Bookish Chat : Nude Covers, Nude Appeal

April 13, 2013 Bookish chat, bookish habits 34

So this post is inspired by Storm on Bookblogbake where she talks about her book hang ups.  I initially thought I didn’t have any really.  But hold on a minute, I do, I do!

My hang up?  I really hate half naked men on book covers.  Hate it.  They make me cringe and want to quickly move on to something more meaningful.   Now I’m a normal girl with some red blood running through these veins but on a cover of a book is no place for naked men (in my opinion).  Other places fine!  Book cover not so fine!

It could be my age, catholic guilt or maybe I’m just a cover snob.  If I see a man with his shirt off on a book, I will look no further.  I expect it to be a light, fluff, boring read that will follow a well known formula.  Girl sees Guy, Girl falls in love with Guy, Girl gets Guy.  End of.  Simple as.  No need to read.  Same story over and over, just different settings and different names.  You could nearly write one of these on word using Find and Replace. 
Now a light and fluffy romance, that’s perfect me as long it’s combined with original content, sprinkled with humour and topped off with engaging, well developed characters.  I really enjoy books with content as soft and fluffy as a marshmallow if that’s what I’m in the mood for.  Like the I Heart Series by Lindsey Kelk, the books are only equalled by playful kittens for cuteness and fun, I heart them. 
Forget the kittens, back to the semi naked men!  Maybe it’s because I live in Ireland and the weather is rarely hot enough for nudity!  When I see well-oiled-naked-on-top-man covers, I immediately think ‘Put your top on, you’ll catch your death”.  And then ‘Don’t tell me you’ve lost all the buttons on your shirt again?’. Quickly followed by ‘And you might want to take a shower too, you’re looking a tad greasy!’.  Think that might be my age showing again though 🙂

Maybe it’s because I think the cover is meant to be cover up for poor quality writing.  Am I meant to be so caught up fantasising about the Lover on the Cover that I miss that what lies between the covers is not quite so hot? 

Or maybe I just a shallow book blogger who reads way too much into book covers.  True Story.  I admit it, I’m shallow but at least I’m honest about it!

Bookish Chat : So what do you think?  Do these covers float your boat?  Have you a book with a cover like this that you loved and I have overlooked.  Let me know, if anyone suggests one they love, I promise I will read it!

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34 Responses to “Bookish Chat : Nude Covers, Nude Appeal”

  1. Diamond Cronen

    Hahaha, u made me LOL and I’m half asleep… That’s sayin something! Oh man, we have similar taste!

    The funniest thing…while I was training at the friends of the library bookstore earlier this week, I had to learn all the different categories of books. We got to romance, and there was harlequin, etc…and the manager was like “une called these books Bodice Rippers.”

    Let me just tell you, I glanced at sweet old dearly departed June’s picture on the wall and BUST out laughing so hard. The manager smiled, and prceeded to tell me WHY these books were called bodice ripper, and what I will henceforth have to call…bodice rippers…and which are simply romance? The difference? Bodice rippers have a half-naked man, and a woman who is “ripping off her bodice” or some such thing. Wrapt in rapture 😉

    Anyways, thought I’d share. It’s safe to say, we don’t like bodice ripper covers.

  2. anaherareads

    Heh, “Lover on the Cover.” I snickered, thank you. As for me, it depends. I’ll generally avoid these because I’m more drawn to covers that have things that appeal to my non-hot-blooded side. Like pictures of nature, or the sea. Either that or nicely-done minimalist graphic covers.

    I like pictures of hot men too, but seeing a sultry model on the cover trying to give me the “Hey lil’ mamma lemme whisper in your ear” look… I wouldn’t pick it up.

  3. astichoquette

    I’m with you on this! I actually feel the same way about covers with half naked men on them. I just feel like it’s probably poor quality or a fluffy romance and I really just don’t want to be seen walking around with it. It’s even to the point that I avoid certain blogs on Tuesdays because they like sharing and discussing covers in which the tops are off! I just don’t see the appeal at all.

    It reflects my personal preference as well though. I generally think buff muscle-y men are creepy and just generally am not into them. I prefer tall skinny twig-like guys, and you usually don’t see a lot of them with their shirts off on covers. Maybe if you did, I wouldn’t have as much of an issue? Eh, not sure about that. 😛

  4. kimbacaffeinate

    Hehehe..i do not mind a half-naked man on a cover..LOL I do love a good romance whether it be paranormal, urban fantasy, historical or contemporary. Like you I want the romance wrapped in a good story with developed characters. There can be hot sexy scenes but the plot has to be driven by more. This is why romantic suspense is my favorite. Ok, now you have me sitting here analyzing man covers..ha I do prefer some more than others, good lord I need more coffee. great topic:)

    • Trish Hannon

      Love romantic suspense too and paranormal, contemporary and historical. And hot scenes but leave the descriptions to the author. At least its only coffee, you are suddenly needing!

  5. Lark

    I’m with you. I see that kind of book cover and immediately judge the book…rightly, or wrongly. Maybe I’m a bit of a book snob when it comes to book covers and nudity.

  6. Michelle @ In Libris Veritas

    Lol! I love your reactions. I don’t personally mind, since they kind of all look the same to me. There are those I immediately start making fun of, especially the ones with a woman trying to kiss him. I do judge by covers but with those books I usually relay solely on reviews because the covers don’t tell me much about the actual story other than there is a unreasonably muscled man involved. I enjoy romances but I expect there to be a plot and character development, so I’m very careful when I choose to pick one of the male swimsuit model covers. Great topic!

