Wednesday, May 04, 2005

What Do Book Blurbs Say Anyway?

William Safire of the New York Times has finally sorted out the hidden clues in book blurbs. (via Galleycat)

"Acclaimed, in this fulsome lingo of book ads and catalogs, now means merely ''the author received at least one good review.''

Widely acclaimed means ''two or more, plus a cable-TV plug.''

Critically acclaimed means ''it was decently reviewed in a specialized publication but didn't sell.''

How do you blurb a dull book? Meticulously researched, or if you're really in trouble, definitive, exhaustive, spiced with profoundly insightful.

For novels in which characters determine the plot, San Francisco likes absorbing and satisfying, and New York pushes moving and masterly."

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