The Book Store Game

Here’s a fun new game that I just made up this morning. Go to a book store and find the New Releases section. It should be staring you in the face as soon as you walk through the door. Now, start reading the dust-jacket blurbs and inside-flap promotional fluff of as many books as you can as fast as you can and don’t stop until you find one that does not contain at least one of the following words:

  • luminous
  • haunting
  • compelling
  • spell-binding
  • provocative
  • astonishing

It’s a simple game, but not an easy one to win. It’s almost impossible these days to find a book that isn’t being touted as a stunning literary achievement or a modern masterpiece or an instant classic. I’ve read about so much luminous prose it’s a wonder I haven’t been blinded by the light.

Play the Book Store Game with a friend or race against the clock. Estimated time to complete: three hours. Mileage will vary. Some assembly required.

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4 Responses to The Book Store Game

  1. camille says:

    “Deeply satisfying” and “fresh new voice” are big too. I once highlighted every instance of “luminous” in the Penguin juvenile catalogs while placing an order and was thrilled to find 14 instances in one season’s buy alone. The reduction of decent editorial staff at most major houses has not only impacted the quality of books being published, but also the creativity with which they are sold. Most houses have one or two intern writing all catalog and jacket copy for the season so the language becomes predictible and lacking in precision. Hard to be precise when you haven’t read the book. I really dislike jacket copy.

  2. Sara says:

    how about “Numinous”? or is that just typo proliferated by bleary-eyed interns?

  3. Karl says:

    Hey Camille, I was hoping you’d write in with a few more words or phrases! Interesting insider account of a possible reason for all the repetition, too. (For those of you who don’t know her, Camille owns a great independent children’s book store in Grand Rapids, Michigan.)
    Sara, numinous definitely shows up on book jackets, too. And I bet it’s occasionally used appropriately. Reminds me, I once had numinous as a word of the day.

  4. aunt ginny says:

    Ah, numinous. I think I’ll borrow that for some of my art work. Almost as good as perfervid! I suppose it could be perfervidly numinous! I’ll work on that!

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