Blurbs

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I read blurbs. I like blurbs. They are often entertaining for their comical inarticulateness, especially the parades of one word superlatives. Whichever marketing genius culls these and slaps them on a book clearly thinks that a book which may be anywhere from 75,000 to 500,000 words can be summed up as "Stunning!" "Remarkable!" "Exquisite!" "Hilarious!"

Then, in among the cheap snippets that are like flecks of drool flung willy-nilly from the jowls of a St. Bernard dog as it shakes its ponderous head, or the dutifully ceremonial comments churned out by Kirkus Reviews, one sometimes finds genuinely admiring and perceptive commentaries or droll appreciations that, amazingly, convince me that the book was able to interest someone with the intellect and ability to read it in depth. Those are rare, but always helpful.

A is for (Aimless), Thursday, 14 May 2020 03:35 (two years ago) link

I would have frankly been scared to ask Malzberg for a blurb.

Tsar Bombadil (James Morrison), Friday, 15 May 2020 09:29 (two years ago) link

one month passes...

of brian aldiss, the guardian has this to say

'Our ablest SF writer'

mookieproof, Wednesday, 24 June 2020 00:54 (two years ago) link

One of these is a blurb on Marilynne Robinson's _Gilead_:

the exquisite tone of this mesmerising novel is remarkable
the exquisite tone of this remarkable novel is mesmerising
the remarkable tone of this exquisite novel is mesmerising
the remarkable tone of this mesmerising novel is exquisite
the mesmerising tone of this remarkable novel is exquisite
the mesmerising tone of this exquisite novel is remarkable

(it also has "A visionary work of dazzling originality")

Øystein, Wednesday, 24 June 2020 14:15 (two years ago) link

i vote b)

neith moon (ledge), Wednesday, 24 June 2020 14:47 (two years ago) link

I'm going with a) it just has the correct blurblike 'feel' to me, distributing the adjectives to their respective nouns with the greatest conventionality

the unappreciated charisma of cows (Aimless), Wednesday, 24 June 2020 20:00 (two years ago) link

agreed. f) as a second choice

mookieproof, Wednesday, 24 June 2020 20:09 (two years ago) link

I think f).

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Wednesday, 24 June 2020 20:16 (two years ago) link

one year passes...

'AS SATISFYING, VIOLENT AND MORALLY AMBIVALENT AS ITS PREDECESSORS' -- Telegraph

mookieproof, Monday, 13 June 2022 01:12 (two months ago) link

A friend and I always used to quote the blurb on King, Queen, Knave (from Nabokov himself): "Of all my novels this bright brute is the gayest."

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Monday, 13 June 2022 02:27 (two months ago) link

tbf i think that telegraph blurb very much has meaning

i mean it's not like 'a searing indictment of modern mores from one of our most thoughtful writers' and then it's just rupert distractedly banging galena

mookieproof, Monday, 13 June 2022 03:05 (two months ago) link

it's like, russian demigods ritually disembowling acquaintances because the fate of the universe demands it

so: otm blurb imo

mookieproof, Monday, 13 June 2022 03:11 (two months ago) link

https://pictures.abebooks.com/isbn/9780394741215-uk.jpg

Chuck_Tatum, Monday, 13 June 2022 10:38 (two months ago) link

The blurb Bob Dylan wrote for Steven Van Zandt’s new memoir is the “Murder Most Foul” of book blurbs. pic.twitter.com/IBsegCKP05

— Steven Hyden (@Steven_Hyden) October 7, 2021

Bob Dylan didn’t rest on his laurels after winning the Nobel; coming up w/ a classic blurb for Stevie Van Zandt.

Chris L, Monday, 13 June 2022 12:26 (two months ago) link

two weeks pass...

Searing and profound, suffused with beauty, sorrow, and longing, these stories map, with _______'s signature emotional wisdom, the collision of two cultures and the deeply human struggle to reconcile them.

too bad there's nothing to limn

mookieproof, Wednesday, 29 June 2022 01:09 (one month ago) link

My favorite blurbs are the ones where it's obvious that the book's publishers have done on a Frankenstein job on a book review - using ellipses to stitch together an enthusiastic-sounding blurb from a lukewarm review. Like "Joe Schmo's new novel...shows promise...with interesting characters...and an engaging plot", where it's obvious they've left out all the caveats and deprecating qualifiers.

My brother and I used to make a game of it. "This movie is . . . one of the best . . . of the year"

So many possibilities.

immodesty blaise (jimbeaux), Wednesday, 29 June 2022 01:13 (one month ago) link

keep seeing a twitter ad touting that a certain show is 'the best in months'

tbh i respect the humility

mookieproof, Wednesday, 29 June 2022 01:22 (one month ago) link

"It's the best thing I've seen in the past 12 hours"

immodesty blaise (jimbeaux), Wednesday, 29 June 2022 01:26 (one month ago) link

I get annoyed/amused when the back page blurb is taken from a review of one of the author's old books ("Tom Clancy is a master!") rather than the book it's printed on.

Chuck_Tatum, Wednesday, 29 June 2022 10:59 (one month ago) link

I get annoyed/amused when the back page blurb is taken from a review of one of the author's old books ("Tom Clancy is a master!") rather than the book it's printed on.

yes v annoying and also often indicative that you are holding a lesser work

corrs unplugged, Monday, 4 July 2022 17:08 (one month ago) link

damn, didn't know the story of the word 'blurb' and the sexism therein

https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/word-history-blurb-publishing

the cat needs to start paying for its own cbd (map), Monday, 4 July 2022 17:39 (one month ago) link


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