S.: Or Ship of Theseus

S. - Doug Dorst, J.J. Abrams

Ever since this book came out I've been excited to read it, but I put it off for months because I was intimidated to start it. As it turns out I didn't need to be. The format made this book exceedingly difficult to put down. This book is an experience, and you don't read it so much as you interact with it. It was like a puzzle my brain just couldn't stop chewing on. Each new clue and insert sparked my imagination. Had this book existed when I was in high school I would have read it over and over again obsessively.


There are a lot of different ideas about how to read this book, but I read it page by page, holding all the threads in my mind at once. (I knew that English degree would come in handy one day!) I think the best way to read it is however you are most comfortable, whether it be page by page, chapter by chapter, or all the way through multiple times focusing on different elements. Really, there's no wrong way to read it, so don't let method stop you from digging in.


The primary story, Ship of Theseus, is aptly named. The Ship of Theseus Paradox is a thought experiment wherein the question is posed: if every piece of a ship is replaced over time then is it the same ship? Not only does the titular ship undergo such a transformation, but so does the organization the story follows. I won't say more than that, because I don't want to ruin any surprises. The second story takes place in the margins, which as it turns out is an appropriate place for various reasons. This story follows two strangers as they gradually come to know each other and work to unfold the mystery behind the author of the very book they are writing within. It all comes together as intertwined multiple story lines. Very fun! If puzzles, props, and interactive stories spark your interest give this one a try.