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Between the lines

Blurbs and trailers used to tease, not spoil. But these days they ruin things by telling you exactly what you are going to read or watch. We need a campaign for real blurbs

By Adam Mars-Jones   April 2008

What the world needs—and of course by “the world” I mean my diminutive sector of it—is a movement along the lines of the real ale lobby’s successful agitation against keg beer, to counteract another insipid gassy product flooding the marketplace. I’m talking about a campaign for real blurbs.

A draught blurb doesn’t spoil the reader’s appetite by giving too much away, and it reproduces in its malty-hoppy tone something of the book itself. A keg blurb summarises plot, whether baldly or fancily, and scatters a few standard epithets around—the usual suspects being “funny,” “moving,” “unforgettable.” The teaser (draught) is being…

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