Blurbese waxing

The Universal Translator is applied to book reviews for the first time:

Ever wonder what editors, publishers and critics mean when they describe books as “lyrical,” “provocative” or “ripped from the headlines”? Let industry veterans explain it to you.

“lyrical” = “not much happens” (Peter Ginna, publisher, Bloomsbury Press)

“provocative” = “about race/religion” (Mark Athitakis, critic)

“ripped from the headlines” = “no original plot line” (Jacqueline Deval, author and publicist)

At least three dozen more await you at the link.

(Via this Nancy Friedman tweet.)


  1. fillyjonk »

    24 August 2011 · 12:08 pm

    Huh, they don’t have “destined to be a classic!” which I always assume means, “We hope we can sucker enough people to cover the advance we paid, before word gets around as to how terrible the book is”

  2. nightfly »

    24 August 2011 · 1:01 pm

    “edge-of-your-seat thrill ride” – all set pieces, no actual plot; will be made into a movie by Jerry Bruckheimer by next summer

    “master of suspense” – three hundred pages of setup, seven paragraphs of denoument

    “twists and turns” – made up as the author went along

  3. McGehee »

    24 August 2011 · 1:21 pm

    “twists and turns” – made up as the author went along

    I resemble that remark.

  4. Nicole »

    24 August 2011 · 5:11 pm

    Love these!

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