Just because: a few words about blurbing.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, a blurb is a quote that goes on the back or front of a book, theoretically from An Author You’ve Heard Of, praising the book to high heaven. A few sample blurbs from books I have laying around my desk include: “Nick McDonnell is the real thing” from Hunter S. Thompson on McDonnell’s Twelve, and “Cynthia Kaplan is very funny…when she writes about what’s on her mind…it feels like she’s reading mine” from Laura Zigman on Kaplan’s Why I’m Like This. The idea behind a blurb is that you, as a reader, may pick up one of these books and say, “Oh! I love Laura Zigman/Hunter S. Thompson. If she/he likes this book, I most likely will too!” And then you run to the checkout, book gripped in hand, end of story, everyone is happy.

When That Summer was coming out, my editor and I sent it to three of my former teachers, all respected Southern Writers, and asked for blurbs. Two of them wrote ones for me, the third we never heard back from. (Whatever.) It’s only been in the last year or so that anyone has asked ME to blurb a book, and I have to admit it’s tremendously flattering. But because I tend to overthink everything, it’s also sometimes a bit weird.

The first book I was asked to blurb I really liked. No problem. But then there were a couple since that well, I wasn’t as crazy about. Doesn’t mean they weren’t good, just not my thing. But I was stuck as to what to do. My southern manners (strange beasts as they are, since I have northern parents) always pipe up to say Be Nice No Matter What. On the other hand, do I want some teenage girl in Topeka to spend her babysitting money on a not-so-good book because she assumes I liked it and therefore it must be good?

So it’s tricky. I have to maintain some sort of integrity: if I claim to love everything, then when something truly great comes along, no one will pay the least bit of attention to my praises.

(That said: “Ryan McGee’s website is funny and topical. He says the things I wish I could on my site.”)

Fall break starts for me in a little over 24 hours. Bring it on……