I recently read “Silent Treatment” by Abbie Greaves. Summary: husband and wife do not speak to each other for six months even though they live in the same house. The actual book blurb basically says the same thing.

Whatever.

I enjoyed this book. Ok- enjoy is maybe not the right word, but I thought it was well thought out and executed. It would not be considered literary fiction, nor is it what I would call a beach read. What do you call a book that’s not really deep, but isn’t quite shallow either? Do we just call it a book?

Anyway.

After I read a book I mark it “READ” on my Goodreads page. And then I look at the reviews. I read reviews after the fact because I hate spoilers. I can usually rely on the blurb to see if I am going to like a book.

The blurb…

The first few reviews that I came across panned “Silent Treatment” because the blurb was “misleading” and “didn’t give an idea of what the book was about” and “was different than the actual book”.

So the question of the day is:

How much does the blurb matter to you? Would you be disappointed in a book if it didn’t tell the story you thought you were about to read?

I do read blurbs and short summaries of books. But, I think I try to decipher the “tone” of a book more than the plot. I was talking with another blogger recently and I stated that I am more interested in character driven novels than plot driven ones. I like dialogue. I like character interaction. You know, like French films which are short on story and long on nuance. I like writers who have style…

Should a blurb really give you insight into the plotline of a book?

I can probably read any story, with any sort of plotline, as long as I appreciate the style and tone which an author writes. Frankly, I like if I am pleasantly surprised by the plot going in a different direction than I thought it would.

But let’s break that down. If I pick up a book and I assume it’s going to be about a man and a woman entering a relationship when they are in their sixties, I do not want it to become a novel where they are both aliens and are going to try to bring people up to their planet for experiments…

But if I pick up a book about a man and a woman who are not speaking, I really don’t care what the reasoning is to their silence. I just care that it’s well thought out and executed.

Sooo…

Have you ever been really disappointed in a book because the description didn’t match the actual contents?

Discuss

 

56 thoughts on “Blurb

  1. I am very much like you – I read based on the blurbs. I have found that once I get hooked on an author, I’ll also read anything that they write. I found that with Steven King in my early 20’s and currently, Jodi Picoult and Liane Moriarty. The blurb, however, is what gets me started. I’ll sometimes read a book that has been turned into a movie – but I always will read the book first and then compare. There is definitely more time for reading now – thank you for the reminder to take advantage of it!

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  2. I can think of one book that disappointed me because it didn’t match the blurb. The blurb promised an action-filled fantasy book about a young assassin, and instead it was about that assassin going on about her looks and trying to decide which of the hot boys she was going to date. Major disappointment. But overall, when the blurbs don’t match the book I’ll just be a little annoyed.

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  3. I also pick books mostly based on the blurb, and there have definitely been times where I didn’t end up liking the book because it was so different from what I expected based on the blurb. The best example I can think of is Slay by Brittney Morris, which based on the blurb I thought was going to be a sci-fi video game novel akin to Warcross or Ready Player One. Instead it was a “contemporary” novel in which the video game acted as more of a plot point than a major player. If the blurb hadn’t played-up the video game elements so much and focused more on the actual plot I would have been less disappointed.

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  4. I generally find the publishers/Goodreads blurbs to be accurate. I can’t think of any book recently where it turned out different, except maybe Recipe for A Perfect Wife, which I will be blogging about this week, along with Baked Alaska. I believe you read it? I thought it would be light fluffy fiction but it took a dark turn. I never read Goodreads reviews until after I’ve finished the book…..unless I’m really struggling with the book and don’t know whether to continue with it…then I’ll check them out and if the majority of the reviews are bad, then I’ll quit. Sometimes I read the reviews after I’m done, just to see if other people found the same things annoying!

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    1. Recipe for a perfect wife is a great example of a misleading blurb. I too thought it was going to be a light book, because the tone of the blurb was upbeat, while I understand nit giving away the milk for free, I didn’t like the dark turn the book took, but more because I don’t think it was executed well, more that the “point” was jammed down our throats. The female protagonist was horrible and I had a lot of trouble getting behind her, so I found the book unreliable so to speak.

