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Feeling Nostalgic? The archives > Do book blurbs influence your reading?

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message 1: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments We've touched on book blurbs, e.g. the quotes from other authors praising books on the back or front of the jacket, a bit but I'm surprised, upon running a search, to find that we don't have a thread devoted to the topic, at least under this title.

Do book blurbs influence your reading?

I would say "no" or even "Yes, but more not to read the book than to read the book."

I thought of this earlier in the week because I picked up a book and Elle magazine (not a particular critic/author, just "Elle magazine") had given a blurb. I'm not reading a book based on Elle magazine's recommendation.

Some authors seem to blurb a ton, too, and in turn their recommendations are watered-down. I'm looking at you, Neil Gaiman. And I assume that author's just do this sort of thing to be nice to each other.

What do you think?


message 2: by Kevin (new)

Kevin  (ksprink) | 11469 comments yes, sort of. it matters who the blurb is by. occasionally i just flip the pages and if it feels interesting i'll try it.


message 3: by ~Geektastic~ (new)

 ~Geektastic~ (atroskity) | 3207 comments I agree with Kevin: it depends on who wrote the blurb. It's like movie blurbs; if it says something like "Pulse pounding...mesmerizing...a tour de force!" and it turns out it's extracted from some podunk local paper, it just means the movie wasn't good enough to merit a review from a bigger, probably better publication.


message 4: by Jonathan (last edited Jul 13, 2011 06:48PM) (new)

Jonathan Lopez | 4728 comments A pre-publication blurb--basically an endorsement from a famous author who was asked to read the book before it hit the bookstore shelves--generally won't carry too much weight with me, mostly because those tend to get doled out pretty indiscriminately. But excerpts from published newspaper or magazine reviews can be more meaningful, especially if they say something substantive about the book's good qualities rather than just gushing, as Amber said, "Pulse pounding, mesmerizing," etc. A good review or blurb, like a good book, should have real content to it, I think.


message 5: by Lobstergirl, el principe (new)

Lobstergirl | 24073 comments Mod
I would say "no" or even "Yes, but more not to read the book than to read the book."

This is my stance too. Most of the time they just reek of B.S. and exaggeration.


message 6: by Stacia (the 2010 club) (last edited Jul 13, 2011 11:24PM) (new)

Stacia (the 2010 club) (stacia_r) A lot of authors tend to book tour together and form friendships, and because of this, rec each other's books. There's one author who (whom?) I really love, but she has recommended some crap books written by her author friends.


message 7: by Janice (new)

Janice (jamasc) I used to be influenced by the blurbs. After being led astray too many times, I don't even look at them any more.


message 8: by Louise (new)

Louise I disklike blurbs and find them useless.
I've seen paperbacks, where instead of a description of what the story is about on the back cover, there's just a list of blurbs "amazing read" etc - that makes me think - this is a really bad book.
So unless it's more review-like, it will probably only have a negative effect on me.


message 9: by Michael (new)

Michael I'm not interested in author blurbs because they get paid for saying good things. I do like editorial/reviewer blurbs.

I like interrupted blurbs like:
Joe Schmo is.... in a league by himself.... and in Bedroom Smells he... proves why he's a master...

And wonder if the complete blurb is:
Joe Schmo is an arrogant prick who is in a league by himself and couldn't write his way out of a paper bag. He's a worthless hack and in Bedroom Smells he did it again and proves why he's a master of his own ass.


message 10: by Kevin (new)

Kevin  (ksprink) | 11469 comments i find myself using you guys and other GR opinions more than anything else for my book selections


message 11: by Annie (new)

Annie (agrunwe) I never read them. I'm guilty of picking books by the cover. -hides in shame-


message 12: by Allison (new)

Allison (thebookwheel) I look at the book blurbs. I like to read through the goodreads reviews, too. A lot of times something has a lower star rating and the reviews of it have nothing to do with what I like, so I'll read it anyway. Of course, a lot of really "great" books I don't like.


Jackie "the Librarian" | 8993 comments I like blurbs that give a little description of the story, the ones that are like movie trailers.

I don't like endorsement blurbs that gush about how great the book is, or how awesome the author is. I don't care if the author has famous friends. I want to know what the book is ABOUT.


message 14: by Lobstergirl, el principe (new)

Lobstergirl | 24073 comments Mod
Annie wrote: "I never read them. I'm guilty of picking books by the cover. -hides in shame-"

Cover art is important to me - both in picking books to read, and rejecting them. If I already know a particular book is worthy of reading, I'll try to find the edition of it with the most appealing cover. I can't stand a bad cover. Can't stand it.

