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jennifer75
10-04-2008, 11:29 PM
The simple answer is you can't write something that will please everybody. Here you have people who insist they will read every part of the book front to back, and you also have people who choose what they wish to read.

I personally find it really odd that some people skip to the end to find out what happens, instead of reading through to it, but I don't consider them lesser readers.

I quoted this from the "to prologue or not to prologue" thread....and it made me think...

Some people do this, I knew someone who would do it because she couldn't stand the suspense of not knowing...so she spoiled it for herself but still read the entire book.

Have you done it? Which book? How did you feel throughout the book, having already read those last few words, sentences, pages? Were you glad you did it? Were you disappointed?

truelyana
10-04-2008, 11:49 PM
First of all Hello Jennifer, nice to see you again. :)

I have only ever read the end of books on a few counts, as I wasn't that involved in the middle of the book, and upon my discovery the end wasn't that good. I don't remember the exact name of the book, but it was one of those books I just read for them being popular, and not an actual interest in them. What about you? Remember the book? I think everyone does it at some point, as not all books captivate the reader. I think it just depends on how the reader is feeling, really. :)

inkkognito
10-04-2008, 11:52 PM
I do it all the time, both with novels and with true crime (although w/TC books you usually know the outcome by the blurb or by reading the captions in the photo section). It doesn't lessen my enjoyment at all, but then again I'm also the sort of person who re-reads my favorite books countless times with almost as much pleasure as the first time.

Bubastes
10-04-2008, 11:53 PM
I quoted this from the "to prologue or not to prologue" thread....and it made me think...

Some people do this, I knew someone who would do it because she couldn't stand the suspense of not knowing...so she spoiled it for herself but still read the entire book.

Have you done it? Which book? How did you feel throughout the book, having already read those last few words, sentences, pages? Were you glad you did it? Were you disappointed?

I'm one of those weird people who usually reads the end of the book early on. This is more of a survival tactic: I'm unable to put a story down in the middle without knowing the end, so I need to do this to get some sleep! For me, it doesn't spoil things at all because I enjoy the entire journey and seeing HOW the characters get to the end even more than knowing what happens at the end. I also re-read books a lot.

Williebee
10-04-2008, 11:58 PM
The only times that I've done this is when I suspect it the author is setting up a series. I want to know it's a series going in. If it is, and the next one(s) aren't out, the odds are I'll wait until some of them are, so that I can get a more satisfactory reading experience.

And yeah, I know that if everybody felt that way, the next book in the series might not come out at all. My reading angel and my writing angel have argued about this more than once.

jennifer75
10-05-2008, 12:01 AM
First of all Hello Jennifer, nice to see you again. :)

I have only ever read the end of books on a few counts, as I wasn't that involved in the middle of the book, and upon my discovery the end wasn't that good. I don't remember the exact name of the book, but it was one of those books I just read for them being popular, and not an actual interest in them. What about you? Remember the book? I think everyone does it at some point, as not all books captivate the reader. I think it just depends on how the reader is feeling, really. :)

HIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII TRUE!!!!!! Where u been hiding, in that cottage with the tea and scones...hehheh?? ;)


PS love the pic! It's a chilly 68 (yea I said chilly) and I've got tea going. Yum.

jennifer75
10-05-2008, 12:03 AM
I'm the kind of person who is extra careful not to see those last words, BUT I do have an obsession with having to know the page count....so I will pull the page back just enough to see that number, then close it back up.....I can't stand a spoiler.

Judg
10-05-2008, 12:07 AM
I almost never skip to the end. The rare times I've done it, it's because the book is not holding my attention well. I figure if the ending is a downer, there's really no point in plowing on.

I'm a re-reader too. That's the whole point of buying a book, as far as I'm concerned. Otherwise, I just take it out of the library. This means I sometimes buy books I've already read and they go straight on the shelf, to be picked up again in some future month or even year. I just want to have them on hand.

vixey
10-05-2008, 12:08 AM
So far it looks like I'm the exception. I can honestly say I've NEVER read the ending of any book. I've always thought that if I did, I wouldn't want to finish it.

ETA: Looks like I cross posted with Judg.

maestrowork
10-05-2008, 12:41 AM
I've never done it, although sometimes I can guess the ending halfway through the book, and it's a bit of a letdown because the ending becomes "predictable" for me. Still, for me, reading is about the journey, the plot and not the necessarily the ending.

When I buy, I sometimes flip to about 3/4 of the book or near the end to see if the prose still holds up. But I never would want to spoil it that way.


My mom is a notorious "ending reader." She drives me crazy when she would flip to the end first.

Mr Flibble
10-05-2008, 12:47 AM
I've never done it, although sometimes I can guess the ending halfway through the book, and it's a bit of a letdown because the ending becomes "predictable" for me.

Me too. Unfortunately, far too many books I've guessed the ending and not been surprised which is always a big disappointment :( Even more of a bummer when you're reading a whodunnit and figure it out 100 pages from the end. In one particular series I correctly guessed the shadowy Ultra Bad Dude three books before the end. No, I did not buy the three books to see if I was right, I borrowed them from the library and skimmed them till the Big Reveal, hoping against hope there would be an Uber Plot Twist because it was sooo obvious who it was. Sadly, no Plot Twist. Sadly no enjoyment. Sadly, stopped reading that writer.

I prefer surprises.

Ms Hollands
10-05-2008, 12:57 AM
I have never read the end of a book before I'm meant to. It's some weird respect to the author as well as just not being in me I guess.

