I've Been Thinking... The Internet, Spoilers and Booktubing.

Saturday 18 October 2014

Hello all! Hope you're well.

This is probably going to be a relatively short post, but it's just something that popped into my head a minute ago. Literally a minute ago - it's quarter past eleven at night and I got inspired to write this #nightowlproblems.

I'm a lover of the booktube community, and I love having a nosy at what other people are reading. In a unrelated, but also related thread, I also love thinking. Typing that sentence, it sounds like a such a strange thing to say, but it's true. I'm definitely more of a thinker than a doer, which is why I think I love being in an educational environment so much. It's not always a good thing - there are times when being a doer is definitely preferable, and in those instances I need to give myself a kick and get on with it. But by nature I'm a reflective person, I like to think and assess and analyse and dissect things, from a Buzzfeed article I just read that made me distinctly uncomfortable, to how social media has changed how we communicate, to just about anything in the world. Give me a topic, I'll probably find a way to over-analyse it.

I DIGRESS. Thinking about things can be a great thing. But what happens when you actively engage in thinking about something before you get involved in it? Does that temper with your enjoyment of the said something? In this case, I'm talking books!

A month or so ago I read We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (which I discussed in a post here), and thought it was an amazing book. However, for weeks before I finally downloaded and devoured it, I had been reading spoiler-free reviews, and watching booktubers discuss it in hauls and recently read videos, which put the twist in the novel at the forefront of my mind. Not that I knew what it was - I made sure I avoided finding that out at all costs, which I'd urge you to do if you intend to read it, it's worth waiting for! Before I read it, I was constructing an idea in my head of what it was about, how it would make me feel and how great it would be to discuss the twist with other fans of the book once I had finished it. The point was, I knew that there was a twist. I knew that there was a shock coming my way, and that once I knew what it was I would be kicking myself for not seeing it coming.

So what did I do? I spent the entire time I was reading it trying to beat the book. Trying to beat E. Lockhart, and beat the main character to figure it all out first. I actually had a weird situation going on in my head because part of my brain, the part that loves storytelling was crying out for me to not work it out because I have to tell you - I LOVE a good twist. There are three in particular that always stick out in my mind, all TV related (one from Lost, one from Dexter and one from Veronica Mars), that I'll just never get over the joy of experiencing. There's nothing quite like witnessing a twist in a book, tv show or film for the first time and thinking "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!". And after that you have the pleasure of witnessing it from the other perspective, from that omniscient point of view when you know what's coming and you get the delicious thrill of anticipating that moment, picking up on all the little clues you missed before, making it a totally different reading or viewing experience. This is what I adore about rewatching my favourite shows over and over again. You get to envy friends and family members who are seeing it for the first time, while revelling in the fact you already know what happens. I also think there's a comfort in rewatching things that you have seen before. As Blair Waldorf once said of her favourite movies, "I like knowing how things turn out." (Gossip Girl, Episode 2x19). But naturally, that comfort should only exist because you've had the initial experience of discovering exactly how it is that things "turn out".

I loved We Were Liars, and I just and no more managed to avoid figuring out the twist. The book, by nature, challenges you to piece together what happened, so this is not the best example of what I'm trying to discuss, it's just a recent example! I remember briefly discussing this with Roisin and we started to wonder if the desire to figure it all out first actually might take away from the enjoyment of the reading experience.

Now, however, I'm finally reading Gone Girl, after planning to read it for the longest time. Now that the film is out, though, I made the decision that I wanted to read the book first - I know experiencing the twists would be amazing whichever medium you visit the characters in first, but since the book has been on my to read list pretty much since it came out, I decided to stay loyal to it and go for it before the film. And guess what? A similar thing is happening again!! Gone Girl is on the tip of everyone's tongue on social media at the moment, from people raving about the movie, to others weighing up the pros and cons of the film against the novel. I'm seeing it everywhere, and miraculously still haven't had anything spoilt for me (famous last words, better avoid twitter tonight just to be sure!). But I'm desperately trying to work it all out, second guessing every little detail in every chapter.

So, is social media the cause of this, or is it just human nature to be competitive and figure it all out before it is actually revealed to you? I'm not sure. There is definitely an element of social media that plays on human emotions in terms of "involvement" - people like to feel part of something, so I reckon it makes sense for people to want to read a book or see a film quickly in order to keep up with the conversation. Additionally, the internet has brought with it the HUGE issue of spoiler culture, with twitter definitely being a terrible culprit for unmarked spoilers! I even had The Fault in Our Stars (I know, I can't believe I still haven't read it either!) spoilt for me on a Frozen screenshot on Pinterest the other day!! Pinterest, of all places!! While a lot of people are becoming desensitised to spoilers these days, for the most part I think we try to avoid them. So does that sense of urgency spoil things, and take away from the amazing work writers (both of novels and screenplays) do in creating this incredible world full of clues and hints and red herrings, or does it make it all the more thrilling? Could that desire to figure it all out actually make you so consumed with the twist that you end up missing all the obvious clues? Or does it, in fact, make you smarter, and more likely to spot something because you know you should be looking out for it? I don't know. It's late, and this is now becoming a ramble, but I genuinely would love to know what any of you guys think about this!

If you are a booktuber or book blogger, leave your links in the comments below - I'm so glad I'm getting back into reading for pleasure after uni sort of deprived me of that! And whoever you are, let me know what you're reading at the moment - I'm over on Goodreads at lynseymac!

Thanks for reading! I'm off to Manchester (so excited!), so hope you have a great weekend too!

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