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Blurb Your Enthusiasm: A Cracking Compendium…
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Blurb Your Enthusiasm: A Cracking Compendium of Book Blurbs, Writing Tips, Literary Folklore and Publishing Secrets (utgåvan 2022)

av Louise Willder (Författare)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
762356,423 (4.11)3
"This is the outside story of books. From blurbs to titles, quotes to (checks jacket) cute animal designs - via author feuds, writing tricks, classic literature, bonkbusters, plot spoilers and publishing secrets - discover why it's good to judge a book by its cover. Maybe even this one..." --publisher's website.… (mer)
Medlem:Margaret09
Titel:Blurb Your Enthusiasm: A Cracking Compendium of Book Blurbs, Writing Tips, Literary Folklore and Publishing Secrets
Författare:Louise Willder (Författare)
Info:Oneworld Publications (2022), 352 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
Betyg:
Taggar:Ingen/inga

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Blurb Your Enthusiasm: An A-Z of Literary Persuasion av Louise Willder

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» Se även 3 omnämnanden

Visar 2 av 2
A delight to read, full of interesting blurb. ( )
  GeoffSC | Aug 20, 2023 |
Questo è un libro che interessa i bibliomani. Io sono uno di questi. In quanto figlio di un tipografo, a sua volta fratello di altri quattro altrettanto tipografi post-gutenberghiani. Patologia ereditata e passata a mio figlio il quale è tutto intero digitale e per niente tipografico. Non credo sia mai entrato in una tipografia del tempo passato, nè si sia mai sporcato le mani di inchiostro, abbia mai avuto tra toccato caratteri mobili in piombo o in legno,abbia mai conosciuto la "forma" sulla quale passava il cilindro di caucciù impregnato di inchiostro, facendolo scorrere sul foglio per tirare la bozza della pagina. Ecco il luogo dove nasceva anche il risvolto, il "blurb" in inglese, la parola sulla quale è stato scritto questo libro. Quando hai tra le mani un libro una delle prime cose che un bibliomane fa è guardare la copertina. Il risvolto è la presentazione scritta dall'editore o da altri a favore del libro. Queste informazioni di solito si dilungano anche sulla quanta di copertina. Sempre elogi e pregi del contenuto e dell'autore. Impossibile trovare un risvolto negativo. ( )
  AntonioGallo | Aug 29, 2022 |
Visar 2 av 2
How to snare your reader: the secret of a good blurb
Louise Willder’s examination of the dos and don’ts of blurb-writing is a small masterpiece in itself.

It sounds disingenuous, not to say dis-respectful, but as a writer of 40 books, give or take, I never read blurbs. I can’t bear to. I love stories and am terrified of them being spoiled. There is no obvious twist or murderer so clearly signposted that I will ever try to guess them as I read. I never look at the end first. One of the great joys of books (and of life, more or less the same thing) is being happily surprised.

I did accidentally read the blurb of Karen Jay Fowler’s superb We are All Completely Beside Ourselves, which gave away the (gorgeous) twist in the first line. I can’t be the only person this drove to distraction, as the blurb on the new edition now reads:

“Rosemary’s young, just at college, and she’s decided not to tell anyone a thing about her family. So we’re not going to tell you too much either: you’ll have to find out for yourselves, round about page 77, what it is that makes her unhappy family unlike any other.

And I do glance at jacket quotes, just to make sure nobody is using any of my great book turn-offs – ‘limpid prose’ being one, ‘immense lyrical powers of description’ being another. I once reviewed a novel where the famous person quoting for it, obviously under some duress from the publishers, gave: ‘This is a story, well told’ – which, frankly, one might consider something of a minimum.

As for my own blurbs, years ago I used to write them myself as a ‘Dear Reader’, before what Louise Willder calls the ‘Innocentification’ of the world (after the smoothie), and trying to address a stranger informally became like how a toilet talks to you on a Virgin train.

None of this detracts from how utterly enjoyable and charming this book is, and I now consider myself well schooled, and more convinced than ever that I am right to leave blurbing in the excellent professional hands of Little, Brown.

Willder’s aim is to reclaim the blurb as ‘a humble and arduous literary form... a cramped rhetorical space, less fascinating than that of a sonnet, but equally exacting’, in the words of the Italian author and publisher Roberto Calasso. No less a writer than Iris Murdoch considered blurbs ‘a mini art form’. Roger McGough used to swing by his publishers to oversee his. And Richard Adams was extremely rude about his, although not quite as rude as Jeanette Winterson, who hated her recent blurbs so much she took a photograph of herself setting fire to the books they adorned – an act which earned her a ton of publicity and got the blurbs changed. She is a genius in many, many ways.

