They say don’t judge a book by it’s cover.
They say that.
And I add to it: or the book blurb.
I say that. From experience.
And yet, time and time again I choose books by the cover, the blurb, or a combination of both.
I do that.
Just for fun let’s look at my latest choice, Constantly Craving: How to Make Sense of Always Wanting More by Marilyn Meberg.
As soon as I saw the title and the subtitle (how to make sense of always wanting more) meshed with the image on the cover (some sort of pop or other carbonated beverage?) I thought to myself, “By golly this is a book about food! How intriguing!”
And then, to be careful, I also read the back. Beginning with:
WE WANT MORE.
More free time
And I was sold!
About 80 pages in (oh yeah, I requested the physical product this time. Didn’t want a repeat of my e-reader experience) I realized something: This is not a book about food.
I kept waiting for it to come up and it just never did. Here is what the book is actually about, lest you (like me) be fooled and found foolish in front of your peers.
This book is about you and your craving for more in life. More love, more space, more time, etc. It’s a book about how we’re all missing something in life; something we cannot ever fill because we are all created with a longing Meberg calls a “homelessness of the soul.” It’s a longing for the eternal, something we will never find or fulfil here on earth.
Honestly once I realized this was more a book about relationships and the self I was quite put off. I was grumpy even. I felt really tricked by the title, cover, and blurb (although separately they all work to describe the book…well I don’t really get the cover but I just assume it’s too arty for my literal mind) because together they led me to believe the book was going to talk about something it never did, but I wished it did.
But I had committed to finishing the book so I thought I could do that much. And then I realized something. Once I accepted this book was different than I thought, I was able to read what the words were saying.
Each chapter is divided into the different things we crave in life and some resonated with me. For example there’s a section on being enslaved to time. I can relate, especially since my husband is not enslaved to time. And I felt quite convicted about it. Especially when I read “An overly conscientious awareness of time can thwart meaningful connections and blind us to opportunities to help people. When we’re enslaved to time, a phone call from a friend can be looked upon as an unwelcome interruption because it throws off the timing of [a] carefully planned day…” (99).
It made me really think about my priorities and how many times I’ve been annoyed or frustrated because I had an interruption or wasn’t perfectly on time for something. Instead of worrying about how my lateness would be perceived, I am learning to pay attention to the reasons I am not always on time. You know what, many times it is pretty reasonable. And if I’m perfectly honest, much of the time I wasn’t even that late—in fact sometimes I actually wasn’t late. So what’s my problem? I’m a time slave. Got to get that checked.
OK so no. This is not a book about food, not even a little. And I’m not really sure why the blurb mentioned chocolate (although I’m not mad anymore). But this is a neat little book about cravings, how to recognize them, and what to do about it when you’ve got ’em.