Thursday, March 6, 2008

Cover Quotes

Today's the first of five drawings in my Lost Month of Giveaways. The response has been fantastic, and humbling. I picked up some fun Texas-themed stuff yesterday and feel like kicking off the month with a little taste of my corner of the world. There's still four more prizes to go, so be sure to enter (see post below for details).

I'm reading Alan Lightman's Ghost right now. Of course, I picked it up because of the book's premise about a modest, scientifically-oriented man who must come to terms with a supernatural encounter. Mr. Lightman's credentials as a theoretical physicist, MIT professor and celebrated novelist shed immediate light on the insight he would give his protagonist. Maybe, though, it was the fact that Salman Rushdie provided this quote of Lightman's work: "at once intellectually provocative and touching and comic and so very beautifully written."

The opening is so first person, it's almost disconcerting. Rather like breathing in the exhale of a paranoid man. So much so, and so different from what I normally read that I'm simultaneously tempted to put it down and hole myself in the corner and keep reading. I guess the praise for the novel is what keeps me going with it. How can I deny myself a further look at the "allegory of the birth of superstition" and the "sympathetic picture of the kind of people who are often mocked or patronized in novels"? Am I really so uncertain in my own tastes that I'll adopt those of Joyce Carol Oates above my own? Do quotes really have that much impact on the sales and reading habits of our audiences?

Will I stick with it? I'll let you know. For now, it's a great study in character immersion.

When was the last time you picked up a book and invested time in it based on a quote?

To read a great Alan Lightman interview, click here.


Sue L said...
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Sue L said...

LA asked: When was the last time you picked up a book and invested time in it based on a quote?

I'm not sure I put a lot of stock in cover quotes unless it's a quote from one of my personal favorite authors. I select new books mainly on the basis of already knowing their work - either through previously published works, or through working with them through RWA or other critique groups. Or through the recommendation of friends. I've found it's more a matter of personal tastes and favorite themes and quirks more than anything else and unless you know the recommender likes the kind of stuff you like, it doesn't mean a lot. :)

About the only other thing that will hook me is a fantastic opening. I don't mean just a line or two because I'll read more than that before I buy, but I've bought two books recently that had the first thousand or so words online and I clicked and bought because the excerpt held me enthralled.