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Judging a book by the back cover

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A blurb is a short summary or some words of praise accompanying a creative work, usually referring to the words on the back of the book but also commonly seen on DVD and video cases, web portals and news websites. (from Wikipedia)

If you’re thinking of buying someone a book for Christmas (or even perhaps as an early St. Jordi present) and are not sure what they want, you’ll probably end up reading the blurb on the back cover. To start your training, here are synopses and comments on two popular novels, taken from the UK online bookstore Waterstones. We’ve highlighted the most important words and structures in bold 🙂

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Image via Wikipedia

1 – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Synopsis

Forty years ago, Harriet Vanger disappeared from a family gathering on the island owned and inhabited by the powerful Vanger clan. Her body was never found, yet her uncle is convinced it was murder – and that the killer is a member of his own tightly-knit but dysfunctional family. He employs disgraced financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist and the tattooed, truculent computer hacker Lisbeth Salander to investigate. When the pair link Harriet’s disappearance to a number of grotesque murders from forty years ago, they begin to unravel a dark and appalling family history. But the Vangers are a secretive clan, and Blomkvist and Salander are about to find out just how far they are prepared to go to protect themselves. A violent and bloody thriller; a sinister family saga; a mystery of massive financial fraud; an ambiguous and haunting love story – this is a genuinely complex and unique contribution to crime fiction.

Quotes

What a cracking novel! I haven’t read such a stunning thriller debut for years. Brilliantly written and totally grippingMinette Walters.
I doubt you will read a better book this year – Val McDermid.

Brilliantly written – the characters are superbly drawn and the story grips from first to last – Mail On Sunday.

Cover of

Cover of The Lost Symbol

2 – The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

Synopsis

WHAT WAS LOST WILL BE FOUNDWashington DC: Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned at the last minute to deliver an evening lecture in the Capitol Building. Within moments of his arrival, however, a disturbing object – gruesomely encoded with five symbols – is discovered at the epicentre of the Rotunda. It is, he recognises, an ancient invitation, meant to beckon its recipient towards a long-lost world of hidden esoteric wisdom. When Langdon’s revered mentor, Peter Solomon – philanthropist and prominent mason – is brutally kidnapped, Langdon realizes that his only hope of saving his friend’s life is to accept this mysterious summons and follow wherever it leads him. Langdon finds himself quickly swept behind the facade of America’s most historic city into the unseen chambers, temples and tunnels which exist there. All that was familiar is transformed into a shadowy, clandestine world of an artfully-concealed past in which Masonic secrets and never-before-seen revelations seem to be leading him to a single impossible and inconceivable truth. A brilliantly composed tapestry of veiled histories, arcane icons and enigmatic codes, The Lost Symbol is an intelligent, lightning-paced thriller that offers surprises at every turn. For, as Robert Langdon will discover, there is nothing more extraordinary or shocking than the secret which hides in plain sight

Quotes

The wait is over. The Lost Symbol is here–and you don’t have to be a Freemason to enjoy it…THRILLING AND ENTERTAINING, LIKE THE EXPERIENCE ON A ROLLER COASTER‘ – Los Angeles Times

‘Dan Brown brings sexy back to a genre that had been left for dead…His code and clue-filled book is dense with exotica…amazing imagery…and the nonstop momentum that makes The Lost Symbol impossible to put down. SPLENDID…ANOTHER MIND-BLOWING ROBERT LANGDON STORY’ – Janet Maslin, New York Times

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Strange Random Language Fact:
The word “Checkmate” in chess comes from the Persian phrase “Shah Mat,” which means, “the King is Dead”

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