Hey Shawna, I loved your blog last week about how you choose your next book. It made me honestly laugh out loud as I could picture you looking through your bookshelves debating which one was THE one. It also got me thinking, how do I choose my next book?
I’d love to say that I put all this time and care into choosing the next world that I’m going to step into, but honestly, I’m over here just winging it (book choosing, eyeliner, life).
Generally speaking, I like to choose a book I most want to avoid spoilers for. When I was working at the library I got to have amazing bookish conversations all the time. They varied from little kids telling me about their new favorite book in the Magic Tree House series to teenagers sharing an amazing YA Fantasy book they found (knowing that I would love it, I’m genre obsessed).
In the world of bookish friends, I feel like “reveal no spoilers” should be a sacred rule.
I sat there. Flabbergasted. The ending was spoiled, after all, I was NEXT on the holds list.
I didn’t say anything to her in that moment. I didn’t want tarnish this amazing 13 year-olds love for reading with a negative librarian experience. But I was floored. I could never even read the book. The magic of FINDING OUT was missing for me. I know that the story is in the journey, but I just felt so defeated when I tried to start reading Allegiant that I gave up.
In order to never relive that same experience, I avoid spoilers at all costs. If someone brings up a book I haven’t read I quickly (rudely?) interrupt with a loud, “I haven’t read it yet!” Generally, they look at me like I’ve lost my mind because most readers hold true to the rule and don’t plan on giving anything away, but I’m just not willing to risk it.
If a book has come out that I haven’t read, ESPECIALLY if it is a part of a series, I’ll unfollow fan pages on Facebook and Instagram, I’ll avoid going onto GoodReads, I’ll even avoid friends who have already read it in case something was to slip out (sorry friends, I love you!).
Recently I was reviewing an advanced reader’s copy of a book and the first three reviews on GoodReads were all so filled with spoilers that I couldn’t believe my eyes. These are professional readers; they should know better. Luckily I’d already finished reading it, but why would someone think that was okay? The general population hadn’t even been given the opportunity to read the book! I digress (well, actually I used the “Flag” button to indicate the review contained spoilers, thank-you GoodReads for looking out for us readers).
In order to save anyone I’m having a bookish conversation with from this same fate, I follow a general guideline: anything within the first 50 pages can be chatted about conversationally. This isn’t true for novellas. This isn’t true for children’s books. This isn’t true for books where something massive happens in the first 50 pages. This isn’t true for book two and on in a series. This isn’t true if someone has just told you they are looking forward to reading it.
If someone is wanting to read the book … you can say NOTHING except confirm that it is fantastic and that you can’t wait to chat about it together (if it is terrible you can’t say that either, well, I mean, you can, but you probably shouldn’t). If they are going to read it already, they don’t need me to convince them of its greatness by spilling the excitement from the first pages.
It isn’t just books that I hate spoilers for, it is everything. You should have seen me avoiding the news when the last Game of Thrones season came out. I mean, why is the news reporting on this magical world anyway?
So when it comes to bookish conversations, I never want to be the one spoiling an ending for someone else … and I don’t want to have the ending spoiled for me. How do you all avoid spoilers? Let us know in the comments section and we might feature your idea in an upcoming podcast!