As usual Booking Through Thursday has made me think about things differently, which is always a good thing. Today the question is “What words/phrases in a blurb make a book irresistible? What words/phrases will make you put the book back down immediately?”
Now I sat and thought about five words that would make me read a book instantly from the blurb and its actually really hard in the end I came up with; scandal – charming – surreal – mysterious – suspicious. I don’t know what that says about me to be honest. I can also guarantee that a book that involves a small village and its inhabitants will intrigue me as village based books has become a new love. The five that would put me off are; cricket – trolls – unbelievable love story (count that as one day) – aliens – awesome. But how often do I buy a book because of a blurb?
It’s actually quite a rare thing in all honesty as I tend to go on other peoples recommendations, articles in the press, bookish radio shows, book blogs and authors I know. Now that makes me sound like I am not adventurous and don’t try new books but I do. I just tend to go into new book shops on a mission to find a specific, browsing is simply dangerous. Second hand stores actually will make me meander and browse more, I also will happily pick up a book that has an amazing retro cover from the 70’s just because I like the books look. Very materialistic and shallow but we all have our faults.
I then thought about my favourite book Rebecca. I bought this because about three people had recommended it and then I saw the TV show with Diana Rigg (who is one of my favourite actors) but would I have actually bought it from the blurb?
Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again …Working as a lady’s companion, the heroine of Rebecca learns her place. Life begins to look very bleak until, on a trip to the South of France, she meets Maxim de Winter, a handsome widower whose sudden proposal of marriage takes her by surprise. She accepts, but whisked from glamorous Monte Carlo to the ominous and brooding Manderley, the new Mrs de Winter finds Max a changed man. And the memory of his dead wife Rebecca is forever kept alive by the forbidding Mrs Danvers …Not since Jane Eyre has a heroine faced such difficulty with the Other Woman. An international bestseller that has never gone out of print, Rebecca is the haunting story of a young girl consumed by love and the struggle to find her identity.
I am not 100% sure I would. It sort of sounds like a throwaway romance rather than a dark and brooding masterpiece (that’s my opinion, it’s not official though maybe it should be) though I do like the terms “haunting story” and “very bleak”. I don’t think I would have bought it from the blurb alone.
The other thing that bothers me about blurbs is often they can lie. I remember being desperate to read Underground by Tobias Hill as living in London I like books based here. This one really leapt out at me as I like a good crime and one based on the underground where a man is serially pushing women in front of the tube seemed like an ideal thriller for a commute, as you can see from my review that isn’t really what the book was about at all. Not the authors fault but since then I have been asked to read more Hill and said ‘hmmm maybe one day’.
So what about you? What words or phrases in blurbs make you rush to buy a book or promptly put it back down? Have you ever had a book blurb lie like I have on more than one occasion? Would you have bought your favourite book based on its blurb? Do let me know.