn’t familiar with the author when I first heard about the book. When I finally got the book, I realized the author was Glenn Beck and I had recently learned of his social and political stance while watching him on Barbara Walter’s 10 most blah, blah, blah of 2009. I was really turned off. Now I don’t know if I will read the book. I’ve had one friend tell me to burn it (I never would) and another tell me to get rid of it. I hate to judge a book by its author. I guess we’ll see how I feel next Christmas…if I decide to read it or not!

  4. I admit, I’m a sucker for a good cover.

    I’ve left an award for you over at http://thelostentwife/net!

  5. There are some historical romances that have downright embarrassing titles. I’ve learned to ignore the titles – some of the books are good and some not (like any genre, I suppose).
    I’ve always heard that Good In Bed was a good novel. Haven’t read it yet but it’s on my list!
    Great question, Sheila.

  6. I judge a book by its author frequently. There are some authors that I just don’t get. I can’t connect. It is like a dog hearing things out of human hearing range. These authors must be writing out of my range. I just can’t connect with their stories or characters. Terry Pratchett is like that for me and so is Gina Showalter. Now, both are good authors, maybe even excellent authors for someone else but I have learned over time that these authors and some others too just aren’t for me.

  7. Hmm, I’m gonna say, guilty. I have picked up books solely because of the author. Sometimes it’s a good thing, sometimes I end up disappointed. But if I find someone I like, chances are I’m going to keep reading everything they put out.

    As for title. Well, the author doesn’t even have the last say in the title so it really doesn’t mean much to me. I guess if the title was a full-out swear word or something truly grotesque I’d pass it up. Otherwise, they’re just words someone thought would sell the book.

    • Excellent point about the title Laura. I hadnt thought about the author not having the last say in the title… that is like all the cover controversies you read about!

  8. I do it all of the time. One of the best things from blogging is reading a review of a book that I had passed over only to find out that if I gave it a chance I would probably enjoy it!

    • Happens to me too Staci. I have passed on books and seen raving reviews and know I missed out. I really get a lot out of other bloggers reviews.

  9. I’m sure I’m guilty, at least of judging by title, if not based on author. However, no examples are coming to mind …

  10. Sheila, I know you have said several times that the cover draws you in but that has never been the case for me. I find that the cover can oftentimes be so misleading that I tend not to take much stock in them. But the title…yes. A good title will stop me in my tracks and make me pick it up to see what kind of story could be behind that title. As far as authors go, if I’ve been burned by an author once chances are I won’t be burned twice.

    • Angie I dont know what it but I am like a kid thats sees something shiny…… covers attract me….. of what a shallow book reader am i! :)

      I like titles too!

  11. Oh, I do this all the time. I have this thing where I don’t like to buy books with sex in the title; I don’t know why. And I refuse to buy romances written by men, which is probably really sexist of me.

    • That is kind of funny heidenkind! I will have to think if I have any of those things…. I think I would have a bit of a struggle with a man written romance too. :)

  12. I have passed on many books because of the cover and I have chosen many books based on this. Neither is a sure fire winner. I may try Nora Roberts because of you. Before your review earlier this year-I would have never read one of her books.

  13. There are a few books a lot of people seem to like that I won’t try because of the author, The Christmas Sweater being one of them. I even put a fantasy book back on the shelf, eventhough I thought it sounded really good, because I read the dedication and didn’t agree with the political stance being made. I’m ashamed to admit it but if I’m familiar with the political/social views of an author and I storngly disagree with them, I tend to avoid there books.

    • I didnt know about the views on The Christmas Sweater until this post and you are the second one to mention it Ryan.

      I think if I disagreed with an authors beliefs I would probably pass on the read as well.

  14. I’m sure I’m guilty, but I can’t think of any examples. I have also judged a book by the people blurbing it. For example, I read a book by Carol Matthews that I didn’t like (it was stuffed with every cliche in the book), so now when I see her blurbing books, I have this automatic GAHHH reaction. :)

  15. Definitely! Even though I know there is not necessarily a correspondence! A pretty cover will get me every time, and a title will attract me even when I have heard horrible things about the book – I end up reading a lot of stuff I regret that way! :–)

  16. Totally have done both. Can’t cite you a specific book. In my defense in regard to authors, I generally don’t put up a blockade on them until I’ve at least read one of their books.

