August Reading Challenge Recap: Judge a Book by Its Cover

2016 Reading Challenge

We’ve been told “don’t judge a book by its cover” and I mostly agree with that statement but I wanted to let us off the hook and indulge in the superficial this month. The challenge was to pick a book based solely on its cover.

After browsing at the bookstore, I decided to read “Beautiful Ruins” by Jess Walter. Just looking at the cover felt like going on a vacation! I was hopeful that once I dived in, I’d love it. Sadly, though, it didn’t work out that way. I was thinking it’d be a fun story with some romance but it ended up being a slowly paced story that oozed of melancholy and regret. The characters were interesting and charming, and it was an intriguing story, but for some reason it just didn’t grab me. It was a good story, but it wasn’t a good story for me right now. When I kept putting off reading – something I never do – because I didn’t want to read this story, I knew it was time to switch to different book.

Instead I went with another book that had a beautiful cover….


My Pick:

The Language of Flowers” by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

I’ve heard great things about this story from multiple sources but the cover has made me shy away. It’s true, this book has a pretty cover, but it’s pretty almost to a fault. If a cover is too perfect, I tend to think the story is going to be too cheesy. Instead, once again, I found a very melancholy story behind this beautiful cover. Thankfully, though, this time it had enough of a hook to pull me in! The story is about Victoria. She’s just turned 18 years old and has aged out of the foster care system. She’s not a bad person, but she’s a very broken person. Now, she’s on her own without any sense of direction on where she wants to go in life, except for this amazing ability to communicate by flowers. Yellow roses mean jealousy, peony means anger, sunflower means false riches, etc. Victoria is able to use this talent to put her life together and heal from the past. It’s a bittersweet but also a hopeful story (those are my favorite kind of stories).

It’s a story filled with sadness, disappointment, finding and losing love (and then finding it again), and a main character with a trunk-ful of hurt but who wants to heal. Not exactly the whimsical and romantic story the cover implies. Still, it was a good story and I’m glad I read it.

That said, my lesson learned this month: Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover!

What about you? Did you pick a book by its cover? What was your experience?


7 thoughts on “August Reading Challenge Recap: Judge a Book by Its Cover

  1. I listened to Circling the Sun. The yellow cover, not the bluish one, is the one that caught my eye. Another time & another place is what I love. I knew nothing about it & barely read the description. So I was surprised, a couple chapters in, when I realized it was about the same person as a book I read earlier this year (the autobiography West with the Night). The narrator was fantastic, the story good. It’s a long book (nearly 400 pages) and a few parts were pretty slow. But I really enjoyed it.

    I also didn’t realize until I read the reviews afterwards that one of the characters was the basis for Out of Africa. So I put that in my DVD queue.

    This book led me to Purple HIbiscus, which I’m really enjoying.

    Circling the Sun is the same author as The Paris Wife. You had recommended that to me and I tried a few times to read it but couldn’t. I put it on hold to try again now.


    • I love the yellow Circling the Sun cover! I’m really glad you’re enjoying it. I’ve been meaning to read both of those, Circling the Sun and West of the Night. I’m bumping them up on my list! I’ll have to look at Purple Hibiscus, too. Yay!


  2. Sadly I did not get to read for this months challenge. 😦 We had just a little going on! 😀
    I have been enjoying the Nesting Place book you gave me though! It’s inspired me to continue trying to make my home a beautiful place. Not perfect but beautiful! It was perfect timing to start reading it before we came “home.” Thanks again!


    • You have a really good reason for skipping this month’s challenge! I’m glad you’re enjoying the Nesting Place. It encouraged me to power through some home improvement projects this summer. Once I made the changes, I thought to myself…why did we wait so long?! As for a perfect home…we won’t see that this side of kids and heaven! 🙂


  3. I’m reading the Centurions by Jean Larteguy. It’s a story about the French that fought in Vietnam before we did. It’s really good…but I haven’t finished it. I had another book unexpectedly jump it in the queue. I’d heard about it before and when I was browsing books for this months challenge it jumped out at me. I’ll post a picture to the FB page, but it’s a profile picture of a Soldier with his helmet on overlayed on a topographical map. It does a good job explaining some of the complexities of war and gives a glimpse of the different struggles that Soldiers, and those they left, have upon their return. I’ll finish it soon. Thanks for the motivation!


  4. I picked up The Cupcake Queen by Heather Hepler in the Yong adult section of the library on a whim. Surprisingly I loved it! It’s a cute story about a new girl on town. Typical teenage drama, but I enjoyed every minute. I’m already reading another book by her.


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