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A Goodreads user asked:

Hello peeps, I have had this book for a few weeks now but I have yet to get around to read it. I seem to be a little...hum...intimidated about it. Where do i start to read it, do I read the story first before concentrating on the note's within or do I read the transcript's along with reading the story? To anybody that has read this novel, what would you suggest? Any comments will be graciously received.

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Christa It's fantastic!!!

After reading through the foreword (with all the notes, no matter the colour), I did a little research on how to go about this thing! There's no right way to read it, but here's how *I'm* doing it:

1) Read through chapter (and pencilled notes).
2) Go back and read notes written in blue & black. (After a few chapters, I actually just started reading both these and the pencilled at the same time. So, now I'm reading chapter by chapter, along with the pencilled, blue, and black notes. Watch out--the black & black notes can fool you. Those are the very last.)
3) I finished the whole book this way yesterday and have now started going back to the beginning to read the next notes, which are in orange and green.
4) After that, I'll go back (again) and read the notes in purple & red.
5) And again in black & black.

It's hard to completely ignore the "future colours," but do your best, because there will be spoilers, otherwise. Sometimes the "future colours" will give you a hint about the item that's tucked into that page, though, so it can be a good thing. (I read all the notes, cards, etc. tucked into the book as I came across them, and they do give you some spoilers, so I'm trying to be more careful. There's one hand-written note towards the back ["To my new friends:"] that I think needs to be read later, so I'll read that when it's the right time. )

I haven't figured out how to use the decoder yet...hoping that gets explained in a note.

Here's a list of what page each insert is on (in case one falls out--I had that happen!): http://sfiles22.blogspot.com/2013/01/...

Some people take each one out and put a post-it on them with its page number, but I didn't.

There's some good sites out there. Here's one:

http://whoisstraka.wordpress.com/, which includes this spoiler-free beginner's guide:


I haven't delved too terribly deeply into a lot of the other stuff, though, because I did find a spoiler.

Good luck!
Kate I am reading the text of each chapter and the pencil notes, then going back and reading all of the ink notes. For me, so far (I'm about 4 chapters in) it works fine to read all "eras" of the ink notes at once - it doesn't feel like spoilers of later plot so much as foreshadowing. I wouldn't recommend trying to read the text and notes simultaneously (how I started). I felt like I wasn't paying enough attention to SOT because the drama in the margins often focuses on things totally unrelated to the text. SOT deserves careful reading for being a good story all in itself and the notes feel more like a narrative when read together.
Kali Hi,
S. is a bit intimidating, but the notes intertwine with the story in a way that almost directs you as to where to read next. I would recommend just following along, starting with the book's text itself and going off into the margin notes where underlining or stars suggest. This has worked for me so far. It can take a bit to get used to, but I find myself getting lost in the story (margin notes, footnotes, actual text, and all) as I would any other story--they flow together well.
Stephanie 1. I read through one chapter, ignoring footnotes and and all inked in notes.
2. At the end of each chapter, I went back and read the footnotes and inked notes. I didn't worry about saving different colors. The "spoilers" don't reveal that much, and they fill out the story. It all made sense to me.
3. It IS intimidating and even a little exhausting to read! It took me two months, and I really enjoyed it.
Anna Grandi I read everything (margin notes, book text and footnotes) in the order they appeared and everything went well :) you will find notes that you won't be able to understand right away, but you will get your head around them eventually and that's part of the charm of this book.
If I had started reading the main text and then went back to read all the notes, I think I would have gotten bored very early in the book (the margin notes really keep you going) but at the end of the day it's a very personal thing: whatever works best for you is the way to go.
Michelle Muckey I'm reading it now and have just been reading with the notes down the page. I admit that sometimes I skip the footnotes because I'm more interested in the story. I go back when I feel I'm at a good point to go back and read the footnotes. It is taking me a long time to read but I don't have much free uninterrupted reading time. I checked this out from the library originally but have bought my own copy. It's the kind of book you actually re read.
L I read it front-to-back and did not worry about spoilers, and honestly, I recommend reading it this way. I think the author stated that there is no wrong way to read it, but I felt like the book was laid out perfectly so that reading it front-to-back gave a good amount of foreshadowing, without really spoiling anything. Plus there is the fun of seeing what the characters wrote to each other, and trying to figure out what it meant based on later clues.
Elizabeth Arboleda Hi Ian,

I was scared to read it as well, the true its you have to find your own way around it, i start the first chapter reading all together, and non of the writing in other colours, as i found out you can get spoils! so stick to the blue ink, and it was so confusing, them for the second i star reading just the book then go back and read the hand writing and the anexos and its seems more work but i actually start to enjoy more the book and the history, i hope these helps :)
Libby Hi, if this book were a novel what would it be rated? How's the cussing? Sex scenes? I just hate f this, f that all through a book.
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