Friday, September 20, 2013

Spoilers—To Peek or Not to Peek

Posted by: Nicole Luiken

There is a study out there that argues that knowing Spoilers can actually increase your enjoyment of a novel.   SpoilerAlert: Stories are not Spoiled by ‘Spoilers’.   

My first response to this was Get Out of Town, cuz I HATE spoilers.  People who read the ending first baffle me. I refuse to even read series books out of order.  In fact, I don’t  read blurbs if I can avoid it. Too often I’ve seen them ruin a surprise in the first few chapters of a book, or raise false expectations or be just plain wrong.  If I love a series or trust an author, I deliberately don’t read the back cover blurb.  I prefer to have the story unfold the way the author intended.  (Don’t get me wrong: blurbs are necessary.  I would never consider buying a book by a new author without reading the blurb. Movie or book ads that rely on rave reviews drive me crazy. I don’t care if  Such-and-such gave it five stars. I care about genre and PLOT.)

But then I thought about it some more and realized that the article might explain why I also love to reread my favorite books. There are books I’ve reread so many times I practically have the plot memorized, and yet I still enjoy reading them.  The second (or third or fourth) time around, I love to spot the little hints dropped in by the clever author along the way.  I love to reread tense action scenes, character interactions, and, of course, sexy times.  (When rereading I often skip descriptive passages entirely. I’m also less likely to reread mysteries than romances or fantasy novels.) I also really enjoy watching Game of Thrones on TV even though I've read the books and know exactly what's coming for the poor characters.

Different readers consider different things to be spoilers. My husband doesn’t understand how I can enjoy romance books when I know going in that the couple is guaranteed a Happily Ever After.  (This makes me roll my eyes since the books he enjoys, SF and fantasy, have happy endings 95% of the time, too. The plucky hobbits defeat the all-powerful Sauron, not the other way around.)  To him the HEA is a spoiler in and of itself. To me it’s a promise that I will be entertained and not depressed.

Here’s another article which argues with the original study’s conclusions: Scientific Explanations of Why Spoilers are So Horrible.

Do you hate spoilers?  Do you ever reread your favorite books?


  1. I don't like spoilers but do occasionally re-read books. They're different reading experiences for me.

  2. Yes! It's a different reading experience the second (or third) time around. With a new book there's always a chance I might not like it; with a reread, it's a guaranteed good time. I can settle in with a happy sigh of pleasure.


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