Titles also help me avoid books. I won't read books called

The Peach Keeper
The Abortionist's Mistress
The Postmaster's Daughter
The Dressmaker's this or that
The Guernsey Peach 'n Potato Pizza Literary Plum Nectarine and Ladies' Quilting and Stock-picking Society



message 15: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Lopez | 4728 comments So, I'm guessing that The Guernsey Postmistress's Dressmaking Daughter Picks Stocks and Peaches would not be up to your standards, LG?


message 16: by Lobstergirl, el principe (new)

Lobstergirl | 24073 comments Mod
What?? Noooooo, I loved that one.


message 17: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Lopez | 4728 comments Me too. I wept while reading the wedding scene.


message 18: by Lobstergirl, el principe (new)

Lobstergirl | 24073 comments Mod
The one between the abortionist's daughter and the nectarine picker's guitar-picking postman?


message 19: by Annie (new)

Annie (agrunwe) I'm learning to avoid any book called The ___'s Daughter (or Mistress).


message 20: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 3385 comments When choosing a book from the New Books section in the library, I read the first few lines on the inside front cover - never the whole thing because it gives away too much.

I've read that the intro on the jacket is not written by the author. Is this true?


message 21: by Lobstergirl, el principe (new)

Lobstergirl | 24073 comments Mod
I'm sure that's true. It must be written by the publisher. Jonathan will be able to tell us.


message 22: by Janice (new)

Janice (jamasc) I am influenced by the cover and the title as well. I don't have any hard and fast rules about them, just that they need to grab my attention.


message 23: by Jonathan (last edited Jul 14, 2011 09:25PM) (new)

Jonathan Lopez | 4728 comments These things vary somewhat from publishing house to publishing house, but in general, jacket flap copy is not written by the book's author--although in the case of non-fiction books, some of the author's words from the introduction will often be (creatively) paraphrased by the writer of the jacket copy. The copywriter may be the book's editor, sub-editor, or in-house publicist, or some combination of these working collaboratively. If the author is lucky, he or she will get to see the flap copy before it goes to press; this is not a courtesy universally extended to first-time writers or to writers of what are projected to be small-market books. In any event, even if the author sees the jacket copy, getting changes made can be quite difficult.


message 24: by Michael (new)

Michael Jonathan wrote: "So, I'm guessing that The Guernsey Postmistress's Dressmaking Daughter Picks Stocks and Peaches would not be up to your standards, LG?"

Aww, you guys mock The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and it was such a good book!


message 25: by Aynge (new)

Aynge (ayngemac) | 1202 comments They used to. I remember one: "Predator meets Jaws under NYC." I couldn't resist. And it was a great read.


message 26: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth (needmoreshelves) | 10 comments Meh. I mostly just ignore them - I mean, it's not like they are going to tell you something interesting, like "this book really needed to excise about 200 pages, and then it would have been great."


message 27: by Sally, la reina (new)

Sally (mrsnolte) | 17320 comments Mod
RandomAnthony wrote: "We've touched on book blurbs, e.g. the quotes from other authors praising books on the back or front of the jacket, a bit but I'm surprised, upon running a search, to find that we don't have a thre..."

I haven't read this thread yet but I wonder if anyone pointed out to RA that he should have used i.e. instead of e.g. in his first thread. He said "example for free" when he meant "that is."


message 28: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 3385 comments Doesn't e.g. mean "for example"?


message 29: by Meels (new)

Meels (amelia) I don't bother to read them. So they have little influence on my choices.


message 30: by janine (new)

janine | 7715 comments I've never understood the difference between i.e. and e.g. or what they both mean.

I choose what I read based on cover art, title, author name and the short description of the story on the back cover. If those first three grab my attention the description will tell me if the book is actually what I think it is.


message 31: by Meels (new)

Meels (amelia) janine wrote: "I choose what I read based on cover art, title, author name and the short description of the story on the back co..."

Me too, Janine.


message 32: by Félix (last edited Nov 24, 2012 07:01PM) (new)

Félix (habitseven) e.g. stands for the Latin phrase “exempli gratia,” which means “for the sake of example.” You should use it when presenting examples or more possibilities for the term in question. An easy way to remember this is to associate e.g. with “example given.”

I like citrus fruits (e.g., oranges and lemons).

i.e. Stands for the Latin phrase “id est,” which means “that is.” You should use it when explaining or rephrasing a sentence. Usually it has the same meaning as “in other words.”

I like all fruits (i.e., I eat pretty much anything).


message 33: by Meels (new)

Meels (amelia) Thanks, Felarry! I'll try to remember...


message 34: by Susan (new)

Susan | 6406 comments I always think "ergo" for e.g. which doesn't exactly equate but helps me remember.


message 35: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven)


message 36: by Meels (new)

Meels (amelia) Kyle, don't feed the troll.


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