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>Choose your own adventure

>I thought about our recent links to digital stories when I read this NY Times review of a London Faust in which audience members, independently and at will, move throughout the various spaces in which the play is being enacted: “It’s theater for the interactive age. But instead of moving a cursor, you simply move yourself, choosing whatever character you want to follow, whatever sound intrigues you, whichever enticing corridor you are drawn to explore.”

It makes me wonder about reading in the same way–I’ll similarly roam around the Bible or a reference book, but how could this work with fiction? Maybe this could be my path into that War and Peace you all talked me into buying last year . . .

Also take a look at this book-arts gallery Michael Joseph mentioned on child_lit a few weeks ago. If anyone is still looking for the perfect Christmas present for me, I’d love Doug Beube’s “Interlocutors,” in which the pages of a book can be zipped and unzipped together for a multitude of orders.

Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.



  1. >I used to date a guy that read fiction that way. He explained that he approached books the same way he approached a magazine– he read the shorter chapters first, and then the longer ones when he had more time. I suggested starting at the beginning and reading to the end. The thought had never occured to him. We were 14!.

  2. >Steven Jackson and Ian Livingston did a whole range of “Choose your own adventure” books. They were really good when I was a kid.

    I have a chose your own adventure dvd based on the Forgotten Realms stories.

  3. Andy Laties says:

    >Edward Gorey’s “The Awdrey Gore Legacy” — one of the “mini-books” including in the compendium “Amphigorey Also” — is a mystery in which the reader is supposed to select from characters, names, weapons, locales, and plot devices. It would be fun to participate in a staged production of miscellaneous mixed up Gorey books…

    Actually, this all sounds like children’s theatre for grown-ups.

    As to the artists’ book store, the granddaddy, in the U.S. anyway, is the marvelous Printed Matter, in Chelsea (NYC) The best thing about them is that they have stuff on the shelves from their founding era (1976) up to the present. So you can find some pretty amazingly dated stuff.

    Roger — maybe you’ll get lucky and Peter Kuper or Jules Feiffer or Ted Rall will do a “War & Peace” graphic novel for ya. Proust shouldn’t be the only prolix wordsmith to merit such.

  4. >I very fondly remember Choose Your Own Adventure stories. In fact, I really believe the interactive media in games that we have today owes a great deal to the books that R. A. Montgomery created. That’s why I was so excited to see that he launched a publishing company to help bring the books back. In fact I found their company’s website:

  5. Andy Laties says:

    >From “The Raging Tide: of, The Black Doll’s Imbroglio”, by Edward Gorey (in the just-released compilation “Amphigorey Again”):

    1) Skrump flung a damp sponge at Naeelah.
    *If you are interested, turn to 6.
    If you aren’t, turn to 2.*

    2) Figbash scattered cracker crumbs on Hooglyboo.
    *If this makes you uncomfortable, turn to 3.
    If it doesn’t, turn to 8.*

    3) Skrump thwacked figbash with a dishmop.
    *If you find this gratifying, turn to 7.
    If you don’t, turn to 4.*

    4) Hooglyboo poured golden syrup over Naeelah.
    *If you would have done the same, turn to 5.
    If you cannot condone these actions, turn to 30.*

    …((and so on for a couple of dozen pages until))…

    30) And so they all lived miserably for ever after.

  6. rindawriter says:

    >It all sounds very fun…and enticing…but I AM so stodgy…I do SO love the sense of control I get when I can just pick up an ordinary book and wander at will through it…I think it would be more interesting just to write my own adventure rather than read a book like that…stuck with these Northwest power outages where I live….how lovely, how COMFORTING a tattered, well-worn book…read with gloves on hands, hat on head, socks on feet, and cuddled deep in fleece…warm drink close by, with lantern-light…even candlelight and firelight…

  7. prolificwriter says:

    >Remember when Hyperstudio and Hypercard where all the rave in the late 80s early 90s? Early mark-up applications that allowed anyone to create their own “choose your own” adventure type stories.

    Anyways, great blog and I encourage you to check out our very related podcast at

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