Recently, I found out that my neighborhood library has a FREE GALLERY/UNCORRECTED PROOF BOX! (If I wasn’t so lazy, I would look up the HTML to make it sparkle in rainbow glitter.) Basically that box is for ARCs/uncorrected proofs/galleys, however else people call those things, that is in bad ethics to sell but makes you feel hipster to own. Being able to read a book months before its release date is tempting, especially when a book sounds so utterly amazing. Anyway, back to the magical galley box–there was only one boring-looking book when I first saw the box two weeks ago when I glanced into it, and I told myself “What in the world are you doing, Lilian? You have a bookcase full of books and ARCs…and books to review! Get your greedy little hands off that box and let other people take them.” The first time, the book inside looked boring. But I came across the box again today to find four books…and I took two: Timothy Halliman’s The Fear Artist (Soho Crime; July 2012) and Sandor Szathmari’s Voyage to Kazohinia (New Europe Books, distributed by Random House; July 2012).
I know by TBR pile is at skyscraper-level high and my bookcases stuffed to the point I fear taking a book out would mean I won’t be able to stuff it back in….BUT I couldn’t help myself, the book blurbs sounded SO AMAZING. Now, I am very much aware that book blurbs are generally endorsements written by friends of the authors, and if the writer is lucky enough, it’s some famous author their publicist was able to refer. This, topped off with the fact that there’s no way a reasonable marketer would allow a awful sounding blurb to be printed on the cover anyway makes book blurbs generally biased.
I know well that book blurbs are part of the marketing plan and to take them with a grain of salt, but HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO TURN DOWN A BOOK WITH “ ‘As if Bradbury and Orwell had been mixed with fresh wild berries.‘ “-Miklós Vámos, author of The Book of Fathers” (from the back cover of Voyage to Kazohinia) DOWN?
I don’t even know why I am believing this Miklós Vámos dude. I don’t know him. I haven’t met him. I haven’t read any of his 33 books (granted, they are in Hungarian.) I only know he has written 33 books because of the quick Wikipedia search I made five seconds ago upon writing this paragraph–just to make sure he wasn’t some person half the world knew about and I was the oddball. Yet I am letting this Hungarian stranger coerce me into picking the book up. What is this witchcraft called marketing?
What I do know is I love classic dystopian novels: Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, Orwell’s 1984, and my favorite–Huxley’s Brave New World. And fresh wild berries. Okay, I haven’t actually eaten fresh wild berries, but my wild berries body lotion smells wonderful. So logically, a novel with all these wonderful things must be EPIC.
Then if that blurb wasn’t enough, I saw this: “‘ ‘However you interpret it, most certainly a literary masterpiece.’ – William Auld.” How can I not have a “masterpiece” on my bookshelf? It’s like turning down a Van Gogh. I don’t know this William Auld guy either. But the other hand, if I find it any less that a masterpiece, I will be mad at him.
Oh yes, and Voyage to Kazohinia had a pretty cool cover, with a group of mindless people that kinda looked like Chinese, so maybe national pride had something to do with it too. (At first glance, I thought the cover read “Voyage to Kazchina”).
New Europe Books/Random House, you know how to sell your books.
And I just might hate you for it.