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A dazzling dictionary of book blurbs, filled with writing tips, literary folklore and publishing secrets
A TIMES BOOK OF THE YEAR
'A small masterpiece. There is something funny, notable or awe-inspiring on every single page’ Jenny Colgan, Spectator
A joyful celebration of books – the perfect gift for bibliophiles, word lovers and anyone who’s ever wondered, should you judge a book by its cover?
We love the words in books – but what about the words on them? How do they work their magic? Here is a book about the ways books entice us to read them: their titles, quotes, covers and, above all, blurbs – via authors from Jane Austen to Zadie Smith, writing tricks, classic literature, bonkbusters, plot spoilers and publishing secrets. It’s nothing less than the inside story of the outside of books.
And it answers questions like:
Why do some authors hate blurbs so much they burn their own books?
Should all adjectives be murdered?
Is blurbing sometimes maybe lying?
Is it true that (checks jacket) you need an animal on a book’s cover to make it a bestseller?
What are the most terrible blurbs of all time?
Join Penguin publishing word wizard Louise Willder – five thousand blurbs written, mostly avoiding the phrase ‘unputdownable tour-de-force’ – to discover why we should judge a book by its cover. Even this one. (It’s an unputdownable tour-de-force.)
‘The bookiest book about books you’ll ever read – I loved it’ Lucy Mangan
‘Truly delightful...I couldn’t have had more fun’ Benjamin Dreyer
‘Very funny, erudite and profound. A delight!’ Nina Stibbe
About the Author
Louise Willder has been a copywriter at Penguin Books for twenty-five years. During this time, she estimates she has produced about 5,000 blurbs. She doesn’t follow people round bookshops, willing them to buy books she’s written the copy for. Really, she doesn’t.
'A small masterpiece. There is something funny, notable or awe-inspiring on every single page. Some books simply slide into your life like good-humoured old friends. This is undoubtedly one of them.' — Jenny Colgan
‘Truly delightful… charming and gracefully learned… Louise Willder, a copywriter with decades of experience, brings so much joy and, indeed, enthusiasm to her book about books that anyone who revels in reading will find real enchantment here. I couldn’t have had more fun.’ — Benjamin Dreyer, author of the New York Times bestseller Dreyer’s English
‘The bookiest book about books you’ll ever read – I loved it.’ — Lucy Mangan, author of Bookworm
'A little marvel...consummately brilliant' — Daily Mail
‘Very funny, erudite and profound. A delight!’ — Nina Stibbe
‘I love this book’s sheer happiness and humanity. It is rich, wise and soul-awaking, exhilarating-like-the-snowman-flying-through-the-air-of-human-gloriousness. And, God, she's funny. Buy it, read it, give it.’ — Martin Latham, author of The Bookseller’s Tale
‘This total gem is an illuminating, dazzling, quirky, fascinating, erudite, thought-provoking, hilarious and totally essential celebration of the outside of books. Willder is my new style icon.’ — Caroline Sanderson, The Bookseller, Editor’s Choice
'Bookworms will devour this' — Good Housekeeping
‘Wise and witty...she is full of vim, blessed too with an unusual sense of enquiry, a comic turn of phrase and a talent for investigation into almost every nook and cranny of the business and pleasure of books.’ — Carmen Callil
‘This book is ace! A must-read for any and every writer or book-obsessed person!’ — Sophie Hannah
‘Jammed with funny, curious and stylish thoughts and insights, Blurb Your Enthusiasm will be loved by absolutely everybody with an obsessive interest in books and their appearance.’ — Simon Winder, author of Germania
'Studded with jewels' — Literary Review
‘Tracking the blurb through history, literary practices, authors’ lives, reading habits, and more, Willder opens up the world of wordplay that lies at the heart of writing and publishing.’ — Idler
‘Willder’s breezy book sweeps across publishing history, imbuing her research and professional expertise with the tantalizing thrill of dinner party gossip … so smart and witty that you barely realize how much she is teaching about writing’ — Ron Charles
‘Delightful … charming … this book feels like the surprising pleasure of a mimosa with breakfast or a bawdy song after dinner… Willder is the perfect guide’ — Carrie Callaghan
‘Uproarious, gossipy and utterly fascinating: a masterclass in how to judge a book by its cover. It makes words seem weird and wild again.’ — Henry Eliot, author of The Penguin Classics Book
‘For anyone who needs or wants to use words persuasively, this is the most enjoyable masterclass you’ll ever read.’ — Rob Williams, screenwriter of Killing Eve and The Victim
'A zingy compendium… A crisp reminder of how profoundly words can affect us.’ — Sunday Business Post
‘Louise Willder’s witty guide Blurb Your Enthusiasm is a treat for insiders and book-world fans… Wilder celebrates the practice of turning literature into a catchy product that both illuminates people about a book and retains the book’s mystique.’ — Foreword Reviews
‘A delight… She is a delightful and amusing guide to the subject. One for the book lover in your life.’ — Herald (Glasgow)
‘[Willder] is a charming guide not just to blurbs, but to first lines, hatchet jobs, puffs … I couldn’t, as the cliché goes, put it down.’ — Laura Freeman