Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Tuesday Talks | Book Synopses


Hey guys! Welcome to another Tuesday Talks. Thankfully I've found time this week to sit down and blog so hopefully I'll be posting more reviews and interviews soon, as well as more updates on the college life. Anyways, if you don't already know Tuesday Talks is this really awesome Goodreads group started by Janie and Janelle where we discuss book-related topics every week. Today we're going to be talking about book synopses.

Book synopses are the short summaries usually on the back of the book or on the inside cover that describe what the book is about. I have a theory about book summaries: it's that they never make the book sound interesting. It's usually some cliched and generic summary that's used as a marketing ploy to draw readers in. Don't believe me? Pick up the book nearest to you and read the summary out loud. Odds are that it says something about it being a New York Times Bestseller or that it's a timeless classic or an epic love story. I really believe that rarely, if ever, are synopses a good indication of the actual book.

For example, most of us know and love The Fault in Our Stars as a book past the traditional cancer love story. We love it for its quirky and sarcastic dialogue, as well as the complexities of the characters. Here's its synopsis:

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.

Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green's most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.


I really can't take this summary seriously when it refers to Augustus as "a gorgeous plot twist" in an attempt to market to a demographic of young girls.

Another thing I don't like about synopses are the blatant spoilers, especially in books of a series. There are the more subtle, obvious spoilers; like when a love story says that a couple falls in love in the synopsis. And then there are the spoilers to previous books, summarizing the entire series in a sentence to set the scene for the next book. The whole point of reading is to discover these facts on your own, regardless of how subtle they may be. Summarizing the entire book takes away the fun of going through the journey yourself.

Strangely that doesn't mean I don't read synopses. Unfortunately they're still a good way of deciding whether that book will be of interest to me. I just try not to determine the quality of the book by the quality of the synopsis.

What do you guys think? Do the benefits of a synopsis outweigh the negatives? Leave me some of the dumbest synopses you've found in the comments below!