Insightful, Acclaimed, and Overlooked.

May 2nd, 2005 · 1 Comment
by Booksquare

Learning that we were a) supposed to notice blurbs, then b) read them, before c) taking them seriously came as a shock and surprise. We thought they were like those jokes that only some people get. As it turns out, they are secret codes designed to communicate with the enem…er, reader.

Blurbs are especially helpful for readers, especially considering that most of them rely upon plot synopses to assist in the decision-making process. Strange as it may seem, readers rank knowing what the story’s about above learning that the book is long-overdue. That somebody forgot to the book to the library is of no concern to the reader.

How can you take this stuff seriously? If you select ten books with blurbs and line them up, how many would be profound? Acclaimed (how many words come with their own sliding scales? Acclaimed has that privilege)? Insightful. Save us from the insightful.

Or any other superlative. As William Safire says,

Brilliant, through overuse, has lost its sparkle. Fascinating has lost its charm, powerful is impotent and even towering achievement is getting shaky. Liberals go for heart-shattering and deeply empathetic while conservatives are attracted to gripping and compelling.

File Under: Books/Mags/Blogs

1 response so far ↓

  • Lorra // May 2, 2005 at 10:23 am

    I say you take an entirely new approach such as:

    This novel is guaranteed to bring you to your knees; it is a spectularly dreadful piece of writing bereft of anything resembling a plot, with cloying characters whose vivacious perkiness inspires wretching and it is filled with gratuitous sex and violence never before seen in print.

    If you buy this piece of garbage, you and other members of the literary intelligentsia will enjoy hours of righteous sneering and perhaps even learn new sex positions you never thought possible.

    Buy Me! Buy Me!! Buy Me!!!

    This approach has worked for selling houses, why not books?