I like surprises.
I like not knowing what’s going to happen next, when the film’s going to end or how someone’s going to react. There are times when you need to know these answers – your a politician preparing a statement or a researcher conducting an experiment – and there are times when they’re going to happen anyway so you may as well just sit back and enjoy it.
I epitomise this with the sleeve of a book.
If I’ve been given, loaned or recommended a book then I will not read the back cover. They give away so much!
“A touching tale of tragedy and loss” – the heroin doesn’t die until page 312 but you know it before you’ve broken the spine.
Their job is to sell the book to you but if I’m already sold then why not let the story unfold as the author intended rather than through the preconceptions you generate from a half page synopsis?
I’ve given into temptation on several occasions and just glimpsed at the outside or read a reviewers comments and every time I have gleaned information I did not want, it has tainted by expectations for the ensuing pages and I have regretted it.
If we take away life’s little mysteries then we deprive ourselves of much of its joys. Don’t read the back cover of your books.
(P.S. I had planned to give some examples of fine books whose plot twists and developments are spoiled by seemingly innocuous comments on their covers but that would simply achieve the very same thing I’m trying to avoid)