    • Trish Hannon

      Thanks Michelle, male swimsuit model covers! LOL. I agree reviews are very important for these if you want to read them as the cover is in no way insightful. Good point.

  7. Kelly W

    Haha Trish, you’re hilarious.

    I never gave much thought to my view on half-naked men cover models, but now that I think about it, I tend to take those books with a huge grain of salt. I’ll rarely pick it up unless I’m bombarded with recommendations and rave reviews, which hardly ever happens because most soft-porn book covers aren’t anything to rave about.

    I do feel the need to add the exception to the rule for this, at least for me. If there’s a story in which the shirtless-ness really does seem appropriate – say, a story of a guy with mysterious scars on his body that shows these scars on the cover – then I can get behind it. But Fabio wearing that unbuttoned white shirt with his hair blowing in the breeze on a cover doesn’t get anything but a snort and an eye-roll from me.

    • Trish Hannon

      Thanks Kelly, yes if there is a legit reason for it, I might consider and yes if everyone is telling me it’s fab, I might consider. Fabio *snorts*

  8. Kelley

    I am SO right there with you. If a book has a half-naked guy on the cover, I go clear in the other direction. It’s just… not for me? There is one exception in my TBR pile right now (Altered) because it’s a debut and every time I read the description, it sounds interesting. But every time I see the cover, I want to send it far, far away!

    Honestly, for me, it’s this embarrassment factor. I don’t want to be seen reading a book with a cover like that! Because it’s probably just fluffy hot-guy ogling inside. And I’ve never really been like that. Never really ogled celebrities, etc. Shrug.

    • Trish Hannon

      Thanks Kelley, the embarrassment factor doesn’t come in to it for me as its nearly all ebooks I read. Think like you I’m not in to ogling either. *Shrugs* back at you!

  9. Kelly

    I always assume a book with a half-naked man on the cover contains some form of erotica, which just isn’t my thing.

    Now that you mention it too, I wonder if it is meant as a distraction from the writing…haha

    And ditto what Kelley said – it’s embarrassing!

  10. whatdanielledidnext

    So true! They make me cringe! And I just mentioned this in my haul post about NA covers with these couples eating each others faces make me cringe even more! And yay I found another Irish book blogger! 🙂

  11. Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

    Funny post, Trish! Yes, the half-naked guy covers are ubiquitous, from romantic suspense to paranormal romance to historical romance. I’ve had to learn not to judge the books by their covers, though; often the publishers are all jumping on each other’s bandwagon, and creating copycat covers in hopes of increasing sales. The book inside is sometimes quite good, and sometimes awful.

    Women don’t fare any better on romance covers — on covers in general, come to that. They’re often in ridiculously contorted poses that are supposed to be sexy, and clothed or half-unclothed in ways that don’t necessarily reflect the plot (or, for that matter, the historical period. But that’s one of my pet peeves.)

    • Trish Hannon

      Thanks Lark, you are so right about the women on covers too! You know my pet peeve, where the person in the cover is nothing like the character described in the book! Must look out for historical period inconsistencies now that you’ve mentioned them!

  12. Go Flash Go - Read, Rinse, Repeat

    I completely agree! Although I do make an exception for anything by Kresley Cole. But for the most part, not only are these covers embarrassing, they are usually indicative of a book that’s just not very good. I don’t mind fluff, but I DO mind cheese, and half-naked men are typically a good indication of that.


    • Trish Hannon

      Thanks Stephanie, not familiar with KC, will keep an eye out for reviews of these on your blog. Yes, not a fan of cheddar either! Only in toasted sambos 🙂

  13. Toni Lesatz

    I missed this post. Good thing about the Sunday Post 🙂 I somewhat agree. Most of the covers I see with half naked men on them I’m like, meh. Sometimes, though, I will be looking through facebook or goodreads and see a cover and I’m like, Ooh, he’s hot! and then have to go read the synopsis. The thing is… I’m not a huge fan of romance, contemporary romance, or new adult so most of them I don’t end up reading anyway. lol. I’m more into paranormal romance or romantic suspense. Those covers tend to NOT have half naked men on them.

    Great topic!

    • Trish Hannon

      Meh! Me too 🙂 I think some paranormal do though but I skip the ones that do! I’m a big fan of contemp YA and NA but only if they have clever covers! Such a cover snob 🙂

  14. Laura Ashlee

    Hmmm… it depends on the book. If I’m looking for a sexy contemporary romance, yes, I would pick up a book with a bare chest on it. It’s likely the book will be what I wanted. If I’m looking for a highlander romance, I’ll probably be hard-pressed to find a book without a bare chest on it. However, if I’m looking for a YA book, I steer clear of those. I think YA book with half-naked men on them are just weird. I certainly wouldn’t have picked up one like that when I was a teen.

    • Trish Hannon

      Laura, I so agree, these covers have no place on YA books or even NA if you ask me. Both YA and NA tend to deal with emotional issues and these covers would not reflect that.

  15. Alyssa

    Oh my gosh! We have the same line of thinking. I completely loathe those kind of covers. And am imagining the ruckus it will create when my parents will see it. Gosh. It would be a circus! Those kind of covers should just be banned in every shelf, no, scratch that, it should not be published. I know I’m being judgmental but those kind of covers just makes me cringe and duck my head in embarrassment.

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