Ok. Beware. I’m about to talk about sex.
Sex is used in our culture to sell things, whether that be food or alcohol or clothing or music or vacation spots or glasses or—you get the idea.
Or books! Hence, erotica.
I don’t read erotica for a few reasons:
- One, I don’t need dirty or sexual images in my head, I’m 18 and not married, and my heart is deceitful and wicked and needs all the help it can get, therefore I should keep things that cause me to sin away from it.
- Two, although I do believe in freedom of the press and am an advocate for anti-censorship and anti-book banning, I personally don’t think it’s appropriate. At least for me.
- Three, I don’t think it makes the story any better. I believe that a great book can be ruined by the wrong content. I’ve blogged about this before.
Many times while reading a book, I come across a scene that I didn’t expect to be in there. This happened a lot when I first started reviewing books. I had no idea people would ever write out an explicit sex scene and publish it. I mean, who would publish a sex scene? seriously? I was completely shocked, a little disappointed, and very embarrassed (Hey, I was a sheltered homeschooler.). I wished I had known that contemporary books included things like that so that I could have been more careful about what I accepted for review. This is exactly why I always mention sexual content in my reviews. Now I’m more careful, and in the few times I get tricked I can “see it coming” so to speak, and I can skip pages and start reading where the dialogue starts again.
I was told ever since “the talk” that sex is something special, spiritual, and holy that is shared between husband and wife—and I firmly believe that that is exactly what it should be. God created it for a reason, and for husband and wife only. Sadly, in our world today sex is very casual and many people don’t hold to those standards. You find it in many contemporary novels, adult and young adult both.
But I’m not going to preach at you. (today.)
So how ‘bout book covers? Sometimes the cover is sexier than the book itself. (I found this to be true in One Scream Away.)
And sometimes I expect a book to be clean and it’s not (My Unfair Lady).
Can you really judge a book by it’s cover? Sure. But your judgment may not be accurate.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with appealing covers, covers that catch your interest or make you think “ooh, what’s that about…” . I just don’t think that overly sexy covers, covers with near naked men (or women!) are the best ones to use.
In fact, lately I’d requested a few books that sounded great based on the summary, but I hadn’t been able to find a cover yet because it was so new. And when they came in…Let’s just say I winced and turned my eyes away. How was I supposed to read something like that? I hoped it wouldn’t be too bad.
Let me give you an example of some covers I’ve seen lately.
These covers, in my opinion, have crossed the line between appealing and ridiculously-photoshopped: (and really, what’s with the whole no faces thing?) These are not even appealing they’re so overdone. And I’m putting the least absurd ones up here for you. Some were so offensive I didn’t dare click on them out of fear of the close-up.
These on the other hand, are great (hot!) but not offensive or ridiculous.
Ok so Lindsay Sans book there, that bite is a little silly. But the only thing “undressed” about him is his tie. And that last one in the corner is a little absurd too. I mean, how many men do you know who have arms like that? But at least he’s not half naked.
You get my point, right? I mean, the ones up top look just silly. They’re a turn off. How do you expect me to read the book if you’ve just turned me away from it due to stupid absurd mega-muscled-men (alliteration! whoot!)?
Again: Not that I would read them anyway. In fact I probably wouldn’t read the ones on the second list (except the YA one, and maybe Lindsay Sans because I’ve read her before) simply because I like more story to my books than just romance. But I’d be more likely to pick them up.
What do you think? Would you be more likely to read a book with an appealing cover (like the ones on the second list) or an “overdone” one like the first one? (overdone is my opinion, and I won’t judge you I promise.) Where do you stand in the discussion? do you think there’s nothing wrong with using sex to sell anything, books included? or are you feeling tempted to move to Saudi Arabia? (hopefully nobody is that desperate.)
Just gimme your thoughts.