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February 2016 Paperback Best Sellers- A Review

February 14, 2016
One of the easiest jobs in the publishing industry might be book cover designer for Jojo Moyes.

One of the easiest jobs in the publishing industry might be book cover designer for Jojo Moyes.

The best seller list for paperbacks is often more interesting than the hardcover fiction list because the paperback novels seem to change more frequently.  Hardcover lists are dominated by new books that have been heavily promoted by publishing companies.  The current paperback list is a combination of last year’s best sellers and older books that have been discovered or are being turned into movies.

I like paperbacks because they’re cheaper, and they are lighter and easier to carry around in public.  Even though I like paperbacks, I’m still picky about what I read, so I have to make split-second decisions based on just a little bit of information about each book.

Below are the best selling paperback novels so far in February, 2016:

I hope this didn't take long to design.

I think I could have designed a cover like this.

This shouldn't have taken too long either.

I hope making covers like this is more difficult than it looks.

1. Me Before You by JoJo Moyes- I’ve never read a Jojo Moyes book, but all the covers look alike, with pretty much the same letter fonts and solid backgrounds.  That must be a great job, being the cover artist/designer for Jojo Moyes.  Jojo Moyes writes a book, and all you do is choose a color for the font and a color for the background, and then you go home and goof off until Moyes writes another book.

2. The Revenant by Michael Punke.-  Maybe I’d read this book, but the movie stars Leonardo DiCaprio, and I don’t want to picture his face while I’m reading the book.  I have nothing against Leo DiCaprio, except that I think that he’s been miscast in almost every movie he’s been in, and so he’s probably been miscast in this role, and I don’t want to see a miscast actor’s face while I’m reading a book.

3. The Choice by Nicholas Sparks- Ugh, another Nicholas Sparks book turned into a movie.   I really hope my wife doesn’t want to see it.

4. The Martian– by Andy Weir-  Maybe I’d see Matt Damon’s face when I’m reading this, but at least he hasn’t been miscast as often as Leo DiCaprio.  Still, I like to read books made into movies before they’ve actually been made into the movies.  That way I can picture the characters my own way before the movie ruins everything.

5. Brooklyn by Colm Toibin- I’ve never been to Brooklyn, and I don’t have any desire to go (no offense, Brooklyn, but there are a bunch of other places I want to see first), so I might read this book just to make up for not going.  Maybe I’ll see the movie instead.

6. My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante- This is Book One in a series that is now up to four books, which means I’ll probably never read it because I don’t read book series anymore.  If a story can’t be told in three books, I usually don’t read it.  Plus, I already have a brilliant friend.  My brilliant friend is probably more brilliant that Elena Ferrante’s brilliant friend, but I don’t know for sure, so maybe I should read this book to find out.

7. A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman- When I first saw this book, I thought the title had a typo.  If a title makes you look twice, it’s a good title.

8. The Alchemist by Paul Coelho- My wife bought this book a few months ago, but she hasn’t read it yet.  I keep telling her to download free samples instead of buying new books, but she still impulse buys books.  Maybe The Alchemist is good, but I won’t read it until my wife does.  Then again, maybe I should read it for her just to make sure we get our money’s worth.

9. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara- Here’s a novel that’s won (or almost won) a bunch of awards and lots and lots of praise.  Despite it’s title, it’s not so little.  I’m sure that was done on purpose.  I probably don’t read enough award-winning novels, but this one sounds kind of intense, so I’ll have to be in a certain mood to read it, and I’m hardly ever in that certain mood.

10. Room by Emma Donoghue- I like one-syllable book titles.  You don’t see one-syllable book titles very often.  I think the publishing world needs more books with one-syllable titles.  I read Room a couple years ago, but not because it had a one-syllable title.  If you haven’t read it but are interested, you’ll probably know within the first few pages if you’ll enjoy it or not.


Out of all the above books, the one I’m most likely to read is The Martian.  I like science fiction, and I’m pretty sure I can visualize the main character without picturing Matt Damon.  I’ll just make sure to buy an older copy that doesn’t have Matt Damon’s face on the cover.


What do you think?  Which book on this list are you most likely to read?  What books have been ruined for you by miscasting of characters?    Should I read The Alchemist, or should I wait until my wife reads it?  Is designing a Jojo Moyes book cover more difficult than I think it is?


Maybe I shouldn’t complain about another author’s book covers when mine aren’t so great either.

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  1. Read the Alchemist. It’s good and it’s short. You’ll be done in no time.

  2. Not The Revenant, that’s for sure. The movie went on and on and on…

  3. Penelope Baldwin permalink

    It’s nice to see someone else use the word, “ugh” in the same sentence as Nicholas Sparks. I’ve never been able to finish one of his books, and I’m not sure how he’s had so many made into movies.

    • I probably wouldn’t have resorted to the “ugh” if those Nicholas Sparks movies hadn’t been forced on me. I use “ugh” only as a last resort.

  4. Ah, this post is just spot on and lovely – thank you! How rude when an actor’s looks have the cheek to creep in at that very moment while I’m enjoying the author’s description of a character. Regardless of the mis-or-not-miscasting of the actor I want to create my own images in my mind – that’s part of why I read, duh! Depending on the book, sometimes my own visual is strong enough to boot the actor-visual out. Sometimes not.

