Blurbling on


How much are you influenced by the blurb on the back of a book? Not much, according to Colin Dwyer. And rightly so. George Orwell back in 1936 spoke of “the disgusting tripe that is written by the blurb-reviewers,” and the shocking news to us innocent readers is that people write those blurbs without even reading the book. They do! The novelist Gary Shteyngart, a prolific writer of blurbs, happily admits it:

“I can figure things out pretty quickly. I’ll look at a first sentence, I’ll look at the cover and it just comes to me. Reading randomly from a book is also very helpful. Sometimes I try to read further — but you know, how far can you get? Does anyone even read these books anymore?”
That said, he doesn’t hold back.
“I’ve compared people to Shakespeare, Tolstoy or whatever,” he says. “I’ll do anything.”

Seeing there are no holds barred, here are some of Gert’s suggestions for blurbs from big names. Feel free to use them.

God: a worldbeater

Queen Victoria: we laughed ourself legless

Paris Hilton: like, awesome

Dracula: scared the pants off me

Donald Duck: a quacker

George W. Bush: a completely baffling mystery

Frank Sinatra: brought me to tears

Jack the Ripper: not for the faint-hearted

Gore Vidal: almost as good as my books

the Dalai Lama: like, awesome

4 thoughts on “Blurbling on

  1. Great quotes! But you’ve sort of hit a sore spot here. Writing blurbs is notoriously difficult; authors can rarely put together decent blurbs for their own books. I’ve had the experience of publishers laughing at my attempts. So it’s perhaps not surprising that some cynical chap makes a career out of it?


    1. He’s amazingly frank about it, isn’t he? You’d find the article interesting I think. It seems big names, rather than what they say, do attract readers. And it helps apparently when trying to get publishers to read the books in the first place!


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