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Blurbs and Praises

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This week’s Booking Through Thursday concerns with blurbs. Honestly I do not pay attention to blurbs . I usually turn to the first chapter and start reading to get a feel of a book. In light of this blurb issue, that is pertinent to the book that I current peruse, I do want to say a few words. Blurbs are usually subjective. Some trade paperbacks don’t even have blurbs. They would have a few quotations on the back overs that contribute to “Praises of so and so and such and such…” In this particular book, there is one quote, by H.G. Wells:

I do not know how to express the admiration I feel for this wonderful book without seeming to be extravagant. I am not usually lavish with my praise, but indeed the book impresses me as among the very greatest novels I have ever read. It is wholly beautiful; it is saturated with wisdom and humor and tenderness.

What’s interesting to me is that everyone who has praised and highly regarded this book does not summarize, not even in a couple sentences, what Growth of the Soil is about. It reads like a combination of The Bible and One Hundred Years of Solitude. Where the wisdom and depth are I simply cannot see. I’m underwhelmed. Hope this will change as I’m less than halfway into it.

24 Responses

  1. I don’t pay much attention to the content of blurbs either, though I do like to see what other authors have taken the time to give their stamp of approval – generally if they are authors I trust and like myself, then it makes me more confident about the book.

    Sometimes it’s best to go into books without knowing too much about what will happen in them, but other times the lack of direction can be a pain. I am looking forward to hearing more from you on your current read once you’ve finished it.

  2. I find reading blurbs on older books fascinating. It’s hubmling to see how excited even respected writers were about books that are now largely forgotten. I read a lot of first editions when working on my thesis, many of the books I used had only one printing, and often found the adds in the back as interesting as the books. Reading 100 plus year old reviews is fun, too.

  3. composing a “good” blurb is not easy

    I hate those praises on the back cover, but often prefer the gist or an introduction of the story, or the title

  4. i will admit that at times i have been influenced by a blurb of approval by another author. not so much what it says…i assume it says great things or it would not be there…but more by who says it. if it from an author i really respect it can influence me to pick up a book.

  5. I hate it when the books don’t have blurbs. I wouldn’t want to spend money on books that don’t offer a gist of the story, and I notice books by big, well-known authors are like that most of the times! 😛

  6. PS

    OMG … Disney … LOVE makes anything possible, my friend (nice eyes, really, he has) ^_^

  7. One of my favourite books ever, Injury Time by Beryl Bainbridge didn’t have a blurb, but based on its review quotes I bought it – and I’m so glad I did!

    But it’s disappointing when a book doesn’t live up to your expectations that were set as a result of a book’s quotes/blurb.

  8. I am not that bothered about what the book is about – I am only interested in whether it is any good. If you were to say xxx is now my favourite book I would buy it without needing to know anything else.

    Quotes from my favourite authors are very likely to encourage me to buy a book, as I hope that they have a similar taste to me. It is interesting that we all feel differently about these things!

  9. I ignore blurbs, even if they are written by someone I like. Recommendations from my blogger friends mean more than just about anything!

  10. Sometimes one can’t know the depth from the book blurb..

    Booking through Blurbs

  11. I read blurbs but my final decision is certainly not based on them 🙂

  12. Steph:
    Endorsements from my favorite authors would certainly have heavier weight. Otherwise the book has to speak for itself.

  13. cbjames,:
    I find blurbs from older (out-of-print) books more informative. The person who wrote the blurbs seemed to have put in more effort in doing the justice of the books.

  14. wordy:
    Praises mean almost nothing to me because the book has to speak for itself. Different stroke for different folks. I have to read it for myself, however, an abstract of the writing also helps. 🙂

  15. caite:
    I remember reading some praises by Danielle Steel, and that gives more than enough reason for me *not* to pick up the book. Big-name authors endorsements don’t often convince me, in fact, it might achieve the opposite effect.

  16. Melody:
    Blurbs should be concise and succinct. It amazes me when blurbs divulge just a bit too much info. 🙂

  17. wordy:
    He suggests to go to Gay Disney since the last time I went to Disney was 1989. He does have pretty eyes and features, and he has been a great joy in my life. 🙂

  18. Elena:
    The book I’m close to finish, by Knut Hamsun, Growth of the Soil has pretty much no blurb other than the endorsement/praise by H.G. Wells. It’s less than impressive consider that he was awarded Nobel Prize for Literature.

  19. Jackie (Farm Lane Books):
    I think book bloggers, especially the ones with whom I share reading taste, could be more influential in making a decision about a book than the blurbs, although a good idea of what the book is about is appreciated in blurbs.

  20. Sandy:
    All it takes is bloggers shouting about a book and then I’ll go get it! 🙂

  21. gautami tripathy:
    I like to read the first chapter to get a feel for the style and story. Usually that helps me decide whether to buy or to borrow.

  22. Staci:
    Blurbs can be helpful when I am going through lots of books at the stores and get a basic feel for them. What really matters is whether my friends or bloggers would recommend the books.

  23. I don’t really read blurbs either. I don’t think they capture a book very well most of the time!

  24. Rebecca:
    Some blurbs are disjointed, but I do admit at times they can be luring. 🙂

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