Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Buying A Book For Its Cover

I have a thoughtful husband. He knows I read novels like pregnant women eat Lay’s potato chips. The other week he picked up The Inn at Angel Island by Thomas Kinkade and Katherine Spencer.

If that first name sounds familiar, that’s because Thomas Kinkade is one of the most recognized artists of our time. I love his work. I have a Kinkade print in my bedroom and a framed Kinkade puzzle in my library/dining room. These days you can buy Thomas Kinkade calendars, shirts, jewelry, wallpaper, and toilet paper. Okay, I made the last one up. Probably.

However, when it comes to books, I prefer a rollercoaster story that flips you upside down, sideways, through a corkscrew, and into a pitch-black tunnel over a piranha pool at 80 mph while you scream your guts out. This confection was ‘It’s A Small World After All’. Since it’s the 11th novel this duo has created, there must be plenty of folks out there who like their books safe and inoffensive.

To quote Seinfeld, there’s nothing wrong with that. If you’re familiar with Kinkade’s work, then safe and serene is what you’d expect. I read it just to marvel over its cheesiness. A woman painting a bathroom screws up and says, “Drat!” Whoa, cover the childrens' ears. When paint splattered outside the lines during my last home improvement job, my neighbors were treated to a hearty “Son of a BLEEP!” But that’s not all. A teenage boy runs away for the day, setting off a massive search party of at least five individuals, but wait! They find him just before bedtime. And, sniff, he was, oh my goodness, suffering from slight dehydration! The horror!

I shouldn’t make fun. Hey, I’m not published. But to a hardcore suspense and thriller reader, this was comic. I wonder what Donald Maass would make of this book? Does it exhibit micro-tension? Yes, in more ways than one. But I have to give them props. Their marketing strategy is brilliant. The cover is beautiful and they get the last laugh, because the book is here and my money is in their pocket.

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