I remember my Grandmother saying "Never judge a book by it's cover!"
Meaning lots of other things, besides books, or course.
Crusty old men, spring to mind, who called to visit, wearing waistcoats, & slightly grubby clothes,
with a food collection in the beard! -maybe snacks for later, we giggled, as children Their 'covers' hid formiddably learned minds, perhaps gone a little absent with aging.
Which was, of course, no excuse for disrespect.
Thin women, wearing fox furs with the pitiful little dangly paws, tail & head. I can still remember the horror I felt when I first encountered that little item of clothing! The heavily applied makeup- powdery layers, the impossibly shrieking red on the lips, with bright pink rouged patches on the cheeks. The raddle of the sheep shed sprang to mind!
She would forever be thought of, in my mind, as a "raddled old hag", which was very disrespectful, & wrong, since she was really quite nice, & did seem genuinely fond of my Grandmother.
As I grew up, I realised that some of the best books I ever read, have very plain, uninspiring, covers. As some of the best people I ever met, have had plain covers, perhaps, but what treasures lay awaiting, inside the covers!
I grew up in a time before lurid book covers became the norm. The full art & power of the illustration had not yet gained market control. I am sure my Grandmother would squirm in her gentle way at the sight of near naked bodies, writhing in 'suggestive' poses. Splatterings of blood pouring over the covers. Grotesquely drawn faces, enough to drive any self respecting person to nightmares.
I do think often, how the exposure to so much violence must have a desensitising effect on our children.
As I am sure, the covers on books help to sell the book, regardless of the content or measure of the written words, within the covers.
Here is a book with a very plain cover. My Mother gave it to me, when I first married. It is the Collins Red Recipe Book. It has suffered through 43 years of use, & abuse.
As you can see, it has been splattered & battered- almost literally battered, when Gom, as young husband, decided to use it to make cakes!
The spine is broken, & pages are apt to fall out. There are loose pieces of paper with hurriedly written recipes, from friends or a book or magazine- often never tried, but kept all the same. The information for weights, measures & a little first aid, have suffered the stains of time.
And here is Grandma, reading to little O. Grandma is a teacher, so he is getting a great head start!!
I thank my Cousin for sharing these pics with me. I never tire of seeing family photos.