The other day I was leafing through my novel, as I do weekly, to prove to myself the book exists. Not for the first time did I note the layout. It’s an attempt to look bloglike. Each postings begins with a Thinks Out Loud banner and a headline in bold, an entry number, and the posting’s date. Then comes the content followed by the bloglike View Comments section.
See the blog. Since I know the book’s contents forwards and backwards (forwords and backwords?), I take the design for granted, now. However, if I were a browser in a bookstore and came across the book with its mysterious cover art—a tropical leafy creature’s head/mask with a robed body—and I opened to a random page, I would not see a traditional layout of most novels—lots of words, lots of paragraphs, maybe a chapter title. Instead, would I experience some level of confusion, especially if I were unaware of the blog nature of the novel? Would I have the patience to try and read the opening pages?
Because I am one with the book, I experience a version of the curse of knowledge. It’s a tendency to assume that others have the perspective to understand what I now take for granted. They wouldn’t.
Even if that bookstore browser reads the back cover copy, and even though the blogging concept is explicitly stated, there is no indication that between the covers lies a book with a unique design that attempts to recreate the blog experience in blog form.
Some readers have said it doesn’t take long to get into the blog rhythm of the book—10 to 15 pages. But what if a reader is impatient and exits the book after trying to work through only one or two postings? I guess that’s the chance I’m taking.
Here's how a typical posting looks: