Sunday, November 14, 2021

8 Books I Bought Because of the Cover

I’m not one for impulse buys. I don’t just find a pretty book off the bookstore shelf, snatch it up, and bring it home. Experience has taught me that doesn’t usually end well.

But there have been times when I’ve been browsing the bookstore, the library, or my Goodreads feed, found a pretty cover, and read the blurb as a result. Then, I’ll check it out at the library. Sometimes the library doesn’t have it. Indie books, for example, are hard to come by. But for most books, two out of three times, the library has it. Then, if I really enjoy the story, I’ll buy the book.

Here are just a few pretty books that made their way to my shelves because the cover caught my eye. Books are organized by the authors’ last names.

1)     Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman

You know how there isn’t a starfish on the cover except for the word itself? Yeah, that intrigued me, and I wanted to figure out why. Not to mention that font, the purple, galaxy-like backdrop, and the sketch of a jellyfish!

I ended up reading the book at my library, then bought the book a couple years later when I had access to an English bookstore again. I don’t remember the plot very well anymore, so it’s probably time for a reread.

2)     Fawkes by Nadine Brandes

“Take a breath, Thomas. There has always been fear. There will always be fear. It’s up to us to stand tall, even when the fear demands we bow to it.”

I’d seen Brandes’ books on Goodreads before but was never interested in them until Fawkes came out. I particularly enjoy stories that feature masks that hide identities (not necessarily ones that cover one’s mouth), even though masquerade balls are always a bad idea for characters. It’s like they’re asking for trouble! Even though there are no masquerades in this story, the plot is even better than the cover.

I listened to the audiobook from my library first, and then a dear friend bought me the book (thanks again, Faith!). But it totally counts for this list.

3)     A Conspiracy of Stars by Olivia A. Cole

Look at that pretty little plant on the cover! It’s a sci-fi book, so it left me wondering if it was a flower or just some sort of spore. That and the backdrop is black, so it really stands out.

I read the book at my library first, and while the story wasn’t so much about plants as it was about nature and animals, it was really fascinating. So much so, I ordered the book online rather than wait to find an English bookstore.

4)     The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

“I hope you will find the cracks in the world and wedge them wider, so the light of other suns shines through; I hope you will keep the world unruly, messy, full of strange magics; I hope you will run through every open Door and tell stories when you return.”

Look at all those different fonts! Is the cover busy? Yes. Is it pretty? You bet. Did I enjoy the book even more? Absolutely! The cover actually reflects how there’s a lot going on in the book and all the different worlds featured within, and I enjoyed every page.

I read this one at my local library than bought it at the bookstore within the next week.

5)     All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

I bought this one on a whim when I was visiting London with a friend. It had been on my list for a bit, and the cover looked intriguing. You know, light, fluffy. Yeah, no, the book isn’t fluffy at all. It ripped my heart out. Thanks a lot. It’s one of those sad contemporary ones, but it’s still so, so good.

When the Netflix adaptation came out, I forced my family to watch it with me. They cried.

6)     The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X. R. Pan

“Once upon a time we were the standard colors of a rainbow, cheery and certain of ourselves. At some point, we all began to stumble into the in-betweens, the murky colors made dark and complicated by resentment and quiet anger.  At some point, my mother slid so off track she sank into hues of gray, a world drawn only in shadows.”

The colors on the cover are both striking and beautiful, quite like the story itself. I also like the way the text bends with the shape of the bird. That and the story itself is enchanting yet heartbreaking. I read it at the library, then bought the book. Now it’s probably time for a reread.

7)     Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

“I’m not a kid. I'M A SHARK!”

I first saw this one at my library and picked it up on a whim. The story is just as fun as the art. It follows some of my favorite tropes and one of my favorite themes, “What makes a monster or a villain?”

Of course, I bought the book as soon as I could, and now it’s one of my go-to books when I want something particularly fun.

8)     The Beast Player by Nahoko Uehashi

“A good teacher is not one who never doubts, but rather one who strives to keep on learning despite the doubts in her mind.”

Look at that cover! Isn’t it pretty?! The font is classical fantasy, the colors are pleasing, and I particularly like the way the Royal Beast portrayed on the cover includes natural elements, adding to their mysterious nature. And let’s not forget Elin standing there with her harp.

To be more accurate, I spotted its sequel The Beast Warrior first. The booksellers had the cover turned to face browsers like myself, and long story short, the method worked. I’m waiting until The Beast Warrior comes out in paperback before I get my copy. It should be out by now! *stares longingly at bookshelf*


There you have it! Just a few books I’d recommend having read them and admired their covers.


Let’s chat! What are some books with pretty covers that you enjoy? Do you impulse buy books? Why/why not?




Similar posts: 7 More of my Go-To Authors; Don’t Judge a Book by Its Author, or Should You?; and 5 Books with Surprising Plot Twists

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Poem: Circuit Board Quilt

Talking about one’s thought process is always interesting. Some people process ideas by talking through them, others by quiet contemplation. Sometimes I’m a little bit of both. I’ll talk through a plot point when I’m stuck, but more often, I’ll mull it over to myself.

People often refer to me as a quiet person. I remember back in my undergrad, during my senior year, I gave a presentation to a class, and afterward my professor told me that was the most she had heard me speak during my entire time at college. Oh yeah, she was also my advisor. It surprised me because I saw my thoughts as being incredibly loud and had forgotten that I’m the only one who processes them.

I didn’t really discuss things in class, until I went on to study my masters. Now I’m a teacher, and I have quiet students who don’t want to break out of their shell. Here’s to the quiet thinkers.


Circuit Board Quilt



i can’t get it to stop

these pulses that go on

and on like a circuit board

that’s never switched off


how do all the wires work?

amazing that somebody came up with them

and could store ideas on something so small,

the accumulation of technology

built up over time



that reminds me i need to remember to make a lesson plan

and maybe eat lunch before 3pm

for a change


change—it’s easier to do the math in my head

when i’m thinking of money,

but honestly i miss european currency

where it wasn’t all quarters

and they actually had a twenty-cent piece,

and another coin for a pound or two euro


or maybe my mind

is more like a quilt

with threads intertwined

one on top of another

                        on top of another

until I can’t see the pattern

but it’s as if everything is connected

it’s been a while since i made my first and only quilt

maybe i should pick up sewing again


i’ve heard it said

that a man’s mind holds compartments,

boxes if you will,

one of which contains nothing—

the nothing box—

where they simply exist

a man’s mind, who am I kidding?

my sister says she has one, a nothing box


but in my mind,

where would all the energy go?


i’ve learned to deal

with long stretches of no activity

boredom some might call it—

i’d be lying if I didn’t agree—

but i’ve found a way to dream up stories

while sorting shelves,

listening to music and humming along,

all the while ready to shuffle the cards

mid-song to have a conversation instead


i can pick up where i left off


halfway through a stich

or maybe i’ll use my stitch remover—humility tool—

and start something altogether new




Let’s chat! What did you think of the poem? What’s your thought process like?

Similar posts: Do Not Dissect This Poem, Writing a Poem, and Thoughts of Place