...who doesn't read the book jacket before reading the book?
I asked this question on Twitter last week, and got mixed reactions. Many of my tweeps (including Trish, Beth, and Kathy) agreed that skipping the description is the way to go. However, others like Amal feel that reading the description is the only way she can get a good sense of the plot before jumping in--and then she reads the book to fill in the details.
Personally, I try to avoid reading book descriptions, because I feel like they are often FULL of spoilers. Let's use the Goodreads description of The Hunger Games (and my reaction to it) as an example:
"Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone out to make sure you don't live to see the morning? In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts.(I preferred finding out the details of the setting as they were revealed during the story.) The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. (Again, would prefer to let this come to light as a read...makes the beginning more intriguing!) Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. (OMG Y'ALL, WICKED SPOILER ALERT UP IN HURRR.) But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love."
See what I mean? There is so much info from the first third of the novel that is given away in this description. Katniss disapproves.
I have heard that some readers enjoy descriptions like that though, because then they don't feel as disoriented when they jump into the book. I guess I enjoy that confusion, because the moment when I figure it out is always gratifying. A little pat on the back for me, as an awesome super-sleuthy reader. (It's the little things.)
But how do I know what to read, you ask? How do I avoid reading 70's erotica when I'm really looking for contemporary YA? First, I do check out what genre the book's been slotted into. And then I glance over the description for keywords only. So for The Hunger Games, I would notice things like "survive", "fight to the death", and "place once known as North America": OK, I'm sold. That's all I need to get roped in.
So, readers: where do you fall in the reading-the-book-jacket camp? Yay or nay? DECLARE YOURSELF!