    As for covers…I’m sorry but I do judge a book by its cover and I just can’t pick up a book of JoJo Moyes because it just doesn’t appeal – somehow, it looks too full and busy in some (weird because it isn’t really). And…I always avoid the movie tie-in editions.

    I really struggled to overcome the faces of Ben Affleck and Rebecca Hall in Chuck Hogan’s The Town (Prince of Thieves).

    • “As for covers…I’m sorry but I do judge a book by its cover…”-

      Ha ha! We’re opposites in that regard. I usually ignore the cover when I choose a book. I only noticed Moyes’s book covers because they were alike and I got confused trying to match the right books with the right covers.

  5. I confess to feeling like I am living under a time crunch so I will never read any of the above books and I didn’t read last year’s or the year before. The only NEW books I read are cosies because they are easy and fast and it is like eating popcorn. The rest are books written anywhere from 1920-1975, biographies, books of letters, sci fi series stuff that is in my library or I order from Abebooks the ones they prompt me to buy on impulse…eg I am reading the biographies of Philip Larkin and Stevie Smith so I currently have on order two more Stevie Smith books (one of her poetry) and Letters and Journals of Katherine Mansfield who is mentioned in both books I am reading. That is how my library grows…reading one book and meeting someone interesting and ordering their book. Oooh I fibbed, I do read new books in series that I have collected for twenty years but somehow since the characters are twenty years old it is like reading old books. I have never except by accident read any best sellers. In fact, I think if a best seller was read it was before it hit the list. I have some inborn prejudice against any book that lands on any best seller list. Does that make me some kind of snob, not wanting to be part of the herd? Trying to remember some I did read…In Cold Blood (I read that because of the movie), Valley of the Dolls (I think I read that because it was in the news or because of the movie) Chicken/egg. I generally read a book before seeing the movie..books are my passion…movies are not. Speaking of books before movies. I read Tanya Huff’s novels BloodTies before the TV series, the Dresden books before the tv series and in both cases were disappointed in the tv adaptation. The movie seldom lives up to my vision from the books. I really understand not wanting to read a novel after someone else has chosen a vision of the characters.

    • “I confess to feeling like I am living under a time crunch so I will never read any of the above books…”-

      I understand. It’s that time crunch that makes us so selective. If I had more time, I could probably come up with better reasons to read or not read certain books. Plus, I might read more books too!

  6. Drunk Off Rhetoric permalink

    I’ve been kept away from reading any Jojo Moyes books (even though I’ve been told infinite times how great they are) because it looks like they literally make no effort whatsoever to come up with a creative cover. All of her books look alike, so I guess I feel like all of the stories are related/are the same. I bought ‘Me Before You’ a while ago but still haven’t brought myself to read it.
    I haven’t seen The Revenant yet but I can’t see how Leonardo Dicaprio could be miscast. But, I love all of his movies so I’m biased beyond belief. Matt Damon in The Martian though… I read the book and watched the film, and I still can’t see how Matt Damon was considered a good choice for the role.

  7. Leo’s best acting was in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and The Basketball Diaries. Ever since then, he’s underwhelmed, in my opinion. Maybe you’re onto something there with the miscasting. But also he’s gone Scorcese crazy lately, and Scorcese is a most overrated director. Miscast, or mismatched, or maybe both.

  8. I must leap to Leo’s defence here – The Revenant is the most extraordinary piece of film-making. Yes, it could certainly do with a good 20 minutes trimming from its run time, but in terms of spectacle, landscape, cinematography, heart-stopping scenes it can’t be beaten. One for the big screen, though. And if you’ve never seen a man attacked by a bear onscreen or off, it’s worth watching just for that – extraordinary.
    The Martian is the book I’m most likely to read from your list, as I bought it for my husband a short while back and it’s waiting on the shelf for me right now. Got a ton of other books to read first, though 🙂

    • “And if you’ve never seen a man attacked by a bear onscreen or off, it’s worth watching just for that – extraordinary.”-

      I saw a guy at Yellowstone National Park almost get attacked by a bear. It was the guy’s fault. He got off the road to take a picture of some bear cubs. I was videoing the guy just in case the bear mauled him, but the “photographer” backed away before the bear could attack him.

      Just so you know, my wife was on her phone alerting the rangers that this guy was breaking park rules and putting his life in danger just for a cute picture. Two of us calling rangers seemed redundant, so I thought I might as well get a video just in case, but it didn’t happen, thankfully.

      • Lord – I’ll stick to a CGI version of that! How naive and idiotic do you have to be to behave like that? The scariest wild animal we have in the UK (apart from young male drunks on a Saturday night in any city centre in the UK!) are wild boar which have recently been re introduced. Even so, I’d still know to steer clear of a bear with its young nearby. A lucky man to still be in one piece.

  9. I loved the Martian movie and book. I wrote a post about why Space, the Stars and the Martian mean a lot to me. (My Dad was a rocket scientist and I used a NASA Mars Rover article from the 70’s, found in Dad’s stuff.)

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