Should you trust blurbs on the back of books?
One of the many reasons I never want real, live, actual bookstores to disappear from our lives is because browsing through books is one of life’s most enjoyable activities. Even if my night table is stacked to the ceiling with books I should be reading, I can waste hours in a nice little bookstore, glancing through tables of books the owners specifically chose to display, picking up the ones whose covers or titles pique my interest, reading the first page or two . . . and checking to see what kind of blurbs it got.
I admit with only a certain amount of shame that I’m likelier to check out a book that someone has called “sexy” or “fun” or “fast-moving” on the cover and a little less likely to pick up one that’s described as “moving,” or “thoughtful,” or “emotionally devastating.” But that’s just me.
I’ll also make a point of scrutinizing books that boast a blurb from an author I already know and love. If Robin Hobb puts her stamp of approval on a fantasy novel by an unknown author, I may well take give that new author a try. Same with graphic novels and Alan Moore. And if Jane Austen were around to recommend modern women’s fiction, I’d be grabbing at anything she said was worth reading.
The funny thing is, I know better than to trust blurbs. Because . . . you know . . . I write them. Read the rest of this entry »