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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 |

By Da7e Gonzales | Think Pieces | January 8, 2014 |

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.






















Dave “Da7e” Gonzales works in cable television for MTV Networks. He podcasts weekly at and does a special Legend of Korra podcast at 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 (gossip!) to (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 He had a webcomic once that still lives at He likes cartoons and smoking. His spirit animal is the Mongoose. Follow him on Twitter.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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