Blurbondency: how do you react to bamboozling book blurbs?

Blurbondency The feeling of let down and confusion that follows reading a book because it has a blurb from one of your favourite authors, only to find the book disappointing and unreadable. Self doubt and a re-examination of bookshelves is also to be expected.

Blurbs are powerful things. They act as the same kind of seal of approval you’re looking for when you’re eyeing up a potential date. I’ve picked up and taken home plenty of books thanks to a few words of praise from one of my favourite authors – but you can’t always count on a blurb when you’re choosing what to snuggle up with at night.

Recently I read a book I just couldn’t get into. I could see it wasn’t awful, I could see it had some merit, but there were parts of it that really stuck in my craw. I sat contemplating the cover, and noticed it had blurbs from no fewer than three of my favourite authors. A strange mixture of feelings quickly arose. Confusion – were they talking about the same book? Self doubt – can’t I even tell a good book when I look at it? Shaken faith – are my favourite writers not the all-knowing beings I hoped they were?

Ultimately, I know that when judging books – as with all other art forms – there’s a great deal of subjectivity involved. You say tomato, I say pulpy, soppy trash. But that won’t stop me from suffering a good dose of blurbondency when the book and the blurb just don’t seem to fit.