Like you I buy books that seem to be something I will enjoy. Unlike you I sometimes buy a book because I like the cover. On more than one occasion I have regretted that decision.
Case in point, the other day I picked up a book at the library sale and it had a cool picture of a woman with a knife walking toward a distant castle – Looked like a great mystery. Nothing from the inside flap told me I was mistaken. I was mistaken. It was a book about demons. One too many mentions of pentagrams and potions had me tossing the book at the recycle bin by page seven. The book would better serve as a recycled paper box.
Next on this incredible list of silly buying decisions is a book I bought (paid full price) because the cover was pretty. I love the color aqua. Better still aqua when it has a shimmer effect like in the peacock’s tail feathers, or like the sheen of oil on the water. I hate to see oil on the water but that is how I would now describe this book’s cover-color. Another reason I bought it – the author wrote a fantastic first book (The Time Traveler’s Wife). This was her second book. A third reason I bought the book is the description on the cover flap was intriguing. A ghost story. I sometimes like ghost stories – especially if the story is from the ghost’s point of view – like in the movie “The Others“. Well, the story in Her Fearful Symmetry isn’t awful, just awfully written. Audrey Niffenegger tells more than she shows whenever there is any mention of ‘feeling’. For example “She felt tired.” It would have been just as easy to show me what “tired” looked like instead of just being lazy about it and telling me she was tired. Blah! I did get as far as the end of the book because the story wasn’t horrible, there were some good unanswered questions about the ghost, etc. The end result was satisfactory but not wonderful. The read through was a slog though. (Is that telling enough?)
I buy books from authors I love. I love P.D. James. I love Jane Austin. So put the two together and you have a book by mystery writer P.D. James called Death Comes to Pemberly. Sounds wonderful. It wasn’t. I tried to love it. Couldn’t. The writing feels forced and stilted. I know she was trying for a voice that sounded like someone writing like Jane Austin. P.D. James is usually one of the easiest author’s to read and enjoy. I’ve read every book she’s written and have loved them all until this one. I hope she writes more mysteries with the wonderful Commander Adam Dalgliesh to solve them and that she writes no more historical mysteries with an attempt to sound historical.