One of my most recent reads was The Haters by Jesse Andrews. Andrews is also the author of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. While I hadn’t read his previous novel, I had watched the movie on HBO and thought The Haters might be something I’d like. I had just finished reading some serious books, and I was looking for something fun to read. The Haters book blurb sounded like just the book I needed. Basically, three teens bust out of a lame jazz camp and go on an epic road trip in order to find some gigs for the new band they’ve decided to form. They don’t have a band name yet. They don’t even take along their cell phones. Just two guys and girl, trying to make music that doesn’t suck.
This book was better than I expected, and it kind of caught me by surprise. It was written in such a smart format and was laugh-out-loud funny (seriously- my laughing woke up my husband more than once as I was reading this in bed at night!). This is what I want John Green’s books to be! Instead of pretentious, philosophical teens and pages and pages of book without a plot, Jesse Andrews’ teenagers were smart, but in a goofy, true-to-their-age way. There was a plot and ridiculous twists and turns and real conversations and real consequences. There was still a manic-pixie dream girl who didn’t really show any growth, but I would still recommend this book. While I thoroughly enjoyed the book, I held out on rating it five stars because some of the content was a bit too mature for YA Lit, in my opinion. There was recreational drug use, sex while on drugs, and plenty of profanity and crude humor. That being said, I still look forward to reading more books by this smart author.
Somehow, just weeks later, I stumbled across this cool blog post about how the book’s cover was designed. I liked seeing the progression of ideas, and reading about the reasoning behind the artistic choices. The artists played with microphones, drum sets, cassette tapes, famous singers, bright colors, and bold, graphic fonts. However, I was a bit surprised with the end result. When I was reading The Haters on my Kindle, the cover was orange and had little icons of people that were clearly the band. I liked this cover and the humor in it. It matched the simple green cover that I had seen for Me and Earl and the Dying Girl nicely. But in the design post, they went in a different direction and chose a cover with headphones and dials that looked like a frowny face. To me, I didn’t see the correlation between these two covers. If I had seen the yellow cover, I’m not sure that I would have given the book a chance. Hmm, I guess that’s why books re-brand themselves with so many different covers! Readers tend to judge their book covers more than we’d like to admit.
How about you? Which cover design for The Haters do you like better?
I got to open an exciting package yesterday from Blurb (a book printing company that I highly recommend). Blurb has been having deal after great deal after great deal since Thanksgiving. I took advantage of a 40% off coupon code and printed copies of my (very rough) works-in-progress. I was amazed at how awesome my books looked when I took them out of the box. I keep picking them up and admiring them. They look so professional. I feel quite proud for having completed a project, or rather, TWO projects. Merry Christmas to me!
I hope your Christmas is joyful and book-filled.
I’ve read some wonderful books lately; however, for my first installment of Current Read Monday, I’ve got a book I’m really not crazy about. The book is called Beautiful Ruins, and it’s written by Jess Walter. I waited several months for a digital copy to become available from my library, and now that I’ve got it, I can’t seem to get through it. I’ll admit that the first thing that drew me to this book was its cover (look at that idyllic coastline), but the book’s blurb reeled me in too.
The story begins in 1962. On a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline, a young innkeeper, chest-deep in daydreams, looks out over the incandescent waters of the Ligurian Sea and spies an apparition: a tall, thin woman, a vision in white, approaching him on a boat. She is an actress, he soon learns, an American starlet, and she is dying.
And the story begins again today, half a world away, when an elderly Italian man shows up on a movie studio’s back lot—searching for the mysterious woman he last saw at his hotel decades earlier.
What unfolds is a dazzling, yet deeply human, roller coaster of a novel, spanning fifty years and nearly as many lives. From the lavish set of Cleopatra to the shabby revelry of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Walter introduces us to the tangled lives of a dozen unforgettable characters: the starstruck Italian innkeeper and his long-lost love; the heroically preserved producer who once brought them together and his idealistic young assistant; the army veteran turned fledgling novelist and the rakish Richard Burton himself, whose appetites set the whole story in motion—along with the husbands and wives, lovers and dreamers, superstars and losers, who populate their world in the decades that follow.
Gloriously inventive, constantly surprising, Beautiful Ruins is a story of flawed yet fascinating people, navigating the rocky shores of their lives while clinging to their improbable dreams.
Sounds pretty great right? The part I’m struggling with is the amount of characters and time periods the book contains. Just when you get interested in a character’s storyline, the chapter ends and you’re sent in a different direction. I’m sure this was done very purposely. It keeps you reading to find out what happens to those characters later, but it’s a bit frustrating. There are also some slow and tedious sections that I just don’t care for. I’m 49% of the way through the book at this point, and I hope I’m not still reading this book next Monday!
The beautiful cover got me this time! Have you had a similar experience where the book’s cover was better than its contents?