One-Minute Book Reviews

October 23, 2009

Backscratching in Our Time – Aleksandar Hemon and Gary Shteyngart

The latest in a series of occasional posts on authors who praise each other’s books

Aleksandar Hemon on Gary Shteyngart’s Absurdistan:
Absurdistan is not just a hilarious novel, but a record of a particular peak in the history of human folly. No one is more capable of dealing with the transition from the hell of socialism to the hell of capitalism in Eastern Europe than Shteyngart, the great-great grandson of one Nikolai Gogol and the funniest foreigner alive.”

Gary Shteyngart on Aleksandar Hemon’s Love and Obstacles:

“Hemon can’t write a boring sentence, and the English language (which he adopted at a late age) is the richer for it.”

The “Backscratching in Our Time” category on this site has other examples of logrolling by contemporary authors.

October 16, 2009

Backscratching in Our Time — Barbara Ehrenreich and Thomas Frank

The latest in a series of occasional posts on authors who praise each other’s books

Barbara Ehrenreich on Thomas Frank’s What’s the Matter With Kansas?:

“What’s the Matter with Kansas? is the most insightful analysis of American right-wing pseudopopulism to come along in the last decade. As for Kansas: However far it’s drifted into delusion, you’ve got to love a state that could produce someone as wickedly funny, compassionate, and non-stop brilliant as Tom Frank.”

Thomas Frank on Barbara Ehrenreich’s Bright-sided:

“We’re always being told that looking on the bright side is good for us, but now we see that it’s a great way to brush off poverty, disease, and unemployment, to rationalize an order where all the rewards go to those on top. The people who are sick or jobless—why, they just aren’t thinking positively. They have no one to blame but themselves. Barbara Ehrenreich has put the menace of positive thinking under the microscope. Anyone who’s ever been told to brighten up needs to read this book.”

More examples of reciprocal blurbing appear in the archives for “Backscratching in Our Time,” inspired by “Logrolling in Our Time” in the old Spy magazine. “Backscratching” posts appear periodically on Fridays. If you’d like to nominate authors for it, please use the e-mail address on the “Contact” page on this site.

October 9, 2009

Backscratching in Our Time – Mitch Albom and Harold Kushner

Filed under: Backscratching in Our Time,News — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 12:56 am
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The latest in a series of occasional posts on authors who praise each other’s books

Mitch Albom on Harold Kushner’s Living a Life That Matters:
“A wonderful, much-needed primer on the truly important things in life. Many thanks to Harold Kushner for reminding us what we should never forget.”

Harold Kushner on Mitch Albom’s Have a Little Faith:
“Once again, Mitch Albom has given us a heart-warming true story, about the power of love to triumph over death, and the power of faith to guide us through the worst adversity.”

These blurbs seem to be another example of a first principle of backscratching: The Less They Need It, The More They Do It. After a series of bestsellers and a movie of his Tuesdays With Morrie, why does Mitch Albom need blurbs?

To read more examples of backscratching by authors, click here. One-Minute Book Reviews welcomes nominations for this this series, which was inspired by “Logrolling in Our Time” in the old Spy magazine. To suggest authors who should be included, please use the e-mail address on the “Contact” page on this site.

October 8, 2009

More Horse-Trading by Authors in ‘Backscratching in Our Time’ — Tomorrow

Filed under: Backscratching in Our Time,News — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 5:05 pm
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A Delete Key Awards finalist returns tomorrow in the latest installment in the series “Backscratching in Our Time,” which calls attention to authors who praise each other’s books.

October 2, 2009

Backscratching in Our Time – Nora Roberts and Sarah Wendell

Filed under: Backscratching in Our Time — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 12:33 am
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The latest in a series of posts on authors who praise each other’s work

Nora Roberts on Sarah Wendell and Candy Tan’s Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches’ Guide to Romance Novels:

“Funny, irreverent, insightful, and thorough, this guide zeroes in on the joys and woes of the romance genre.”

Sarah Wendell on Ethan Quinn, the hero of Nora Roberts’s Rising Tides, in Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches’ Guide to Romance Novels:

“Another Roberts hero. I love them. A quiet yet deeply intense man who hides turbulent and overwhelming emotions, Ethan is ferocious about a very specific group: those people he considers his family. Again, that intensity, plus healing and recovery from deep emotional harm, creates a deeply memorable hero.”

© 2009 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved
www.twitter.com/janiceharayda

September 25, 2009

Backscratching in Our Time – Lisa Kleypas and Candy Tan

The latest in an occasional series of posts on authors who praise each other’s work

Lisa Kleypas on Sarah Wendell and Candy Tan’s Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches’ Guide to Romance Novels:

“A high-octane, hilarious, and revelatory look at the romance genre … This sparkling book is required reading. It’s too much fun to be missed!”

