Style Saturday (June 16): Summaries

Style Saturday is a meme hosted by me where each week I present a prompt about reading style and explain my answer. Feel free to join in with your answer in the comments or leave a link to your Style Saturday on your blog.

I desperately need ideas!

This week: How important are book summaries to you? How close does the summary need to be to the book?

Summaries are pretty important to me. I don’t know every book out there so I look to the summary of a book to help me decide if it’s right for me. I want one that gives me a hint about what’s going on with the book but I don’t want it to give everything away. Just enough to get me interested.

I hate when summaries don’t line up with the book. I don’t remember what book it was but semi-recently I read a book that was nothing like the summary described. Thankfully the book ended up being enjoyable but I was really annoyed. To me that’s false and misleading advertising. Don’t tell me one thing only to change it to something else. That’s a surefire way to get me to dislike a book.

How about you?

15 thoughts on “Style Saturday (June 16): Summaries

  1. Well, I’m the type that is willing to delve into a book knowing nothing about it if its cover is pretty enough or if someone recommends me it. And I tend to forget whatever the summary said by the second chapter, so I don’t mind it. I’d like to think I know what books i like…but I am also up for surprises, so sometimes I ignore summaries altogether.
    I guess I don’t really “trust” because I know they are written to sell the book summaries..just like I don’t trust the quotes on book covers (even though I still fall prey to them).

  2. All I want the summary to tell is what kind book it is. For example, if it is fantasy book I want to know if it is more Tolkien style story – elfs, orks, goblins, lots of magic and so on, or not, maybe middle age story about witching, or about time traveling. But I don’t read summery often, because often it tells only how exciting the story is and that I def. gonna like it :E

  3. Me too, I HATE when summaries are misleading! I feel like suing for fraud more often than not. I really do think people need to put more thought into their synopses, especially in the YA genre, because after a while they start bleeding into each other and more often than not, they only need to change character names to describe a different book.

    • YES. I’ve been noticing that too. It’s almost like they’re playing Mad Libs with the summaries and changing certain words/names and a few other key words.

  4. I agree with you. Summaries also affect my decision whether they would fit my preference or not. If the author is new to me, I’ll read the summary first. Sometimes, I find myself reading it several times and thinking very hard if it’s worth the read. More often than not, this is the time where reviews would play a significant role in my decision.

    However, if the author is an auto-buy for me, I would only read the summary for the sake of satisfying my curiosity. Haha!

  5. I almost completely agree with what you said. I do want a summary to catch me somehow – or leave me with the feeling of needing to read a page or two in the book to see if I like the writing style. I tend to read a few pages before reading the book rather than the back summary or blurb though so who knows!

  6. I usually glance at the summary as a filter–if it just doesn’t fit my taste I move on (plus, in most cases I assume it was written by a copywriter who was briefed to shape it for a particular market). But for me the clincher is the first paragraph. That’s when I know if the book is worth trying. That, and reviews from trusted sources. If I start with a review and then check out the first few lines, I rarely even read the summary on the book itself.

    • Wow, that interesting that you can not look at the summary! I always find it interesting reading summaries of books that I know the story. It’s fun to see how someone can compress everything into 1/2 paragraphs.

  7. I read summaries just to get a hint of what type of book it is, but the jacket blurbs are often misleading since they’re for marketing and sometimes play up the least important parts of books. I depend more on reviews or recommendations, or just go ahead and try the book if the subject really catches my interest.

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