Whenever I start reading a book, the first thing I do is read the blurb – on the back cover, the inside flap and the praises showered on the book and the writer by different reviewers and writers. I do it out of a force of habit. Most of the time the praise is glowing and exaggerated and not interesting. But once in a while, I stumble upon a comment which is beautiful – because of the language the reviewer has used – or which makes me nostalgic or makes me smile. Most of these praises are sung in honour of the author or the book or in the case of biographies, the personality on whom the book is based on. Whenever I have discovered these delightful gems, I have felt that these short lines offer an education in the art of praise in its most refined form.
I thought I will share the pleasure I get from these delightful gems which showcase the art of praise. So, here are some of the best ones that I saw recently. Hope you enjoy reading them.
“Everything that has been said about Le Guin – that she is a lush prose stylist, that she is a poet in every line, that her books make readers think and thinkers read – is here on display in her newest Hainish novel. It is elegant, elegaic, enormously compressed…and simply pulls the readers along. Not in the hobbledehoy pace of major page-turners but in the graceful elliptical manner of one of the Old Tellers.”- Jane Yolen, author of Briar Rose
(on Ursula Le Guin’s novel ‘The Telling’ as quoted in the first page of Le Guin’s ‘The Left Hand of Darkness’)
“Critics have variously likened him to Raymond Carver, Raymond Chandler, Arthur C. Clarke, Don DeLillo, Philip K. Dick, Bret Easton Ellis and Thomas Pynchon – a roster so ill assorted as to suggest Murakami is in fact an original.”
- New York Times
(as given in the back cover of Haruki Murakami‘s ‘The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle’)
“There were many rumours about Keith, and they were all true…”
- Richie Benaud on Keith Miller
(as given in the back cover of ‘Keith Miller : The Life of a great all-rounder’ by Roland Perry)