Thursday, June 21, 2012

Embarrassing Book Covers

Have you ever been embarrassed by the cover of a book you were reading? I am not a prude, but I am sometimes too self-conscious about what others think, and I have occasionally felt like hiding or obscuring the cover of a book I have been reading in public. When I took “Marriage: A Duet: Two Novellas,” by Anne Taylor Fleming, off the little pile of books I had brought along on a recent trip, ready to read it in an airport and on a plane, I was reminded that the cover consists of two painted Renaissance-style naked figures with only carefully placed fig leaves adorning them. Very artistic, not at all prurient. And the novel itself is very literary. I had to laugh at myself, but I noticed that I was keeping the book flat (rather than holding it in the air) when I was reading it, and turning it over when I closed and put it down, all in order to avoid displaying the cover. I knew this was silly of me, especially in this world full of far more revealing images; besides, no one else was even looking at me and what I was reading, or would care. It is the curse of self-consciousness, something that I can't seem to completely shake. The book, by the way, is about infidelity. One of the novellas tells the story of male infidelity and the aftermath and longterm consequences on the characters’ marriage. The other novella, about a different couple, tells of female infidelity and its effects on the husband in the story. Both novellas are well written and realistic and very readable, and the characters and their behavior are very believable.

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