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Sunday, May 5, 2013

Those *!@!&@/* Blurbs

Which new author have you tried based on the endorsement of another author?

Although I've had reasonably good luck with this method of finding new authors, I've only recently gotten wise to relying on these endorsements when delivered in essay or review form. For example, an essay by the late Christopher Hitchens persuaded me to try Martin Amis. I started with a short novel of his called "The House of Meetings" (2006). On the strength of that, next was Amis' "The War Against Cliche" (2001), a collection of essays & reviews from the past 25 years. That book is a feast that reminded me how great writers are invariably insatiable readers. Having lost so many wonderful essayists the last few years, discovering Amis is consoling. Thank you Christopher.

On the other side, I've grown increasingly suspicious when the endorsement takes the form of an author blurb on a book cover. Having been burned several times like this in my reading life, my new practice is to research and see if the blurbing author ever wrote an actual review of the blurbed book. If yes, I read that review and then decide whether to try the book. If no review is to be found, I skip the book.

What has been your experience? What was the last book you read, based on a blurb only, that disappointed you? How did that experience change your attitude toward the author of the blurb? How fair is that to the blurbing author?    

1 comment:

  1. Please stop all this palaver. Are you trying to inveigle us into panegyric approbation?