I’ve been writing fiction so long now that I’d almost forgotten about end notes, but I’ve been working on an essay about literary emotions that I’d like to get in the mail soon and now the time has come to sort out my citations. I know that you’re supposed to get your bibliographical information right the first time, but it’s hard to do because the first time around you don’t know what you’re really going to need and you’re in a hurry and you can always go back to the library and retrace your steps.
About two years ago I trolled through the paperback racks at the Galesburg Public Library looking for examples of the kind of review clips that publisher put on the back of paperback thrillers to entice readers. But when I went back to my notes a couple of days ago, I discovered a real mess. I had copied the same review-clip for two different novels; I hadn’t always noted the source of the clip; and I hadn’t kept bibliographical information about the books on which the clip appeared.
When I went back library to sort out this mess I discovered that one of the books was missing—a paperback that had probably fallen apart—and that I’d put down the wrong title for another book. A computer search turned up the Publishers Weekly review of the paperback book that had disappeared, but I couldn’t be one hundred percent sure of what exactly had been printed on the back cover. Time for interlibrary loan. I asked the reference librarian if we just ask the lending library to photocopy the back cover instead of sending the whole book, but we figured that would be too complicated because the system is not set up for that sort of request.
When I got home the bank statement had arrived, and I was glad to have something else to think about.
Here’s what I came up with:
“Extraordinarily suspenseful… Those with weak hearts may want to try some other novel altogether.”[i] “Delivers the shocks.”[ii] “MOVES LIKE A ROLLER COASTER WITHOUT BRAKES.”[iii] “Harrowing … terror builds and the ending … is a dizzying jolt.”[iv]
I still have to go back to the library to get the bibliographical information for Kill You Twice.
[i] Los Angeles Times on Lawrence Block’s All the Flowers Are Dying: A Matthew Scudder Crime Novel. New York: Harpertorch, 2005. The review is quoted on the back of the 2006 paperback edition.
[ii] The Miami Herald on Chelsea Cain’s Kill You Twice.
[iii] Denver Post on Dean Koontz’s The Husband. New York: Bantam Dell, 2006. On back of the paperback edition.
[iv] Publishers Weekly on Thomas H. Cook’s Mortal Memory. New York: Bantam, 1994.