    • Lisa I like it when authors branch out. For instance I am just fascinated with the versatility of Patterson these days. Totally thriller author but also has written a couple love stories and I am anxious to try his YA book!

  17. many times, so many more than I have judged a book by it’s cover. Often to the good but not always. I’m thinking in particular of the MM Kaye book I read because of the author and hated it. Then again I picked up a copy of the Five People You Meet In Heaven having firstly been attracted by the title and loved it. I can’t think of ever being put off a book purely by its title, but purely by a books author? Yes.

  18. Is there anyone who hasn’t done this? Seriously, I think that everyone does it to a certain extent. Even if they are not aware of it consciously. I try to, but I’m not much of a non-fiction reader and I also don’t read Sci-Fi and Fantasy much. If I realize that a book is one of those, I usually will pass it by. I haven’t considered myself a book “snob”, but I guess I really am. Just sort of in reverse to most of the people that I have experienced it from. A lot of readers think that they read “serious” books. So you get the ones who won’t even pick up Nora Roberts or a cozy mystery or a paranormal. I have championed the fiction genres and I guess that’s really my niche.

    I love Nora Roberts ‘ trilogies, by the way. Especially the Three Sisters Island one. :-)

    • Kay I am a huge fan of The Three Sisters Trilogy – cant say enough about it. If you liked that one I think you would also enjoy her Three Keys Trilogy if you have not already read it.

  19. I’ve found myself steering clear of Nicholas Sparks for the last few years, but my friend talked me into listening to the Dear John audiobook and I just loved it! So I think I will try listening to some of those I have written off in the past.

    • Great example Jo Jo. When anyone in my book nominates a Sparks for our book vote I silently groan because I think automatic fluff….. boy meets girl and the book is always about how they get together.

      I too listened to Dear John and really enjoyed it – and cried!

  20. Great topic! I agree that I’ll sometimes be put off by a title if it includes sex or curse words. And while I love Nora Roberts, I won’t read anything by John Grisham, Jackie Collins or Danielle Steel, so think the author’s name means more to me than anything.

    Love Jennifer Weiner, and since I’ve read her books before I knew that Good In Bed wouldn’t be what you might think. Think you would like that one Sheila!

    • Ok Alexia now I am going to challenge you! :) I challenge you to read Grisham’s (don’t cringe yet!) Innocent Man. This is his only non fiction book he has written.

      I think you may be surprised. :)

  21. justicejenniferreads

    I try not to, but I know I do. There are certain authors that I gravitate to because I love them and other authors that I write off because of one bad experience or because I’ve “heard things.” But usually, I’m open to being proven wrong when the time comes. No specifics come to mind right now, but this is a really interesting conversation that you’re having on here.

  22. There are some authors I don’t read, like Steven King, because I don’t care for that genre. I’ve read books by authors I’ve liked in the past and not cared for at all. If that happens too many times, I’ll be less likely to try one of their books again.
    You commented on the other blog – book confessions – that you did not read romances. In this post you had recommended Nora Roberts to a book club member. Nora Roberts is a romance author, a good one. As I mentioned before, covers can be off putting, but there are some good authors out there that write romance. Unfortunately they are often treated as the step-child of the publishing industry.

    • I used to read King in my teen days. Nora is a romance author but I do not find her to be heavy romance….. the books I recommend (time and time again I love them so!) do have a love story in them – but it is not center stage to the story… at least not for me if that makes sense :)

      I enjoyed those books because of the magical aspect – good vs. evil…. and the tough women because I love strong women characters and really dislike reads where the women are weak.

      (Wow I had no idea I was so opinionated!) LOL :)

  23. You can’t judge a book by it’s cover; unfortunately,many of us do.

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