Having spent what seems like years (but it can't be) reading "Weekly Geeks" posts on various blogs I subscribe to, I thought I would give it a go, and so subscribed to the Weekly Geeks blog. Even so, I seem to have missed this (last) week's assignment, which is about "shiny book syndrome". [No 24, 2010.]
SBS, writes Tara SG, is "when a person only wants to read their newest book and leave piles of poor unread books on their shelves to collect dust.What can you do to alleviate the symptoms?" Her solution is a mixture of spreadsheet and undertaking specific reading challenges.
Mine? Well, I have to confess I don't suffer from the syndrome exactly. Although I do have several hundred books on my shelves to read (literally), I'm just as happy to read a blank-covered proof copy, a second-hand mass-market paperback, or (shuddering slightly) one with a glossy bloody hand on the cover. To me, I read the book independently of looking at it, and relatively independently of when I obtained it - though the books I acquire as a result of reading blog reviews do tend to have shorter lead-in times.
I have a school exercise book in which I write down each book as I've read it, with a code M, F, D, T, which stands for male, female, debut, translated. I like to even up these categories over a year or so, so each quarter I add up the numbers (writing a blog post about it) and if there are too many in one of the four categories I will prioritise some from the other categories to read next. (I have plenty of options in all four!)
Sometimes I am given books, either by Karen of Euro Crime to review for her website, or by publishers. I try to prioritise those according to their publication dates (if I have actually asked for the book from the publisher, if I haven't it is in the same queue as the others).
Recently, I have read Gunshot Road by Adrian Hyland, a proof with a blank, monotone cover. I loved it, and even though I would love to have read the actual UK edition with the beautiful blue cover, I would not (could not) have enjoyed the contents any more than I did. When I read The Wings of the Sphinx by Andrea Camilleri, I was a bit disappointed to be reading the US edition instead of the UK edition as I love the Picador covers of this series. But again, it made no difference to my enjoyment of the book itself. And by one of those strange coincidences, I passed on the US edition after I had read it, and a week or two later the publisher kindly sent me the UK edition directly! I'm very lucky.
So, in conclusion, I am conscious of the cover of a book and I do very much like to read a book that has a cover I like, even if the appearance has no effect on when I choose to read the title, or how much I enjoy what lies between the covers.
(This is a "weekly and a half geek" post, I reckon.)