"Don't judge a book by its cover"

Yesterday, I was thinking about this infamous saying: "Don't judge a book by its cover".

I've always wondered about the origin of those words; did the person who coined that phrase thought of an actual book when they came up with it, or were they thinking of a person? Or maybe a real estate of some sort? Or...a wrapped present someone gave them for their birthday? I wonder.

I was initially thinking of that phrase in its literal sense: I don't think I've ever judged a bookan actual book, with pages to read in between its front cover and back coverby its cover, but is it possible I've never done so because I've been taught this phrase early on in my life? Maybe, maybe. But I'll tell you one thing I always do though: I judge a book not by its cover, but by the blurb on the back cover.

I cannot possibly be the first person to do that, or even the first person to say that out loud, but I immediately wrote that as part of my Instagram profile (which you can check out by clicking here!) because I was consumed by the very topic.

The latest book I read was The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling. When I first picked up the book, I turned it around and read the blurb at the back, of course, and decided the short summary sounded a tad too dry for me. If it weren't for J.K. Rowling (seriously, I LOVE Harry Potter) I wouldn't have brought the book to the cash till. I mean, a story about a town council, in "the little town of Pagford"? Sounds yawn-inducing, am I right?

But just like how you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, it's not the best idea to judge it by the blurb either, because I really enjoyed The Casual Vacancy. The first couple of chapters almost made me want to give up but then things got really, really interesting. I think I learned a lot from the book (mostly about how gossiping is super unattractive and must be avoided at all costs).

So, see, I do judge a book by the back cover, but at the same time I also know that it's not practical, and it doesn't guarantee a great result every time. Imagine missing a great job done by J.K. Rowling!

After a while, I started to think about that phrase "Don't judge a book by its cover" metaphorically: do I judge a person by their "cover"? I think sometimes I do, unintentionally, like when I'm walking in a mall and see a girl wearing a pair of panty hose as pants. (Never going to let this one go, am I? I've grown up a lot and taken loads of chill pills since 2013, though.) But being in my late 20's, I've made it a practice not to prejudge a person by their appearance alone. I wouldn't like it if someone else does that to me, after all, and I'm sure that many of you all don't, either. 

But what about judging a person by their "blurb", then? When you meet someone, get introduced to each other and have a little chat, don't you tend to already form some sort of judgement by what they say and how they say it? That's how I came to apply my Instagram profile description metaphorically to people in general. Isn't that how you decide if a person is suited to be your BFF? Isn't that how you decide if that guy/girl is worth your time for a second date? All by carefully studying the "short summary"?

But of course, the points of my post are:
  • You shouldn't judge anything by its outward appearance, be it a book or a person
  • Judging a person's "blurb" might be better and might help you more in your daily social life as well as love life
  • Judging a book's back cover's blurb helps you a little bit, but if the author is known to be awesome, maybe ignore the blurb
  • The only way to have a win-win situation is to: (1) read the book without judging either front or back cover and decide if you want to finish the book after reading a few chapters, and (2) make the effort to get to know the "inside" of that person, the "real-me" of them, regardless of the way they look/dress and disregarding the little things they might have said out of nervousness the first few times you met.
Really, I even think that you can even apply the original phrase and my edited one in your shopping sprees: if a cute sweater appears as if it won't fit you, and after studying it for a few more second you think it looks like it has a scratchy underlining, you would just never know if it is the sweater if you don't try it on, would you?

Right, the scenario above might be a bit of an overstretch, but still.

Something to think about, I suppose... But what's your say on this subject?

Thank you so much for reading. I hope you're all having a lovely day! xo


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Hi, I'm Liyana

I'm a style & lifestyle blogger based in sunny (and ever humid) Malaysia. On The Good Weekender, you can find typed journals of my evolving modest personal style, travel adventures, skincare/beauty updates, home decor things, and stories of other bits and pieces of my everyday life. I hope you'll enjoy flipping through these pages of my virtual book!