Friday, March 26, 2010

I Confess...

Other bloggers have typed about this, so I know the sides that other readers have taken and I know that I'm about to speak for the minority's perspective.

I read the end of a book before I finish the story.  And I love doing it.

Alcatraz Versus The Evil LibrariansMy people are often discriminated against for doing this.  By other readers.  Even by books.  At the end of Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians (which has a false ending, for those of you who read ahead like me) Alcatraz writes that people like me are undeserving of a party, that we reach the last page in the Smedry Un-approved way.

Well, I think it's our choice to read the endings of books.  People like me get to enjoy texts in a different way.

In fact, if I don't skip ahead to see how a book ends, it means something is wrong:  Namely, that I hate the stupid book.

EternalIt's often the case that the more I'm enjoying the beginning of a book, the sooner I'll read the ending to find out how it ends.  It would actually be a great indicator of my interest level in my book reviews just to report when I turned to read each book's ending.  For example, with all the books in the Harry Potter series, I flipped to read the ending after going through the first paragraph.  With Eternal (HINT--this will be our next literary discussion, in case you want to join) I turned to the end around page seven.  Which is pretty good.

I've tried to think about why I do this.  It's not the fear of dying without knowing how the book ends, as Billy Crystal articulated when he played Harry in When Harry Met Sally.  Although there is comfort in knowing how things end.  It helps me to relax and enjoy the journey of getting to that ending point.  (And yes, that does mean that I could live life quite happily knowing when and how I will someday die.  And no, that is not an invite for very specific murder threats or suicide pacts.)

The same is true for the way I write as well.  When I start a story, I begin with the beginning.  Then I write the ending.  Lastly, I'm left to deal with connecting the points with the difficult middle.

I guess this is just the way my mind works.  How about you, my few but dear readers?  Will any of step forward and admit in the comments that you too read ahead?  Pretty please.


  1. I just confessed to this very thing this morning on the BOB site. One commenter was complaining about knowing which book won the battle before getting to the end of the analysis. I chimed in and said I scroll to see the winner FIRST, then read the reasons for the choice.

    I can't explain why I flip to the end of the book. As soon as I had HP7 in my hands I HAD to read the last page. I didn't think I could wait to find out if Harry would make it. I was able to enjoy the reading much more knowing just a bit about the outcome.

    So, long answer, but I'm with you sister!

  2. That is so funny that you used the Alcatraz books. I laughed myself sick when I got to that part because I used to be such a terrible back-page looker. It depends now. Sometimes I do when I'm not sure I want to finish it. If the ending promises something good I might forbear. But if it is a book I really love, I won't touch it because I want to be swept up in the adventure with them.



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