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Feb. 10th, 2017

Friday Story

Feb. 10th, 2017 10:27 am
radiantfracture: (writing)
It's been a long time since I wrote any fiction, so this is an exercise more than anything: physio for the imagination. A ten-minute story that assembled itself while I was in the shower.

I did not explain about freezers, but somehow the rumour reached the snow-person )


Audio version of this post here.
Herein I attempt some deduction.

My edition of Howards End is a decaying Penguin Modern Classics paperback once owned by a Warren Cocking. I don't think he would mind my publicizing this, since he wrote his name the inside front cover, followed by both his address and his phone number.

In which our hero spends a perhaps surprising amount of time describing a hypothetical felt pen. )

What I really came here to do, though, was to talk about the blurb on the back of the book. )

I can see what the blurbist is going for: you are meant to really value and appreciate this book, not just consume it. It's just that they seem to be telling you this while backing away, slowly and mournfully, into the void.

Here is someone else's entertaining mention of the self-same blurb (on a slightly earlier edition). In this blog post, Robin Stevens mentions "the 60s, era of charmingly hilarious back-cover blurbs", and a similarly misguided blurb for The Waves.3

Was that a thing? Was it just a Penguin thing? A British thing?4 I don't remember my other paperbacks of the era having anhedonic and passive-aggressive blurbs.

What I'm asking is -- where can I find more?


more footnotes )
3.So far searching for strange old book blurbs just finds me many, many sites about how to write a catchy blurb for your self-published book, and searching "The Waves back cover" gets me illustrated phone cases.
4. It seems very British indeed, in reflecting that distinctive double-negative-for-positive phrasing, e.g. "not unpleasant".

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