A few days ago, I was in a book store looking for a book. Nothing specific, just a nice work of fiction to read as I fall asleep at night. As I made my way through the fiction section at my local bookseller I became conscious of my book choosing behavior.
First I go to the shelves of favorite authors, Joyce Carol Oates is one, Edgewidge Danticat is another. I stay open to anything appealing I may stumble across along the way. Next I peruse the tables and the endcaps. I end up wandering around with an armfull of books and sit down to look through them all in order to whittle it down to the one.
In the end a few factors ultimately help me make a decision: I like to support women authors, so I look at that, I also think carefully about the story at hand and the price matters too. But what I really, truly tend to depend on is cover art. seriously. I know it goes against the classic saying, but I just can't help it. There are some pretty amazing & appealing covers out there.
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen is a shining example. This also happens to be the book I purchased and am currently reading. The cover art is quite lovely and completely caught my eye. The book itself is a fantastic work of fiction and came highly recommended by a number of friends. But in the end, as I stood at there, trying to pick one of three books to purchase the cover is what sealed the deal.