One gets used to Overspeak in book blurbs. One must. Still, it bothers me, despite lowered expectations, that the term "hilarious" is used to describe the book I'm reading right now. It says on the cover: "This book is hilarious. I laughed till I wet myself." (Okay, I invented that last bit, but you know the sort of over-the-top comment I refer to.)

The book is not hilarious. It isn't even particularly funny. As a matter of fact, I don't think the author MEANT it to be funny. What it is is a run-of-the-mill mystery, the type we read all the time because we read mysteries. And isn't run-of-the-mill okay? Can everything we pick up be the be-all and end-all of modern fiction? Why did some blurber think he had to say the book was hilarious?

I guess for the same reason that all Hollywood actresses are stunning, all stain removers are amazing, and all soldiers are heroic. We've lost the will to describe anything in terms of normalcy. It should be all right to say simply, "It was a good book. I enjoyed reading it." Not that that is likely to happen.

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Comment by I. J. Parker on June 4, 2010 at 4:21am
Yes, it's all advertising. And who's to say it's false when a book is involved?
Comment by Dana King on June 4, 2010 at 2:30am
Don't forget: All mattress sales are "blow-outs."
Comment by I. J. Parker on June 4, 2010 at 1:41am
Run-of-the-mill is not good enough for me. Chances are excellent that it will bore me. Blurbs are by definition a bit over the top. I enjoy my own but have a horrible time writing them myself.

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