We were sitting at the dinner table, talking about books we'd gotten/given as presents, and the tricky, sticky prospect of picking out a book for someone else. And we ended up talking about reading the back cover, and whether that can tell you anything at all about a book.
And Diana said, "If I see the word rollicking on the back cover, I know it's not a book for me," which left me filled with envy over both her self-knowledge, and the power with which it is wielded.
It got me thinking, too, about those back-cover words that tip the rest us off: Chestnut says awesome means it will be bad. My own off-putting terms are lapidary (ugh) and exquisite. Less troubling, but still suspicious, is elegiac.
I never realized it before she said it, but there are all sorts of code words that set me off. Really, it's like some backwards taste-identifying key. Though I feel I will never identify one so clearly damning as rollicking.
It's not just us, right? You guys have them too?