I 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.