Monday, August 22, 2011

Spoliers Spoil?

Do spoilers spoil your reading experience or do they enhance it?

I am all over the map in my reading habits. I like to read mysteries in order from the beginning to the end of the series. I can read romances out of order, so long as author has been scrupulous enough to convey the requisite information to make each book a standalone.

For authors who're an auto-buy for me, I like a pristine reading experience. That means, certainly no spoilers. I don't discuss the book with anyone who's read it, nor do I read reviews, final pages of the story, back cover copy, author notes, forewords, or dedications. I read the front cover and crack the book open.

For authors who're new to me and have been recommended by close friends and/or whose taste in the past I have found works for me, I discuss the book before I read it. I even ask about plot points and spoilers (except for mystery books). I will go look on Amazon for reader reviews. So when I tackle the book, it is with full knowledge of the story and how it unfolds. I want to see if the author can still sell it for me. If so, then the author is a good one for me to hang on to (backlist and future titles).

My reading these days, falls mostly into these two categories: auto-buy authors and recommended authors. I rarely pick up a book on a whim. I find that within my two categories itself, I cannot keep up with the deluge of books. So, I'm less likely to experiment.

What about you? What categories of books do you read? Do you like to know about the spoilers up front? Are you an end-of-the-book peeker?

Recently, Huffington Post wrote about a study by the University of California, San Diego, about readers' reactions to spoilers. "The results showed that the participants in the study much preferred the spoiled version of ironic-twist and mystery stories. They also opted for the spoiled version of literary stories, but not by as much."

Gosh, I really disagree with this statement: "According to study psychologist Nicholas Christenfeld, 'plots are just excuses for great writing. What the plot is is (almost) irrelevant. The pleasure is in the writing.'" Tell this to the writers who work so hard to get the turning points and black moments of their stories just right. What seems like effortless plot is actually stellar writing, where the plot disappears and the characters shine on the page.