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Do Spoilers Matter? And Other Bookish Problems

Welcome to the Dear Book Nerd podcast, a bi-weekly show that answers your questions about life, love, and literature! My guest host this week is the sparkling Rachel Fershleiser. We talk about whether or not spoilers make or break a reading experience, what to do when faced with a judgmental book club member, and much more. Don’t miss it!

Rachel is the head of Tumblr‘s literary outreach specializing in publishing, nonprofit, and cultural organizations. She created “Six Word Memoirs” and edited the subsequent book Not Quite What I Was Planning from Harper Perennial (which was a NYT bestseller). You can find her on Twitter @RachelFersh.

This episode was sponsored by Dragons at Crumbling Castle (and Other Tales) by Terry Pratchett and The Moment of Everything by Shelly King.



Hello, Book Nerd!

I am LOVING your podcast! I’ve just found it and I’m trying to catch up on them all so please forgive me if this has already come up. Please don’t revoke my love of reading license, but I’m wondering – do spoilers really matter? Shock and shame! I know, what a blasphemous statement! How could I!! You must be thinking, ‘How dare you?!”, but hear me out. I am not a fan of suspense. When things get a little too hairy, I like to either read ahead, or before I start reading a book, I will look for spoilers online. Personally, I don’t think this ruins the story at all, other than giant major spoilers like so and so did it, or so and so died. But even those aren’t such a big deal to me because I think the journey to the plot twist is just as important as the plot twist, so when people are all up in arms about spoilers, I don’t really get it. Do spoilers really make or break a reading experience?

Flower Child

Dear Book Nerd,

I recently discovered your podcast and have been listening to each episode in chronological order until I catch up to your most recent podcast. It’s such a pleasure listening to the podcasts and both Rita and her weekly co-hosts do a wonderful job.

Until a few years ago, I read books (mainly literary, psychological and historical fiction) completely on my own. I did not study literature in college and while I read the occasional book review, I did not search out opinions on the book I was reading. Then came the explosion of book clubs and it seemed like a good idea to me to join a few of them. But now I have somehow become conditioned to reading books and then discussing them with others or spending a fair amount of time reading other people’s reviews on sites like Goodreads.

Many of my book club experiences have been positive, but occasionally I have stumbled upon a group with members who are a bit judgmental towards others. I have left such groups feeling a bit bad about myself because I do not have a strong background in literature other than what I have read on my own. What I like about book groups is the chance to discuss books with others and the chance to meet people with a similar interest, but I sometimes feel a bit overwhelmed with the massive amount of opinions available on almost every book.

Where should I draw the line when reading a book in hearing other people’s opinion of that book and just experiencing the book on my own?

Thanks for any ideas,


Dear Book Nerd,

What should I do if the book I’m reading proves to be too scary for me?

Sleeping with the Light On



Tumblr’s Reblog Book Club (The Millions)

Dear Book Nerd Episode #15: When Book Reviews Go Wrong

Dear Book Nerd Episode #22: All About Book Clubs

Rachel’s Tiny Letter


Listen to past episodes and read past columns of Dear Book Nerd here!
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