Do you read to show off?
What do you read when you are travelling by train or bus?
What are other passengers reading? Perhaps a woman sitting near you is reading a trashy romantic novel. A man is reading a serious biography about a politician. And there's a student reading an English textbook.
What do their choices say about them? Do you judge them by what they are reading?
I have got to tell you that your impressions of them are probably completely wrong. The woman reading the romantic novel could be a lawyer. She just wants a light read to take her mind off work.
The man reading the biography wants you to think that he is an intellectual, but he is just showing off. The student reading the textbook isn't a student at all. She's an English teacher.
Publishers know that some people are self-conscious about what they read on public transport and so they put out different versions of a cover. For example, books about Harry Potter have an original cover for young readers and then another more serious version for adults.
So next time you are on a train, look around and see what other people are reading, but don't jump to any conclusions. You will probably be wrong.
Here is a situation where you could say, "Don't judge a book by its cover".
a romantic novel
to say about someone
a light read
to take one's mind off work
to show off
don't jump to any conclusions
don't judge a book by its cover