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What To Do When All The Sh*t Falls Out Of The Coolest Book Of The Year, Your Copy of 'S'

By Da7e Gonzales | Think Pieces | January 8, 2014 | Comments ()


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I visited home this holiday season and I brought J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst’s S. along with me. For those of you unfamiliar with the book, it’s a base text augmented with another story written in pen between two characters in the margins. These characters are also investigating the secret life of the fictional author and occasionally put important story documents into the book.

I’ve only gotten three chapters into S., because the book challenges you to choose your own method of keeping all the plot lines ordered in your mind. I’ve oscillated between reading everything as I come across it and trying to take the story one plot at a time.

On page 11, the margin notes make reference to a piece of hotel stationery that has additional notes on it, that piece of stationery is folded up and paired with page 11. I used this as an example (along with the insert on page 7) when showing people what I meant by “a book with a lot of stuff in it,” before passing it on to my friends to hold in their own grubby hands.

“Please don’t move any of the inserts,” I’d say, “I don’t know yet if they have to be where they are.”

Of course, my friend Ty promptly moved a letter written on yellow legal pad paper off page 203, causing me to let out a deep soul moan at the possibility that the story would be impenetrable if something was moved.

Enter my other friend, Colorado school teacher Kate Farrell, who received S. as a gift. Thankfully, she decided to help out me and you, entirety of internet, with this spoiler-free photo guide to re-setting your S. so the inserts are in the right place. I thought I’d push it out into the interwebs, since I couldn’t find it on my own when trying to re-place the legal pad letter. I haven’t finished S because it doesn’t travel easy and I was scared to death of losing something’s place.

Maybe this will help me move it with a bit more confidence.

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Dave “Da7e” Gonzales works in cable television for MTV Networks. He podcasts weekly at FightingInTheWarRoom.com and does a special Legend of Korra podcast at RepublicCityDispatch.com. He founded his own production company where he made shorts, commercials, music videos, TV shows and one gay romantic comedy that won Best First Feature at Outfest (it’s on Netflix now!). He has written for online publications ranging from IDontLikeYouInThatWay.com (gossip!) to MentalFloss.com (facts!) with a ton of movie blogs in-between. Marvel threatened him once. Michael Bay has twice said he’s full of crap. He does a weekly column on superhero movie news at Latino-Review.com He had a webcomic once that still lives at DosFactoum.com. He likes cartoons and smoking. His spirit animal is the Mongoose. Follow him on Twitter.




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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • I'm totally buying this. Honestly I love that somebody is really pushing the boundary of what a "book" is.

  • Dave Dorris

    All I want to know is when the hell JJ Abrams had the time to collaborate on a book? Dude has to have a time machine or something.

  • narfna

    I'm getting this from the library and am only now realizing it's going to be a complete disaster. I'm probably going to have to buy it. Shit.

  • BWeaves

    This sounds like a grown up version of
    Lady Cottington's Pressed Fairy Book
    by Terry Jones (Author) , Brian Froud (Illustrator)

    except without all the rude, squashed fairies.

  • David Saff

    This is a great read.
    It goes by pretty slowly but is very fun and fulfilling once you finish. It's like reading 3 books at the same time.
    Also, i found out later that there are a couple of great websites that expand on the mythology of the book......so if you do get it look around for them

  • This was a great read and great experience. The library I took it out from had all of the pieces out of the book and in an envelope with the book. So I know I missed out on some key stuff. Wish they did the post-it thing.

  • Whistler

    This sounds less of a book and more of a wanking gesture.

  • fracas

    I had the same reaction when hearing about it (though in American vernacular), but I've heard from a few people that it's actually very well done.

  • Joe Grunenwald

    Jesus, the act of reading this book sounds exhausting.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I get that, but it sounds like a combination of reading and playing a game

  • John W

    What genre is it?

  • What the hell is a book?

    You know what I don't have to put back in order? Mah tweets, bruh. Comes with a timeline, unlike your fancy paper collection there.

  • Adam Herbst

    If you enjoy this book (or think you might), you might want to check out "Dictionary of Khazars".

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