Thursday Thoughts - Discussion about books

Thursday Thoughts is a weekly feature on Ashley’s Blog Ok, Let’s Read. Each thursday, Ashley would open a discussion related to reading. This week, the topic is “spoilers”.

“Are you someone who likes to go into books blind or are a few spoilers nice to know? Does hearing spoilers before reading a book ruin the experience for you? Have you ever been spoiled by someone? Do you think there should be a policy or rule about spoilers where you can talk about something openly after x amount of years?”

Feel free to join and/or check other people’s opinion on Ashley’s post!

Let’s check the dictionary: a spoiler is “a remark which reveals important plot elements from books, thus denying the reader (of the article) the proper suspense when reading the book.” In short, a spoiler is a suspense killer. Sounds nasty.

Indeed, spoilers ruin the experience of books and movies for me. I like to discover the world of a book on my own, try to guess where the plot is going, attempt to read through the characters. Spoilers brutally remove this pleasure and I really see spoilers in reviews or comments as bad practice.

However, I know every reader is different. My mother, for instance, commonly starts a novel and then have a peek at the ending, to the utter astonishment of my father and I. Why would you do that? I have a theory! What does the dictionary says again? Suspense is “a state or condition of mental uncertainty or excitement, as in awaiting a decision or outcome, usually accompanied by a degree of apprehension or anxiety.”

That’s it! Suspense brings me excitement and curiosity, but what if suspense brought me anxiety in a way that becomes really uncomfortable instead? What if I really didn’t want to read a book if, say, the ending were to make me sad? If you read for the pleasure of it and end up crying your eyes off because the protagonist dies in the last pages, well, it can be disappointing. I figured that’s why some people appreciate spoilers.

However, I still think many people hate them and even the ones who might like them probably prefer having them at their will. I don’t think it’s ever a good choice to spoil since by doing so, you’re taking a decision the reader only should take.

Also, the no-spoiler rule applies to books of all time. I wouldn’t reveal the ending of the Odyssey if I was reviewing it! A review is about bringing the attention of readers on a book and/or telling them our opinion about it. It doesn’t even need us to spoil any part of the plot to make our point. A book analysis can’t write about the text without giving away details of the plot, but a review is precisely not that.