Judging books by their covers

In which I speculate about the subject matter of books I have not read using only their cover art as the basis for said speculations.

Gentlemen of the Road by Michael Chabon

Two men get lost in the Palouse in summertime. One of these men is a Seattle Seahawks linebacker and the other is a retired circus clown. Just when they think they are going to die, lost and dehydrated among the wheat, they are rescued by a herd of domesticated, free-range elephants who recognize the clown from his circus days. The linebacker, clown, and elephants start a new life together in Northern Idaho where they purchase a Del Taco franchise.

 

Dubliners by James Joyce

A series of stories about people who live in the vibrant and prosperous city of Dublin. Some of these people wear hats. Others ride in trolley cars. Surely, these are stories that will make readers pine for the good old days and for simpler times.

 

The Age of Grief by Jane Smiley

One morning, a negligent housewife forgets to clean the Cheerios and crayons off her kitchen table and, as a result, her entire family die horrifying Cheerio and crayon related deaths. It’s pretty sad.

 

Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth

Some guy named Portnoy visits a psychiatrist three times a week to complain about how mad he is that his parents named him Portnoy. The psychiatrist is, coincidentally, also named Portnoy. However, this detail has little bearing on the plot.

The Keep by Jennifer Egan

In this young adult thriller/romance, vampires, zombies, and also maybe those weird snake things from Tremors all live together in an abandoned castle in the desert. At first they get along pretty well and have big parties and it’s actually a lot like MTV’s The Real World: Las Vegas. But then the snake things eat everyone.

 

Mao II by Don DeLillo

The homicidal clone of Mao Zedong roams the Earth seeking revenge on those he feels have wronged him, including, but not limited to: 1) Capitalists 2) Andy Warhol 3) Don DeLillo (yeah, the story’s weirdly meta like that).

 

The Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thompson

Okay, I used to be a journalist and you know what I absolutely never ever did? Wrote an article on a beach while sipping rum and wearing short-shorts. In fact, I don’t think any journalist has ever written an article on a beach while sipping rum and wearing short-shorts. This cover is a sack of lies and I therefore assume the story within must be as well.

 

For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway

Two friends vacation together in the mountains. They hunt, fish, and greatly enjoy the view of a nearby bridge, which is considered a marvel of modern engineering. They have a pleasant time and nothing bad happens to the men or the bridge or anyone else in the region where they are vacationing.

6 Comments

  • Fitz says:

    Ha! Leyna, this is awesome. I especially like the Gentleman of the Road description. I tend to only pick up books with interesting covers when I’m browsing bookstores. It’d be interesting to see the correlation between how compelling a book cover is and how compelling the book turns out to be. Hmmmm…

  • Jason Sommer jason says:

    brilliant as ever, friend.

    i was totally excited to read the keep, even with all that YA/genre stuff thrown in. but the snakes, man – can’t handle the snakes.

    and i’ve read mao ii – you’re not really that far off.

  • Cathie Smathie says:

    “Surely, these are stories that will make readers pine for the good old days”
    “They have a pleasant time and nothing bad happens to the men or the bridge or anyone else..”
    = laughing out loud in the cubicles.
    Friggin Leyna Krow.

  • Marcus says:

    “The linebacker, clown, and elephants start a new life together in Northern Idaho where they purchase a Del Taco franchise.”

    Please write this. I will publish it.

  • Danielle says:

    I agree with Marcus! I’m already under your spell.

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