Books from the Backlog: S. by J.J. Abrams & Doug Dorst

Books from the Backlog is a fun way to feature some of those neglected books sitting on your bookshelf or e-reader unread. If you would like to join in, please feel free to enter your link at Carole’s Random Life in Books, then spend some time visiting some of the other posts.

This week's neglected book:

S. by J.J. Abrams & Doug Dorst
Hardcover, Slipcase, 456 pages
Published October 29th, 2013 by Mulholland Books

One book. Two readers. A world of mystery, menace, and desire.

A young woman picks up a book left behind by a stranger. Inside it are his margin notes, which reveal a reader entranced by the story and by its mysterious author. She responds with notes of her own, leaving the book for the stranger, and so begins an unlikely conversation that plunges them both into the unknown.

THE BOOK: Ship of Theseus, the final novel by a prolific but enigmatic writer named V. M. Straka, in which a man with no past is shanghaied onto a strange ship with a monstrous crew and launched onto a disorienting and perilous journey.

THE WRITER: Straka, the incendiary and secretive subject of one of the world’s greatest mysteries, a revolutionary about whom the world knows nothing apart from the words he wrote and the rumours that swirl around him.

THE READERS: Jennifer and Eric, a college senior and a disgraced grad student, both facing crucial decisions about who they are, who they might become, and how much they’re willing to trust another person with their passions, hurts, and fears.

S., conceived by filmmaker J. J. Abrams and written by award-winning novelist Doug Dorst, is the chronicle of two readers finding each other in the margins of a book and enmeshing themselves in a deadly struggle between forces they don’t understand. It is also Abrams and Dorst’s love letter to the written word.

Why did I add S. to my bookshelf?

I’ve had this book since 2013, my husband gave it to my that year for Christmas and I haven’t tried to read it yet. At first, I wasn’t sure what to think of it, I've only known about J.J. Abrams from films and television shows that he produced. It looks like it would be a fun mystery, but I’m a bit intimidated by it.

I’m not sure how to read it… from what I gathered from other readers, it’s better to read a chapter and then go back and read the margin notes. Then it gets tricky and confusing, because the margin notes are colored, and it’s recommended to read certain colors first. I feel like I would have to have notes next to me, so I would remember what color to read. Ugh… intimidating.

It’s a wonderfully ‘interactive’ book, it contains post cards, newspaper clipping, letters, maps, old photographs, a decoder wheel and so much more. When I do read it, I’m excited to see that someone created a blog, S. Files22, to help the readers along.

What are your thoughts? Have you read this book or any books by J.J. Abrams or Doug Dorst? Would you recommend it to others?

Happy Reading! -Jovita


  1. Wow! New to me and that actually sounds like a fabulous story within a story. I can see why it would be intimidating with all the ways to experience it. Must not be any wrong way or there would be instructions. I want to hunt this one down now. :)

    1. Exactly, I think I would be more interested with the story within. I did notice that they still have some new ones available at Amazon. Sophia let me know if you're able to find one. :)

  2. I haven't read this books, but I've heard about it from one of the bookTubers I watch. She also finds it incredibly intimidating and has yet to read it. It sounds like a big time investment to me, but the right raging snowstorm might be a good time to get lost in it!

    Thanks for sharing. I hope you enjoy it when you do get to it. :)

    1. It would be a perfect book to read while snowed in. Thanks Angie, I'm sure I'll enjoy it when I do have a chance to start it.

  3. I have never seen anything like this book, Jovita. I kind of want this book in my life now that I know about it but I would wonder how to actually read it as well.

    1. I didn't want to break the seal to take the book out of the sleeve, I was in awe when I did and found all the goodies inside. Then I was careful not to let anything fall out. Thank goodness someone took the time to create a blog about it, and create a page list of where the maps, photos and such belong. When I'm ready to read it, I'll make sure to visit S.Files22 blog often.

      Yes, it is a book that you would want, it's fun just to flip through it. Let me know if you purchase one.

  4. Wow! The book is stunning. I would keep it even if I never ended up finishing it. 📗✨ It also has me intrigued. I'm going to Google it and read up on it. 👍✨

    1. I have no plans to part with it, the book is stunning and very unique. I've never seen another book like it. I'm sure the story is pretty good too, at least I hope so, lol!