Short promotional written piece
- I have blurbed so many books that they fill a bookcase in my apartment.
- Let’s be clear: blurbs are not a distinguished genre. In 1936 George Orwell described them as “disgusting tripe,” quoting a particularly odious example from the Sunday Times: “If you can read this book and not shriek with delight, your soul is dead.” He admitted the impossibility of banning reviews, and proposed instead the adoption of a system for grading novels according to classes, “perhaps quite a rigid one,” to assist hapless readers in choosing among countless life-changing masterpieces. More recently Camille Paglia called for an end to the “corrupt practice of advance blurbs,” plagued by “shameless cronyism and grotesque hyperbole.” Even Stephen King, a staunch supporter of blurbs, winces at their “hyperbolic ecstasies” and calls for sincerity on the part of blurbers.
- Alan Levinovitz: A Brief History of the Blurb. The Millions (the millions.com) (1 February 2012).
- Many writers who have hit the best-seller lists or won major awards have a strict policy of not writing blurbs.
- Bill Morris: To Blurb or Not to Blurb?. The Millions (themillions.com) (15 February 2011).
- In 2002, I’d finally finished my own decade-long basic science project, and I was getting ready to publish my book A New Kind of Science. In recognition of his early support, I’d mentioned Murray in my long list of acknowledgements in the book, and I thought I’d reach out to him and see if he’d like to write a back-cover blurb. (In the end, Steve Jobs convinced me not to have any back-cover blurbs: “Isaac Newton didn’t have blurbs on the Principia; nor should you on your book”.)
- Stephen Wolfram: Remembering Murray Gell-Mann (1929–2019), Inventor of Quarks. Stephen Wolfram Blog (blog.stephenwolfram.com) (30 May 2019).