Candy Tan on the hero of Lisa Kleypas’s Only With Your Love, in Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches’ Guide to Romance Novels:

“Justin is my favorite guilty pleasure. … He’s my ultimate fantasy hero, and by that I mean he’s someone I desire strictly as a fantasy.”

© 2009 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.
www.twitter.com/janiceharayda

September 20, 2009

Another Installment of ‘Backscratching in Our Time’ Coming Friday

Filed under: Backscratching in Our Time,News — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 12:23 am
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On Friday I’ll have another post in my “Backscratching in Our Time” series, which calls attention to authors who praise each other’s books. In the meantime, I found an interesting comment on this sort of logrolling on the site for literary agent Nathan Bransford.

Lauren Baratz-Logsted wrote a lively guest post for Bransford about dust-jacket blurbs that dealt in part with the question: Whom should you ask for these? She advised against putting an all-points-bulletin on your Web site* seeking people who might like to compare you to Lord Byron or Joan Didion, then added:

“I’ve also seen novices offer publicly, ‘Hey, if anyone wants to blurb my book, I’ll blurb theirs!’ Again, please don’t do this. It’s unprofessional in so many ways. For starters, there’s already an unpleasant impression in some circles that blurbing is a corrupt process involving log-rolling and political back-scratching and every other awful name you can think up for it. Don’t help perpetuate that negative perception. Further, let’s say Ian McEwan or Nora Roberts – or why not both? – are the sort of authors you’re going after. No offense, but do you really think it’s going to influence their decision, the promise that you’ll gladly blurb them in return?”

If you’re wondering why it’s unprofessional, the simplest answer is: It’s a conflict of interest — or the appearance of one — and as such could damage your credibility and that of the other party to the horse-trading.

*I agree with this only under some circumstances, but Baratz-Logsted made a good case for her view.

© 2009 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.
www.janiceharayda.com

September 7, 2009

‘Well-Known Name’ Asks for $1,000 to Blurb a Book, Author Claims

A potential blurber seeks cash for his labors …

A “well-known name” asked for a $1,000 “honorarium” to give a blurb for a book, author David Macaray claims on the site for the Poynter Institute, the Florida school and resource center for journalists.

Horse-trading has existed in blurbing for as long as I’ve been following the publishing industry, and I’ve posted examples in the “Backscratching in Our Time” series on this site.  But until now I haven’t heard of anyone asking for cash for praise for a comment that would appear on the dust-jacket of a book or elsewhere — which isn’t to say it it hasn’t happened. A hat tip to Bill Williams for letting me know about this one.

June 25, 2009

Backscratching in Our Time – Stephen McCauley and Elinor Lipman

Filed under: Backscratching in Our Time — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 10:33 pm
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The latest in an occasional series of posts on authors who praise each other’s books

Stephen McCauley on Elinor Lipman’s The Family Man:

“Elinor Lipman’s patented blend of wit, whimsy, and love for her characters makes every sentence of The Family Man shine. The book is a delightful Manhattan romp that offers 300 pages of pure reading pleasure.”

Elinor Lipman on Stephen McCauley’s Alternatives to Sex:
Alternatives to Sex is my favorite of Stephen McCauley’s wonderful novels. This is genius at work, but genius of the best, most readable kind: witty, lovable, and so amazingly smart about love in many forms — about friendship, about marriage, about real estate.”

The “Backscratching in Our Time” archives have other examples of well-known authors who blurb each other’s books. Do you you know of writers should be included in this series? If so, you can nominate them by sending an e-message to the address on the “Contact” page for this site.

April 17, 2009

Backscratching in Our Time – Haven Kimmel and Suzanne Finnamore

Filed under: Backscratching in Our Time,News — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 1:30 pm
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Haven Kimmel on Suzanne Finnamore’s Split: A Memoir of Divorce (Dutton, 2008):
“So perfectly right. I loved it, loved it, loved it. P.S. Loved it.”

Haven Kimmel on Suzanne Finnamore’s novel The Zygote Chronicles (Grove, 2002): “The Zygote Chronicles is tender and funny and perfect, and from now on I’m going to read it instead of having more children.”

Suzanne Finnamore on Haven Kimmel’s Something Rising: A Novel: (Free Press, 2005)
“It is impossible to put down, it is impossible to keep from laughing out loud, and it is impossible to imagine a more compelling and poignant coming-of-age story than Something Rising. Shades of Eudora Welty and Flannery O’Connor grace the text…her characters breathe and walk among us, haunting and glorious in their imperfection. It’s official: Haven Kimmel is a national treasure.”

This is the latest in an occasional series of posts on authors who praise each other’s books, inspired by “Logrolling in Our Time” in the old Spy magazine. You can find other examples of literary backscratching in the Backscratching in Our Time category. One-Minute Book Reviews welcomes suggestions about authors who should appear in this series.

© 2009 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.
www.janiceharayda.com and www.twitter.com/janiceharayda

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