Step away from the book blurb and no one gets hurt!

A small selection of the books I have read in the last 12 months!

If you’re a book person you’ve had this feeling: you’re coming to the end of your current read and you’re kind of freaking out because you haven’t got your next book ready and waiting.

Back in the day when I stuck firmly to the fantasy genre, this seldom happened to me. As we know fantasy novels generally come in threes (at least) and once you’ve found an author you love, you know you can read everything they write and come away happy. Also, fantasy authors seem to be quite prolific!

Somewhere along the line though I decided to spread my wings and start exploring other genres – fact, fiction, chick lit, thriller, historical romance, mystery – you name it, I was up for it.

I discovered one small problem though. A book blurb is the mortal enemy of my reading pleasure.

Does the book blurb tell me that this novel explores the after-effects of Johnny’s death on a close group of friends? Well Johnny had better be dead already when the book starts otherwise, instead of enjoying the book, I am waiting for Johnny to die. This is true for any event announced by the blurb of a book so now I refuse to go there and I certainly don’t read book reviews.

Which introduces another small problem. How the heck do I choose my next read if the simple pleasure of browsing through a bookshop is now a forbidden one?

Enter twitter. Conservatively, I would estimate I have bought 30 books off the back of a twitter recommendation in the last year (yes, I also read fast!). There’s not a lot you can tell me about a book in 140 characters other than ‘it’s a great read’ and really, that’s all I need to know.

How has this method of book-choosing worked for me? Quite well actually! I think I have been a little disappointed once only and that is not a bad hit rate when you consider I have been burnt MANY times by a book blurb that promised a lot but didn’t deliver.

Another advantage  of the twitter recommendation is that it introduces me to authors and genres that I wouldn’t experience otherwise. I am a creature of habit and I do tend to stick to what I know so twitter’s recommendations have forced me out of a large reading rut and re-introduced me to the joys of chick lit for one.

Best of all though is the divine experience of diving into a new book with little or no idea what to expect. It’s almost like panning for gold knowing you’re going to find something every single time and THAT is very cool indeed!

So what about you?

How do you choose your next read? Do you stick to a genre or author? Do you like knowing lots about a book before you will turn to page one? Or are you like me and stay right away from the blook blurb?


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  1. says

    I’m reading so many books, in various genres, at the same time that I have resorted to having a large basket next to my bed…and it’s over-flowing!! Aaaah…if only I could do the neat stacks and straight lines that are Kelly Exeter!

  2. says

    On impulse, I bought my first novel in quite a few years the other day – Labyrinth by Kate Moss. Have no idea what it will be like. For the past few years, my novel reading has been limited to kids novels (lucky they like fun books like Terry Pratchett and the Potter series) – I read them to the kids at bed times – then I was studying, so my time was spent on business books, which to me were like delicious chocolate!
    I tend to choose by reading the first few pages, if it doesn’t grab me, it’s back to the shelf :)

    • says

      I had a brief period where it was all business books on my bedside – the problem was that I only read before bed so when I put the book down, my mind would still be racing away. So now I can’t read business books any more and is why I have to listen to business podcasts during my runs instead!

  3. says

    I use a combo of book cover, title and blurb – a good cover or title is like the gatekeeper and has led me to many books i would never have found without following that instinct. I read a variety of genres but rarely delve in fantasy or mystery. I have some authors i love enough to give anything they write a shot no questions asked but do abandon ship if i am not drawn in by page 80 LOL (too many books take 60-80 pages to get good and then turn great so i have extended my breaking point). there are quite a lot of books still on my bookcase with a bookmark in them waiting for a 2nd chance – do you ever do that? give up and then give a 2nd try at a book you did not love the first time

    Can you tell i read a lot? LOL

    • says

      Ha ha yes Deb – I can definitely tell that you are a fellow avid reader!! And I do that too where I walk away from a book for a while if it’s just not doing it for me … and then return somewhere down the track when I am either desperate, or willing to give it another shot!!

  4. Karla says

    God I love a good read. I will take recommendations from anywhere, TV, blogs, friends, but yes I agree, AVOID the BLURB !

    There is a bit of a joke in our house about reading, my husband is an incredibly slow reader, not that he has much time to read but it just took him 3 months to complete a novel, I couldnt tell you how many books Ive polished off in that same time frame.

    So in the spirit of a good reccomendation, must read***The Confession*** by John Grisham, god I loved this book ! Not saying anything else !

    Currently reading The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks – yes as in the Zac Efron movie, its actually really good so far, if you ignore the hollywood movie hype.

    Happy Reading :)

    • says

      Ooh Carla – I love John Grisham but haven’t read one of his books for a while! Your suggestion has been noted!

      And I am glad to have found another dedicated ‘avoider of the blurb’!!