Book Group Buzz – Discussion of Book Clubs, Reading Lists, and Literary News – Booklist Online » Blog Archive » Blurbin' Renewal?
Booklist Online

Booklist Online: More than 130,000 book reviews for librarians, book groups, and book lovers - from the trusted experts at the American Library Association

| | | | | | | | | | |
Book Group Buzz Blog - Booklist Online

Book Group Buzz

A Booklist Blog
Book group tips, reading lists, & lively talk of literary news from the experts at Booklist Online

« »

Thursday, March 8, 2012 12:01 am
Blurbin' Renewal?
Posted by: Neil Hollands

Becky Spratford’s excellent RA for All blog recently highlighted some short opinion pieces on the New York Times site about the veracity and value of book blurbs. Becky’s point was that regardless of their absolute truth, blurbs have real value for librarians working to connect readers with books. Taken with a grain of salt, and used appropriately, blurbs provide a quick way to judge a book and suggest what sort of familiar authors might have similarities to a new discovery.

I was left pondering the value of book blurbs for book groups. Do these pithy little claims have a place in our meetings? We’ve all seen enough overgenerous blurbs to know that some authors will seemingly praise anything to get press coverage or garner favor in the mutual admiration society. As with some full reviews, some blurbs seem to be written without going to the bother of reading the pesky book, at least not in full.

That said, blurbs can be a great way to get the snowball rolling or conversely, to recap at the end of the meeting. Read the blurbs aloud to begin and use them as a starting point for conversation. Read them at the end of the meeting to launch a round of “what’s your final opinion of the book?” comments. You might also discuss whether those who contributed the blurbs were well fitted to judge the particular work, or if other authors or public figures might have been better matches with the book’s author or more appropriate commentators.

At the very least, if you are facilitating a book group, read the blurbs in advance and note some of the claims that they make about the book. Then keep them in your “back pocket” as tools to get the conversation back on track, as a way to put more eloquent words in the mouth of a struggling participant,  or just as fodder to enliven flagging discussion.


Leave a Reply



© 2014 Booklist Online. Powered by WordPress.
Quoted material should be attributed to:
Book Group Buzz (Booklist Online).




HOME | | AWARDS | GREAT READS | BLOGS | NEWSLETTERS | WEBINARS | MY ALERTS | MY LISTS | MY PROFILE | HELP | SUBSCRIBE
BOOKLIST PUBLICATIONS
American Library Association