Reading Blind

2009-09-06I love reading blind. Not literally (obviously), but reading a book I know nothing about. One where I’ve never read a review and have intentionally avoided the back cover blurb, so all I know is the title and the author’s name.

I find this allows me to enjoy the story and the characters as they unfold. Each new discovery is like a little gift – completely fresh and unexpected. Obviously, this only works in certain circumstances: when a book is recommended by someone I trust, when an author I adore releases a new book, when a book wins an award I innately trust. When that happens, there is nothing that gives me greater pleasure than letting the author reveal the tale in exactly the way they intended, without any preconceived notions or ideas that others have placed in my head.

At the end, I read the back cover blurb, and always find it reveals things that would have disrupted my journey with the book. If I’m told there’s a twist, I’m notorious for figuring it out long before I’m meant to (in movies, too). But if I’m not forewarned, then when it comes, the ground falls away from under me and I get to experience that wonderful sensation of plummeting with the characters.

The most recent book I did this with was Glenda Millard’s intensely beautiful A Small Free Kiss in the Dark. I have adored all her work – she draws such vivid, eccentric characters and her voice is poetic and unique – and this was no exception. I laughed and cried and wished I knew these characters and cried some more. If you want to try reading this book blind, then don’t read this next sentence. Some of the things I didn’t know about the book were small and immediate details – like that the main character is homeless and an artist and collects other lost souls along his journey. Then there were bigger things – like the fact that a war tears apart their city. All this was on the back cover and more, but because I knew none of it, I got to savour each detail as it was revealed through the narrative.

A small thrill, but one I savour.

3 Responses to “Reading Blind”

  1. 1 Lynn Priestley September 6, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    Lovely post, Kath. I did this with The Ghost Child by Sonya Hartnett. I just fell into the story as she told it and to date, it remains one of my all time favourite books.I have seen ASFKITD around but haven’t read it yet. It has intrigued me and I know it has received great reviews.

    I met JJ Cooper yesterday and picked up a copy of his debut book. I am going to take a huge leap from my comfy usual genres and head into thriller land. That will be a little like reading blind as I haven’t really ventured there before but am looking forward to his story. It looks great. What a lovely man, too. Very generous with his time at the signing. The ‘Books to Read’ list is getting huge! I have holidays coming up so hopefully will be able to pare it back a little. It’s so exciting that there is so much great stuff out there to read. But alas, just not enough hours in the day.

  2. 2 Tomasino September 6, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    “If you want to try reading this book blind, then don’t read this next sentence.”

    Gah!!!! You know how much self control that just took. I stopped reading your post right there. You didn’t say anything after that point that was super awesome, did you?

    Anyway, I love reading books blind as well. You hit it right on the head. Thanks!

  3. 3 Katherine Battersby September 6, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    James, you crack me up! Absolutely nothing super awesome after that sentence. I promise. Except for the answer to world peace.

    So glad to hear others enjoy reading blind, too! Lynn, I adore The Ghost Child. I did the same with that book, because I’ll happily devour everything Sonya Hartnett writes. I’d love to hear what you think of The Interrogator – I get to meet JJ on Thursday night, and am really looking forward to it.

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About this Blog…

A blog of ramblings about the world of writing and illustrating for children, by an author / illustrator who might just have a thing for rabbits.

Katherine's picture books, 'Squish Rabbit' and 'Brave Squish Rabbit', are out with Viking (Penguin, US) and UQP (Australia). Please e-mail if you would like her to blog about something in particular.

All text & images  Katherine Battersby

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