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Posts Tagged ‘spoilers’

I’ve Got a Secret

August 12, 2014 | by

Keeping mum in the age of spoilers.

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From one cover of Murakami’s Colorless Tsukuru...

For about four months I have kept a secret. Because few people knew that I had it, the difficulty wasn’t in resisting others’ demand to know but in quashing my own desire to tell. Still, the challenge was significant. The value of a secret seems to increase for the holder in proportion to the level of interest it will attract from its potential audience, and in this regard my secret seemed quite valuable.

In April, after several years writing reading-and-teaching guides for various publishers, I was hired to work on Knopf’s guide to the forthcoming English translation of Haruki Murakami’s latest novel, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. A few weeks later, I found the galley at my doorstep. The only information I received about the book, other than its title, came in the form of a brief note of encouragement: The novel would be much shorter than 1Q84, the nine-hundred-something-page tome that preceded it. One other fact, recovered by way of a quick Google search: Colorless Tsukuru sold more than a million copies during its first week on sale abroad.

We often come to a book already knowing something about it—we’ve seen it mentioned online. My experience with the Murakami novel was entirely different. It was chosen for me; I knew nothing about it. No one I knew had read it or recommended it or tweeted about it. Because I was working from an early galley, there was neither cover art nor jacket copy to inspire any preconceptions or early opinions. Though it had been published internationally, there was, quite remarkably, little information to be found online. My copy of the novel was—fittingly, given its title—without color. There were only the black words on the white page and my thoughts about them. And so I read what will undoubtedly become a popular work as if it were obscure. Read More »

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On the Shelf

August 17, 2011 | by

A cultural news roundup.

  • Just Kids gets the big-screen treatment.
  • So does Tolkien.
  • Kathryn Stockett triumphs in court (as well as at the movies).
  • Need an alternative to The Help? Try Welty.
  • “As a kid I would get my parents to drop me off at my local library on their way to work during the summer holidays and I would walk home at night. For several years I read the children’s library until I finished the children’s library. Then I moved into the adult library and slowly worked my way through them. With the kids’ library I did it alphabetically but I discovered I couldn't do that with the adult one because there were too many big boring books to read, so I did it by interesting covers.”
  • A tribute to Wendy Wasserstein.
  • Amazon moves in on publishing with first “major” deal.
  • The next best thing to a vacation? Reading about a vacation.
  • The movies may be complete, and the books long finished, but Harry Potter fans need not despair: Pottermore launches in October.
  • The case for spoilers!
  • Who’s your favorite deliciously awful fictional character?
  • Bookstores clear a “Rick Perry” section.
  • “Ah ha! I’ve finally put my finger on a concrete reason for my lingering, irrational, doubtless soon-to-be-jettisoned prejudice against e-readers.”
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