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  5. I pick up books based on my fellow reviewers recommendations or the cover. Sometimes, I read a book by a particular author and like their writing style a lot so I don’t care about the blurb, I end up reading all their books. (Bellairs, for example 😉) Some of the blurbs have a spoiler or two in them so I usually do not read blurbs. This is why I choose to write the synopsis instead of copy-pasting the blurb.🙂

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  6. I read blurbs just to give me a general baseline for the story. I can see how a person would be disappointed if the blurb intentionally mislead the reader. My authors include John Grisham, Michael Connelly and David Baldacci. I like crime novels. I love everything Grisham and the other two are hit and miss. But, I did find a wonderful a author named Kate Morton. She writes intricate novels that weave different generations/eras into her plot stories. Her writing is beautiful, very layered and I’m not sure a blurb would do the storyline justice! Check her out! xoxo

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  7. Having a truly inaccurate or misleading blurb really bothers me and is something that I absolutely point out when I’m writing a review if it is an issue. If the blurb is telling me a book is going to be some twisty, suspenseful story, then that is what I’m expecting and I’ll be upset if it is not a bit suspenseful and it just unfolds in a mild way. Considering I’m such a mood reader, I need my books to actually fit the mood I’m in. If the blurb doesn’t fit the book, then it can be extremely problematic. I’m going to lower my rating of a book if there is a significant difference between what the blurb says and the reality of the book itself.

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  8. LA,
    Before I decide to read a book, I have to flip open the book and read a paragraph or two. If it’s something online, then I’ll read a few pages of the preview. Sometimes, I’ll flip open in a couple of different places. That’s because I have to be able to get into the story and I can only know whether that’s possible after reading the story for a few minutes. If I don’t like the way an author writes or the content, then I’ll pass. If I like what I’m reading, then I’ll give it a go. I remember purchasing White Oleander when Oprah had her book club. She recommended it. I thought that was enough of a ringing endorsement. It was a well-written story but depressing. I got through about 3/4 of the book, but that’s because I forced myself. So, yeah…no. Honestly, I can’t say that I’ve bought a book based on the blurb; and now I’ll know from what you and others have said, not to. 🙂 Mona

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I have a bad habit of taking a book out or buying based on looks of the blurb. It is kind of like basing your life on the perfect stereotype and than getting mad that because you look a certain way…life should have given you everything by the age of 25. Not going to happen, so I read to the end and return. I need to find deeper books and not try to rush to the ending.

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  10. Not a blurb reader. Blurbs are designed to sell books and therefore generally contain too much hype. I tend to read a couple of pages to see if the style works for me. There are covers that don’t work for me either so I ignore those straight away : dragons, naked people, castles sitting on clouds, that kind of thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. For whatever reason I have been reading serial romance type books this summer. Not smutty but just perfect girl meats perfect boy..falls in love..lives perfect life. Doesn’t matter what the blurb says they all have the same storyline thus no particular expectations. Not my usual read but hey…I’m in a no brainer no expectation kind of mood this summer!!

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  12. I think we’ve all read books that have let us down, or not lived up to their blurbs. I’m currently reading a book that isn’t very well written and the characters are not well developed. I have no idea why I’m sticking with it except that it’s a light read. My standards are usually a lot higher.

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      1. I’ve read one or two of those. I’ve been reading A non fiction about a woman spy in WWII, and while fascinating, I can’t read more than a few pages at a time

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  13. I take ‘blurbs’ with a grain of salt. I read them, note who wrote them, contemplate why that person might have said what he or she said, THEN glance at the first few paragraphs of the actual book. After that I decide if I’m going to read the book or not. ‘Blurbs’ don’t influence me much.

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  14. I read the blurbs to get a general idea of the subject matter, but reading the first page or two tells me whether the writing will appeal to me. I can’t recall a particular instance of a blurb setting me up for disappointment, but know it has happened.

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  15. About the only one I can think of that’s even close is “Nine Perfect Strangers”. But I don’t know if I can blame that on the blurb or that it simply wasn’t the story I expected. I do read blurbs but only to get a general idea about the book. I seldom think about it after that.

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    1. That was just an ill conceived book. I think liane Moriarty started out with an idea, and her editor and agent stepped in to make the book more “marketable”

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