Monday, December 3, 2007
Here is an interesting discussion about book blurbs - you know, those little quotes from other authors who either write books with similar themes (for fiction) or from authorities in the field (for nonfiction books).
I find that the synopses on jacket flaps and back covers give way too much away for my liking (for fiction, that is). If I'm considering reading a particular novel, I don't want to know very much about it at all, just very general descriptions: a supernatural murder mystery set in ancient Rome, for example (I'd give that one a try - anyone know a book that fits the description I just made up?). So I tend not to read much from the flap. But I have to admit, if an author I really enjoy writes a blurb for a book I'm considering, that does influence me in its favor.
For nonfiction, I think the blurbs are more important. If someone whose opinion I respect that's an expert in a given field writes a blurb for a book on that same subject matter, I definitely take notice.
What about you? Are you skeptical of blurbs, taking them with a handful of salt? How much do they influence your book choices? Have you ever been let down or misled by a blurb? Do you find them helpful? Or do you ignore them?