I just read an excellent blog by Tyler Reed who works for Scholastic. He writes on a blog called, "On Our Minds@Scholastic". His blog today was called, "Preserving the Mystery of Reading". His focus was on how now days with our great technology, it is almost easier to find out how a book ends or gathering information by Googling it, instead of reading it ourselves. The fun and "mystery," of reaching a well read conclusion of a book, has disappeared for many people.
Tyler quoted J.J. Abrams, co-creator of the TV show Lost. It was such an poignant quote I wanted to share it with you...it was about the magic of mystery.
"Perhaps that's why mystery, now more than ever, has special meaning. Because it's the anomaly, the glaring affirmation that the Age of Immediacy has a meaningful downside. Mystery demands that you stop and consider—or, at the very least, slow down and discover. It's a challenge to get there yourself, on its terms, not yours."
On Tyler's blog I commented on the article by saying,
"I love this aspect of reading. I try my hardest, to teach my 2nd graders, that one of the joys of reading is the journey. I have always shared with kids that reading is a wonderful adventure we get to go on. Once children get over, the "have to read" aspect and embrace the "get to read" aspect...they have discovered how to take that journey into reading"
I have never been one of those people, though I have been tempted, that reads the end of the book first. To me that would ruin the whole book for me. Where would the fun or the mystery and especially the reason for reading be? If you haven't figured out yet, I am a serious reader. I have been teaching reading for 20 years to children. To me, this whole idea of reading is to gain something from the experience. We don't learn from the experience if we don't allow ourselves to go through and follow the path that we must walk along the way. This is also another reason that I hate cliff notes. Why only have the appetizers when you can have the full course dinner?
Tyler talked about when "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" came out. He stated how most people were good enough to not tell the ending to those who had not read the book yet.
"It took me two weeks to finish Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows after it was released. For two weeks, I avoided reading the reviews and news stories on the book. I could easily have read them and learned of Harry's fate -- something I'd been dying to know for months.But like almost everyone else, I wanted to experience the mystery of wondering how it will end, and I wanted the story to unfold for me on my own terms -- on J.K. Rowling's terms."
I have to agree with Tyler, I did everything to avoid having my Deathly Hallows experience ruined by anyone else. I wanted to read it on my own terms. In fact, I holed myself up in my house and read it in 11 hours and 15 minutes. Whenever I share this personal piece of trivia with kids, they are so impressed. It just makes me smile.
Getting back to Tyler, his point behind the blog, is the "Mystery of Reading" is what makes books so special. The wonderful worlds that we want to go and explore are waiting there for us. The beauty is, they unfold at the pace we want them too, versus what happens when we watch a movie. I guess that is why they say, the book is always better than the movie.
Feel free to go and read Tyler's blog and the many other great articles that can be found there.http://onourmindsatscholastic.blogspot.com/2009/04/preserving-mystery-in-reading.html