Are you criticising the whole book when you criticise the blurb?

Posted April 19, 2017 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 0 Comments


Are you, though?

Spoiler: the answer is “no”.

tl;dr A blurb is a short text designed to give you an idea of what the book will be contain. Blurbs can be badly written. It is okay to criticise a blurb for being badly written or throwing up red flags. Also no marginalised people DON’T have to “read the book first”.

For a broad context (because I kept it reasonably broad): whenever marginalised groups even discuss potentially harmful content (never mind actively calling it out as harmful), there will be someone who does not share that marginalisation who pops up to say “You can’t criticise the book without reading it first!”

And, yeah, we can. Readers do it all the time, actually, even those claiming you can’t criticise a book without reading it start to finish. Making judgement values about the content of a book we haven’t read is part and parcel of how we decide what to read and whether to read that specific book. It’s what blurbs (and reviews) are for. That is their purpose.

Okay, no. A blurb’s purpose is to convince as many people as possible to pick up the book (and if they don’t like it, well… they’ve already paid for it now). But the way it does that is by telling people what the book is about and enticing them to make the judgement value “this book is worth my time and money”.

Anyway, here‘s a thread I did today.

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