When reading a hardcover I have this compulsion: I remove the dust jacket. I’ve never examined why this is, it’s probably a combination of things. It could be wanting to make sure it does not become torn or crumpled or bent, or it could be that I like the feel of the book in my hand—that book texture is really kind of great.
Most books look like my current read “Beautiful Ruins”
Some books under their dust jackets are extraordinary. Yesterday when I removed the jacket of “The Age of Miracles” I was in awe of how glorious it is.
While the book jacket is interesting in its own way, it does not have the same magic as what is underneath. Such a shame to cover up something so vivid and capturing.
Beautiful cover art is something that McSweeney’s excels at. They don’t cover the book up with a dust jacket, and there is something in that approach I find so natural and good. It’s more part of the book than if it was just done on a dust jacket. I’m often tempted to bring McSweeney’s published books into my home library just because they are so stunning—even if I have no desire to read the book.
Next time you pick up a hardcover, take off the dust jacket to see what treasure might be hidden underneath.