To blurb or not to blurb: a necessary evil?

Too much good stuff to miss in the upcoming NYT Sunday Book Review. I won’t be blogging everyday once I get this blog rolling (though I will aim for a fresh Q & A every Thursday, plus other small items throughout the week). But the subject of blurbing in this essay by Rachel Donadio is too good to pass up.

Do you read those authorial endorsements on the backs of books? Do you believe them? I’ve blurbed (honestly, I maintain) and been blurbed (honestly, I hope), though not as often as I’d like.

I’ve awaited yet other blurbs only to have them foiled (according to the potential blurbers) by unavoidable stresses and tragedies, including family deaths. Hard enough to bug some writer to read your unpublished work even before you realize they have a new baby, an aging parent, or some other crisis. Should we just leave these people alone and let them write? When the blurber is willing, does it mean the book is really out-of-this-world, or just that the blurber and blurbee are best friends, lovers, academic colleagues…?

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