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Judging a Book by its Cover: A Perspective

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Judging a Book by its CoverYou see a guy with thick glasses, most likely a nerd. You see a man with big muscles, most likely he’s strong. You see a black guy and you know he’s got a huge….well, let’s just say “ego.” But 7 times out of 10 you can judge someone by their appearance and generally have a good sense of who they really are.

I started reading a book, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami. The cover has a cloudy sky with a small picture of the Japanese author jogging in the middle. The book has a nice feel to it, optically and physically. The texture of the cover is both tender and ever so lightly rough. Before I started reading, I could tell it was a good book because the cover is not outlandish and has printed on it “NATIONAL BESTSELLER.” I’m judging a book by its cover and I’m gonna be right. My judgement is not purely based on the “National Bestseller”-print; although it accounts for 20% of my interest. Just because some rich scholar had a nice time reading this book and emailed his boss to print it a bestseller, doesn’t mean the NATION will be interested. The people who claim books as bestsellers only think about their own egos, and bank accounts when printing these titles. People get paid to say shit. It’s a simple and obvious concept, but one that I often remind myself of because sometimes I fall victim to advertisements and hype. People get paid to say shit.

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, Haruki MurakamiMy mom was in Israel for two months and came back slightly surprised at my weight loss. She saw I lost a good 8 pounds and wondered – first and foremost – if I had been eating properly. Hopefully she won’t read this article and realize I SPORADICALLY starve myself, but I have also taken up jogging and that’s what I told her. I try to jog about 10-16 miles a week. About one third of what Haruki Murakami runs (Haruki Murakami, author of What I Talk About When I Talk About Running). Hmmm, I just realized, “this is what I’m talking about when I talk about someone else talking about talking about running.” Could this be a potential sequel!? No, obviously not. It’s the dumbest idea since the square wheel.

Where was I? Judging a book by its cover. Right. So, let’s get the literal “judging a book by its cover” idea down pat. Look for simplicity and austereness when rolling the dice on a book. If a book cover is overly artistic, too modernized, or too “Herb Ritz-y,” it was raped by the hollow-minded, sail-boating, publishing and advertising ignoramuses. Their covers are saving their authors’ text, instead of the opposite. The cover should blend into the book’s framework. By my own conviction and through 23 pages of the book, Haruki Murakami’s book cover depicts his thought process while he jogs. He is clear-minded, but with passing thoughts, emphasized by the clouds. He feels both on top of and embraced by the world. Jogging gives him a meditation, relief, and power.

If this were a terrible book, the cover might have a picture of 50 marathon runners seen clearly, and the crowd behind them seen blurry: the type of cover that would pleasurably masturbate the god of monstrosity. Thankfully, Haruki is a critically acclaimed writer and doesn’t need an abomination of a cover to grab your attention.

Figuratively speaking, I always judge a book by its cover, but I don’t interpret the cover literally. I’ll look at a person and determine whether or not this person will be fun, outgoing, and genuine. The girl with eyeglasses is an untapped goldmine, not necessarily smart, but always a sweetheart. The girl with short, short hair, looking like a lesbian, is always a keeper, she’s in good shape, she has snake-like moves in bed, always has a sexy-stare, a passionate kiss, and laughs at your bad jokes. The tall, skinny blond/dirty-blond/brown haired-girl no one dares to talk to because she’s tall, has a great attitude, looks sexy in a big sweater and panties in the morning, she’ll make you breakfast in bed after the first night together. These girls are the type of covers that scream, “GO ARIEL, GO!!!”….. And believe me, I GO. But then there’s hot blondes, the Tom Brady type girls. Great looks on the outside, pure evil on the inside – just like the terrible books I was talking about. These dumb, wanna-be Gisele, pampered-girls expect butlers to bring them breakfast in bed. Oh well, as long as someone loves them, they’re useful, I guess.

This past weekend, I was getting to know this girl at a bar and she proved my ‘judging’-point, but also took it to another level. She had short black hair, a fine strong body, and a contagious smile – a keeper. I went to talk to her and found she was Columbian, along with other details I can’t recall. After some time, I asked for her number. “Anh anh anhhh,” she said shaking her head as she showed her ring-finger, “I’m married…. to a girl.” My eyes widened and jaw-dropped as she gave me a smile. I told her she was 10-times hotter now that I knew she was a lesbian. Eventually, after some convincing, I got her to take my number, but before she left, she told me, “If you were gay, I would bring you home and hook up with you.”

Oh myyyyyyy! Lesbians!! You don’t take them home, they take you home!! I tried lying. I told her, “I AM Gay!!!” She didn’t buy it. She just laughed. To me, this was torture. A hot lesbian is digging me and my banter, but she’s just a museum; I can view her beauty, but I’m not allowed touch it (discounting the accidental shoulder brushes, of course).

Lesbians are the most free-spirited and respected species in the human race, more so than gay men because there isn’t a negative undertone in our society toward them. Lesbians are encouraged, gay men are tolerated. This is the unfortunate nature of a male-dominated society. Due to their free-spirit and boldness, I love when they talk to me as an equal because I feel substandard next to lesbians. Actually, I shouldn’t say lesbians, plural, because this was the first time I’d hit on a lesbian that had a mutual sensual feeling. So, I guess ONE lesbian thinks I’m good enough for her body, but not her homosexual frame of mind…I can live with that. In fact, I’m proud. I’m taking that to the confidence-bank and depositing an ‘I-almost-slept-with-a-lesbian-chick’-check. I think I’m gonna stick with the lesbian crowd for a while. I’ll get lucky one of these decades.

Let’s amend my initial statement: You can judge a book by its cover, but keep an open mind while reading.

–Ariel Mathiowitz is a Contributor to the Free George.

The Free George is the online magazine and visitors’ guide of Upstate NY, covering things from Albany to Lake Placid, including Saratoga, the Lake George region and the Adirondacks. Check out our new City Blogs section for our extended coverage areas as well.

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