Don’t judge a book by its cover

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How many times have you heard that phrase from your teachers, parents, librarians, babysitters, and after-school program administrators when you were younger – and maybe even still today? We’ve heard it quite a bit in our lives and we’re sure you have, too.

We’re all guilty of it. Whether the cover art is just unappealing or the title of the book sounds strange, there have been times where we overlook books based on silly things instead of picking them up and giving them a chance.

Rotary Cutting Revolution by Anita Grossman Solomon

It happens in our shop. Nobody on our staff had ever actually picked up a copy of Rotary Cutting Revolution by Anita Grossman Solomon before last week. It’s not that it looked unappealing; the cover art is actually quite nice. The problem lies in its name. We all looked at it and said “Rotary cutting? Well, I know how to do that! I’ve been doing that for years and years!”

We have all been rotary cutting for many years, but we left out the revolution part of the title. While I was putting together the class schedule last week, I was doing some research for an Arrowhead block that Eleanor had been shown and we all thought was pretty slick. She showed us a really cool way to make this block with virtually no waste and it was FAST! While looking for a photo and information about this block, I discovered blogs and websites talking about Anita’s book. The title sounded familiar, so I went to pull it from the shelf, looked through it and lo and behold, there were the instructions for the Arrowhead block Eleanor had been shown with no mention of the book. The rest of the book was full of really neat information as well, so I showed it to Eleanor and she said, “I never thought to look through this book because it had ‘rotary cutting’ in the title.”

The book trickled through the rest of the staff and we all agreed that it’s a pretty nifty book, full of good information for quick ways to make blocks that look complicated. We liked what we saw so much that we added a second class to our roster in addition to the Arrowhead block.

Just this morning, Barb and I were sitting down with our Brewer representative, looking at new books to buy for the shop. We spent at least an hour flipping through the pages, looking at patterns and photos of quilts and techniques to find the right books for us. At times, I wanted to skip over books simply because they looked like they wouldn’t fit with our aesthetic. Had I done this, I would have passed up a book that we actually ended up ordering simply because the coloring in the photo on the cover of the book is a bit darker and it made the fabrics look more primitive. Primitive fabrics aren’t bad, but we don’t carry primitives, so the book would be out-of-place here.

The point we’re trying to make is that sometimes it’s fun to pick up a book you might not normally pick up, just to see if there are any hidden treasures inside. Perhaps the title is misleading or you would have chosen a different photo for the cover, but you never know what you’re missing out on.

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