September 26, 2006

Photo Distraction

I just finished reading a book titled The Drowning People by Richard Mason and had a strange time of it. I enjoyed the author's writing style. He's adept with the twist of a phrase and works in little things that make the reader anticipate what's coming without giving it away. The settings are rich, the characters full of body and soul, the storyline nicely paced.

But there was a problem: the dust jacket. Specifically the full length black and white photograph of the author on the back.

It distracted me.

It distracted me because I could not reconcile the prose within with the youthful visage in the photo. The author is a fine young specimen of the male form. A lock of shaggy dark hair falls across his forehead, his face clean-shaven, his slender body slouched with thumbtips in pockets, the tail of his open-collared white button-down shirt untucked over his dark pants.

I can easily imagine him modeling boxer briefs for Calvin Klein.
But I cannot imagine that book coming out of his brain.

I took the dust jacket off and hid it on the bookshelf until I was done. Problem solved.



Middle Girl said...

I often find the photos of the authors distracting, even unsettling for any number of reasons.

I've also had run-ins with co-workers and strangers re: what I was reading. Taking of the dust jacket s.o.p for me, these days.

Teresa said...

Maybe it was really written by this guy, who used the other guy's photo because he's a wanted man:

SassyFemme said...

Book jackets in general distract me. I always take them off until I'm done reading the book.

Deb said...

Why do they even make book jackets? It is very distracting. I have to agree.

Anonymous said...

Dust jackets are an art form.

That said, I remove them before ever cracking the spine of a hardback. They drive me nuts.

Your story reminds me of the time I had to quit listening to a certain radio show after seeing host's face with my own two eyes. Ruined EVERYTHING.

tiff said...

He's only 28. His first novel won all kinds of prizes. He's cute.

I hate him.