S.: A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma

mystery-month-2014If you really want to mess with your readers’ minds, then give them a book that is a classic literary mystery surrounded by marginalia written by two strangers, and stuffed with letters, postcards, maps, and a decoder wheel.

And you’d better give them at least two months to read said book. But it won’t matter, they’ll still have questions, the first being, “What’s happening in this book?!”

Give your readers S. written by Doug Dorst from an idea conceived by J.J. Abrams (yes, THAT J.J. Abrams–“Lost,” “Felicity,” and “Fringe”).

Here’s what’s inside:

shipoftheseusSee how intricate this book is? It’s a work of art. It’s the kind of book only lovers of books about booklovers could love. It begs to be read the old-fashioned way, by turning the pages and pulling out the ephemera and spilling a drop of tea on the back cover.

After readers have finished talking about the methods they used to read the book, ask some of these questions:

  • To what degree is the reader a character in Ship of Theseus?
  • How does the relationship between S. and Sola mirror the relationship between Eric and Jen, V.M. Straka and F.X. Caldeira, or reader and author?
  • How do you think this book would function in another format such as audio or ebook?

This book doesn’t beg to be discussed so much as dissected. Some folks have started that process over here at SFiles22.

The Kansas City Public Library was lucky enough to host Doug Dorst for an author event on May 8, 2014. Full disclosure, I was a total #fangirl. See for yourselves.





About the Author:

Kaite Mediatore Stover refuses to give up her day job as director of readers' services for The Kansas City Public Library to read tarot cards professionally or be the merch girl/roadie for her husband's numerous bands. Follow her on Twitter at @MarianLiberryan.

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