The Clothing of Books (Vintage Books), by Jhumpa Lahiri
Some say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but some people do just that. Novelist Jhumpa Lahiri ponders this discrepancy in her short, elegant essay, The Clothing of Books. Lahiri touches touches gracefully on many things, including her immigrant childhood in the U.S., where her clothes were always wrong, and her dismay over some of the jackets supplied for her books by publishers. Clothing can represent who we are, and if dust jackets are clothing for books, then the artists responsible for hers seldom bothered to read her work but traded instead in stereotypes. For her, the “wrong jacket” triggers a series of anxieties experienced since childhood over her identity and how she is perceived. The Clothing of Books is a succinct memoir as well as a delight for bibliophiles.