Why I Spoil Books
I’ve noticed on blogs, Goodreads, and other book review sites that the reviewers often try to avoid spoiling the plot or giving away big chunks of the twists and turns. They do this by simply not writing about it or by giving a warning that they are about to do so and that those uninterested in knowing the ending before they begin should stop reading.
I appreciate this. I don’t like to know what will happen in a book before I read it. I don’t even like to read dust jackets because they often give away too much. I like to go into a book completely blind and be surprised by what it will bring. My husband, however, likes to know what will happen. We read all of the Harry Potter books as they came out, and whenever we came home to that Amazon package on our doorstep, we would dive and literally wrestle each other for it. We both wanted to read it first. He also wanted to look ahead to the ending and see who died or what happened. He wanted the reassurance of what was coming so that he could handle the anxiety of reading about getting there. I like the anticipation and anxiety. I always warned him not to reveal too much to me about what he’d learned by “cheating” and looking at the ending first.
Yet here on my blog, I spoil nearly every book I write about. I try to detail the plot, the major themes, and my connections to those ideas. I often include as many detail as I can remember, and I back it up with quotes that I mark while reading.
Why do I do this?
Well, it is for a selfish reason. It is because my blog is for me.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love having a community of followers. I like interacting with you. I appreciate your comments and ideas. I enjoy the conversations we have. I do have you in mind when I write. I enjoy watching my statistics rise and knowing that somebody is reading what I’m writing. I do write to the collective “you” as an audience, but ultimately, my audience is me.
What I mean by this is that I want to keep track of what I read in detail, and my blog has become one of the best ways to do so. Before I had this outlet, I read books, returned them to the library, and then promptly forgot what they were about and my reaction to them. So when I would then have conversations with people about books and we’d find that we had read a book in common, I could never answer the questions, “What did you like about that book?” or “What did you think of it?” I especially couldn’t discuss details. I had forgotten them.
To this, my husband would often say, “What is the point of all of your reading if you just forget it?”
He has a point, and although I would defend my love of books by claiming that they are an escape, the truth is that my lack of knowledge about the details of books bothered me. Part of me reads to learn and improve, and how exactly is that working if it ends like a night spent drinking and carousing in Las Vegas (something I’ve actually never done, but I hear that it is hard to remember).
So I write my blog to summarize my books and react to them. I like being able to refer back to it and to draw from those entries in my scholarship and in my everyday life. My blog is essentially a critical bibliography, a document I create frequently for my graduate work and that is essential for my schooling. It will also be essential for my upcoming comprehensive exams.
I write to remember.
Why do you blog? Who do you blog for?