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Updated: Apr 11, 2022

The Clothing of Books by Jhumpa Lahiri

When we say, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, do we mean it? Do we ourselves practice what we preach? Most of the times the answer would be – NO (If at all it is an honest one). We do judge a book by its cover, we do make judgements of the contents of the book only after having a slight glance at the cover. Even I am guilty of not even touching a book if the cover was not appealing enough to me and leave it undisturbed on the bookshelf. The book “The Clothing of Books” by Jhumpa Lahiri throws light on this very dark side of topic which we seldom discuss but know that somewhere we are one of them who shamelessly participate in this cruel act of judgement.

Being an author herself, Lahiri too has a lot to say about covers of the books as she is a huge part of the business. She too has ideas about the covers and is sometimes disgusted by them too. The way she has portrayed her thoughts on this not-so-often discussed idea, is spell bounding. This book will totally change your perception over the clothing of books and who knows you might never want to see them again. This book may also open horizons for you where you might want to read the book first and then judge accordingly instead of just looking at the covers and making perceptions about it.

I would like to quote something from the book that really touched me.

Baker has said the books “comes to stand for various episodes in our lives, for certain idealism, follies of belief, moments of love. Along the way they accumulate our marks, our stains, our innocent abuses – they come to wear our experience of them on their covers and bindings like wrinkles on our skin.”

Being a reader myself, I could relate to the lines. The silent relationship a reader and her/his books have and which rarely people understand. How thoughtfully written.

Having said that, the discussion doesn’t mean that you will start hating the covers of the book, but it would change your perceptions with regards to the way you look at the covers. This book indeed calls for attention of all the readers out there. Being a short read, this book can be binged in one sitting. So, what are you waiting for? Go grab a copy for yourself and experience a plethora of emotional bond you have with your books.

Happy Reading!

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