Thursday, October 29, 2009

Booking Through Thursday: Blurbs

This week, BTT asks a couple of questions about blurbs: "What words/phrases in a blurb make a book irresistible? What words/phrases will make you put the book back down immediately?"

I've always found blurbs interesting. Back in my younger, more enthusiastic days, I used to collect blurbs. Always thought it would be fun to write a little article about them. But after many years of reading books and reading about books, these days I try to ignore most blurbs.

Of course, there's a difference between a blurb and brief synopsis or description of a book. We're talking about those short little snippets of promotional hyperbole you find on the backs of dust jackets or in ads in places like the New York Times Book Review? Yeah, I try not to pay too much attention to those. They all seem to say pretty much the same thing and don't really tell us anything at all about the work itself. All-purpose and interchangeable, they usually go something like this:
"A riveting and passionate account!"
"A detailed and nuanced presentation!" (Nuanced is the newest buzz word in blurbs. It took over from bold.)
"A novel of uncommon perception!"
"Harrowing, affecting, ambitious and powerful!"
"A stirring and inspirational book for a troubled era!"
(And what era doesn't think of itself as troubled?)
"---- has hit one out of the ballpark this time!"
But while they're not very likely to make me want to read a book, I think blurbs are definitely handy in helping me find books to avoid. If a blurb screams "hard-edged, uncompromising, visceral and gritty," or anything remotely similar – then I know that book's not for me.

And now here's something blatantly off-topic (sounds a little like a blurb itself, doesn't it?).

I just have to point out that this is my 500th post on Joy's Blog! I had intended to have a little giveaway or something to mark the occasion, but real life has sort of intervened and kept me busy and away from doing a lot of blogging lately. So maybe I'll save that for number 550 or something. It's taken me over three years to get here. Back in January 2006 when I started this blog, I had absolutely no idea what I'd do with it. I never would have predicted it would still be alive three years later. Or that I would have had so much fun playing with it!


  1. Congrats on your 500th post! :D

  2. Yay! 500 posts is awesome...congratulations!

  3. Congrats on 500 post milestone! Interesting thoughts on blurbs...

  4. Congratulations on your 500th post! I Agree that so many blurbs--especially book review blurbs--sound the same, and therefore are often meaningless. And I feel bad for the author when blurbs are off the mark.

  5. Congrats on your 500th post!

    Actually I prefer synopsis to a blurb anyday!

    Booking through Blurbs

  6. Congrats on 500! That's awesome!

  7. wishing you another least! ;-)

    I do admit by sometimes being influenced by who wrote the blurb..

  8. Good job! I just yesterday realized that I had passed my 500th post without realizing it.

    I tend to ignore blurbs because I think that they are a few words taken out of context -- "Super exciting [if you like books about chicken breeding]!" -- or are just log rolling by a fellow author.


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