This book is full of fun and bookish treasures. There is wonderful advice on whether or not to swear in blurbs (only if ‘cleverly sprinkled’); whether you should ever mention Jesus (even for books entirely about Jesus), and examples of some of the world’s worst blurbs, my favourite being for Frank Herbert’s (terrific) Dune, which begins:

When the Emperor transfers stewardship of Arrakis from the noble House Harkonnen to House Atreides, the Harkonnens fight back, murdering Duke Leto Atreides. Paul, his son, and Lady Jessica, his concubine, flee into the desert. On the point of death they are rescued by the Fremen, who control Arrakis’ second great resource: the giant worms...

When the Emperor transfers stewardship of Arrakis from the noble House Harkonnen to House Atreides, the Harkonnens fight back, murdering Duke Leto Atreides. Paul, his son, and Lady Jessica, his concubine, flee into the desert. On the point of death they are rescued by the Fremen, who control Arrakis’ second great resource: the giant worms…

Ah, the second great resource.

Then there are children’s books:

“Meet Dave. Caveman Dave.
Dave live in Cave.
Dave cave perfect
But Dave not happy…
Dave want new cave

As Willder points out, this isn’t just a terrific way of setting up voice, character, time and space in under 20 words; it also basically sums up the human condition. And try finding a bookish child who can’t complete by heart the poem that adorns the back of Susan Cooper’s seminal The Dark is Rising:

“When the Dark comes rising, six shall turn it back…

There are also crime, romance and erotica blurbs, and ones for literary fiction, in a chapter winningly titled ‘Come and Have a Go if you Think you’re Hard Enough’. It’s laugh-out-loud funny. On every monochrome jacket, Willder complains, there is ‘a writer at “the height of their powers”, which begs the question, is it all downhill from here, or was everything they wrote before a bit crap?’ And why is everything ‘liminal’ these days?

Whenever blurbistas have to write copy for literary fiction, she explains, they desperately try to insert as much story as they can, as that is what readers are looking for. Particular praise is reserved for Milkman by Anna Burns, whose jacket reads: ‘It is the story of inaction, with enormous consequences’ – an excellent piece of blurbing cakeism. Willder dislikes the blurb for Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow – ‘We could tell you the year is 1944 and bombs are falling across Europe, but that doesn’t really begin to cover it’ – for implying that if you, the reader, are looking for plot, you’re a ‘bit basic’; but then she wonders whether that even matters, seeing as the only point of reading it is to tell other people you’ve read it.

Along with the bad, sometimes the good takes your breath away. How well does the blurb for Hallie Rubenhold’s The Five show you exactly what the book is going to be like?

“POLLY, ANNIE, ELIZABETH, CATHERINE and MARY JANE are famous for the same thing, though they never met. They came from Fleet Street, Knightsbridge, Wolverhampton, Sweden and Wales.
They wrote ballads, ran coffee houses, lived on country estates, breathed ink-dust from printing presses and escaped people-traffickers. What they had in common was the year of their murders: 1888.

If that doesn’t immediately make you want to step right into the world of this book, it’s hard to know what will.

The first edition of The Great Gatsby in 1925 includes the line: ‘[This novel]... is infused with a sense of the strangeness of human circumstance in a heedless universe.’ My personal favourite is the near-perfect fusion of author and copywriter that adorns Andrew Hankinson’s extraordinary You Could Do Something Amazing With Your Life [You are Raoul Moat]:

“A letter arrives. You’ve got an appointment with a trainee clinical psychologist on April 29, 2008.
You don’t attend.

Another letter arrives. It says they don’t normally reschedule appointments, but they know this is hard for you, so they’re offering you another appointment. It’s on May 13, 2008.

You don’t attend.

Two years later you shoot three people and shoot yourself. You will be called a monster. You will be called evil. The prime minister, David Cameron, will stand up in parliament and say you were a callous murderer, end of story. You have nine days and your whole life to prove you are more than a callous murderer.

Go.
 
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"This is the outside story of books. From blurbs to titles, quotes to (checks jacket) cute animal designs - via author feuds, writing tricks, classic literature, bonkbusters, plot spoilers and publishing secrets - discover why it's good to judge a book by its cover. Maybe even this one..." --publisher's website.

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