Pick up a novel at the ol' Barney & Friends and check out the blurbs. Most likely they will look like this:

"Riveting...a thoughtful look into fear...that everyone has experienced."

"Haunting...really a great read."

"More than just a book...this is an...experience."

One could say these are excerpts from a larger review. But is this much patchwork really necessary to fish out a complementary phrase? Was the review that good in the first place? Is this some pseudo-intellectual marketing technique?


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I think blurbs are now manufactured in this vein because in the older days, there were not as many blurbs as we know them today, but letters written on behalf of authors from which such nuggets were carefully mined. In more recent times, the letters have largely gone by the wayside in favor of a few self-conscious phrases ... but the ellipses have stayed on as a fraudulent affectation from that bygone era. Somehow, I think people reason, the blurb looks more authentic if it looks like it wasn't written specifically to be exactly what it is.

Or something.
the blurb looks more authentic if it looks like it wasn't written specifically to be exactly what it is.

I think you are right, Jim. I do tend to read the blurbs on book jackets, though I take them with a grain of salt (a BIG one) because I know they are all hype and hyperbole, and that goes for almost every kind of book that gets into print. One of the blurbs on the back of a book of POETRY from a prestigious small press describes the book as "simply furiously miraculous." You want to talk about self-conscious! At least 'Haunting.....a great read " and "Riveting....a thoughtful look into fear" make sense! :)
LOL... You should read some music reviews where the reveiwer has the space for only 60 words or less. They are much confusing and perplexing than, "Simply furiusly miraculous."

The ellipses don't bother me. I've personally never been swayed by a blurb. They mean next to nothing becasue the writers giving them out usually don't have much time to put thought into them; they themselves have books to work on, so they don't have time to read 10 manuscripts and give well thought out blurbs.

And since when did GQ, Denver Post, Miami Herald, Rocky Mountain News, Houston Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, etc ... etc... etc... all know what I like? Or have my best interest at heart?

It's almost as bad as the movie clips that state, "Roger Ebert says this is the movie of the year!" And I'm like Roger hasn't been able to speak for years, and secondly, it's only February there is a whole lot of year left and the movie isn't out for another 6 months!
BTW - blurbs are the things on the back or jacket flap that tell you what the books is about.
The other-author or review quotes on books are not called blurbs.
Well, not in the real world.
To the best of my knowledge quotes from reviewers and authors in praise of a book are also called blurbs. Perhaps this is casual usage, but it's common.
I see that the definition of "blurb" refers to a "short publicity notice". This would then apply to the quotes on the backs of books. Perhaps we need to find another name for the summary of content on the Jacket flaps.
bloody americans causal a lot of common bad english
Funny!
I used ellipses to cut out the part I don't want you to read, which read "dubiously motivated." First the blurb (which sounds like I'm a great writer) and then the whole review which casts much doubt on such a premise:


"...relax and enjoy Getze’s punchy dialogue and colorful characters—Bluefish’s henchman Max is an especially pungent creation—and his hilarious hangdog protagonist’s dissolute charm...
If Elmore Leonard had gotten a securities license, this is the book he might have written."

BIG MONEY
Author: Getze, Jack
Review Date: FEBRUARY 22, 2008
Publisher:Hilliard & Harris (236 pp.)
Publication Date: March 1, 2008
ISBN (paperback): 1-59133-238-9
Category: AUTHORS
Classification: FICTION

In this jaunty follow-up to Big Numbers (2007), a scruffy stockbroker returns to tangle with mobsters, women and his own big mouth.

The good news, as the story opens, is that the hero is in the company of a gorgeous naked lady. The bad news is that she’s pointing a shotgun at him. It’s a typical predicament for Austin Carr, a semi-shady New Jersey financial professional temporarily in charge of Shore Securities while his boss is on vacation. But market fluctuations are the least of Carr’s worries. He’s being extorted into opening a money-laundering account for local crime boss Bluefish; an auditor who was investigating his company has turned up murdered; a fetching state police captain figures he’s the key to her organized-crime probe; and his boss’s mother has been picked up for fixing her church bingo game. Carr is continually getting into trouble over his weakness for breasts, his penchant for self-incriminating statements and his vestigial moral sensibility, which, like an appendix, makes itself felt at inconvenient times. On the plus side, he’s got his noble Mexican buddy Luis, a boyish grin for placating angry females, an occasional glimmer of perceptiveness and a stock salesman’s gift for closing the deal, even with people who are preparing to throw his weighted body into the ocean. The way to read this book is to let the hectic, Byzantine, dubiously motivated plot just roll over you without wondering much about who’s doing what to whom, or why. That way you can relax and enjoy Getze’s punchy dialogue and colorful characters—Bluefish’s henchman Max is an especially pungent creation—and his hilarious hangdog protagonist’s dissolute charm.

If Elmore Leonard had gotten a securities license, this is the book he might have written.

I think it's called "Information Management" JG
There's also the fact that the jacket has limited space, plus reviews are copyrighted material, from which you are allowed to take an excerpt but you're not supposed to use the whole thing without permission. And if the review was not favorable, you can still pick out a few words and phrases that make it sound like it was positive, even if the reviewer actually panned the book.
When I first signed a publishign contrct I was thrilled - then I was asked if I knew anyone who could blurb the book. I didn't know anyone. I think these days many writers have taken workshops or classes with well-known writers and get to know them that way. I didn't know anyone.

But after my books started coming out I met other writers whose books were in the same territory - makes sense, people write what they like to read - and since then I've been able to ask a few for blurbs. Sometimes they come in a little long and need to be, um, "edited." Sometimes I post the whole thing on my blog. It's really quite a thrill to get a blurb from a writer you admire, just knowing they read your book is a big deal.

But it's a weird system that probably no one likes very much but it feels necessary.
What? Ellipsis is used to show something has been skipped. Quotes have to be accurate. You absolutely have to use ellipsis if you are leaving out something. There is no other option.

Now, since there is limited space for all the accolades a book receives, editors pick out only the most important phrases of high praise. That means parts of sentences get taken out. All perfectly normal and accurate.

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