My brother, on the other hand, as probably never got through a book without reading the ending first. He also always played the banker in Monopoly when we were kids and somehow always managed to win...are the two connected?

Deccydiva
10-05-2008, 01:03 AM
I did it once because I was feeling the MC's pain so much I just had to find out if she had a happy ending, or I would not have been able to read any more of the heartache in the middle!

maestrowork
10-05-2008, 01:14 AM
Me too. Unfortunately, far too many books I've guessed the ending and not been surprised which is always a big disappointment :( Even more of a bummer when you're reading a whodunnit and figure it out 100 pages from the end.

That's why I don't read mysteries anymore. 9.9/10 of the time I could guess whodunit midway through the book. It's no fun anymore.

ishtar'sgate
10-05-2008, 01:22 AM
Have you done it? Which book? How did you feel throughout the book, having already read those last few words, sentences, pages? Were you glad you did it? Were you disappointed?
I can't remember which books I've done it with but I've done a modified form of flipping to the back. If I've found a character really engaging and am worried they might get killed off, I've turned to the back of the book, kind of clouding my eyes and not really looking at the sentences but only scanning for a name I hope is still there. If I see the name I settle down, go back to where I was and keep reading. If I don't see the name I'm on edge until I find out what happened to them. Maybe I get too emotionally involved.:D

Kryianna
10-05-2008, 05:23 AM
With some fantasy writers, I'll flip to the back of the book to see if it's a "To Be Continued". I've been burned enough where I now want warning.

Past that, I've skimmed the ending twice. Once was a book that was boring me, and I wanted to know if it would be worth it to read the rest. It was a satisfactory ending, so I read the rest.

The other time the book had more suspense than I could handle, and it was making me anxious (I can't watch horror or intense suspense movies, and I don't remember why I was reading this book). I read the ending just so I could read the rest of the book. It was definitely a sign that the author did a great job! :D

ABekah
10-05-2008, 05:56 AM
I never read the ending first...that would ruin the reading experience for me. My mom, however, does almost every time. She wants to know if it has a "happy ending" and then she's content reading the book?

Darzian
10-05-2008, 07:48 AM
Okay, I NEVER read the ending first. As a writer, I know how difficult it can be for a writer to build up sense for the climax, and knowing that climax makes most of the suspense worthless. I really can't ever do it. Characters may die at any point. If I read the ending to make sure that everyone's still alive, then what about those precious life threatening moments that the author put in?You know they'll live, so is there any thrill in reading those parts?

Do note that the above is IMHO.;)

AdamH
10-05-2008, 09:21 AM
I never have sneaked a peak (though I was tempted while reading "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" to find out who the Half Blood Prince was). I like the suspense. There's nothing in the movies that compares to the quality page-turner that keeps you up all hours of the night to know what happens next.
When I find a book like this, I consider it a disservice to myself if I spoil it by flipping easily to the end. I want to enjoy the ride.
Though, like in many movies, I can usually predict the ending before I reach it. Rare is the story that surprises me. But when I find one, I hold on for dear life and enjoy the novelty. (pun intended :tongue)

Cassidy
10-05-2008, 10:05 AM
I did it once because I was feeling the MC's pain so much I just had to find out if she had a happy ending, or I would not have been able to read any more of the heartache in the middle!

oh yeah, i've totally done this. more than once...

Stlight
10-05-2008, 11:05 AM
I always read the last bit if there is an animal in the book. If there is an animal and it’s killed by the end of the book, I’ll be depressed for days, can’t help it, can’t talk myself out of it, so I don’t read those. I’d like to see the animal in the last sentence so I don’t have to see who done it. But then I’m terrible at remembering who done and can reread mysteries again and again. If I like the characters the mystery doesn’t matter. Yes, it spoiled HP & and pretty much the whole series for me. Particularly since I didn’t see the point of it.

I once read one that turned out to be a to be continued and it was a year before the next volume came out. I felt betrayed since I wasn’t warned at the beginning of the book. Now if I do get the first of a series I don’t read it until I get all three, (HP exception because they were complete books, you know what I mean.) With fantasy I always look at the last page for the To be continued tag. You don’t have to read the ending to see that.

S

nevada
10-05-2008, 11:12 AM
I only read the ending if the book is bad. that way i get some closure and i dont have to slog through pages and pages of crap.

I go to a writer's website and there are a lot of women there who read the end of the books before they buy them for one reason. It has to have a happy ending. If it doesn't, they put the book back. They refuse to read anything that doesn't end with a neat happy ending all tied up in a ribbon. Personally I think they're missing out on some great books but it's a personal choice i guess.

Samantha's_Song
10-05-2008, 02:00 PM
I always used to do this when I was younger, but never considered that I'd spoiled the book for myself, I'd still enjoy it. I was the same if anyone ever gave me an early birthday or Christmas present, I'd open it as soon as the person, who gave it to me, had left.
If I am watching a film and really enjoying it, at my sister's house, I'll turn and ask her how it ends? I don't know why I do it, because she always gives me the same answer...'Wait and see.' Grrr!!! :D


Some people do this, I knew someone who would do it because she couldn't stand the suspense of not knowing...so she spoiled it for herself but still read the entire book.

truelyana
10-05-2008, 02:17 PM
HIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII TRUE!!!!!! Where u been hiding, in that cottage with the tea and scones...hehheh?? ;)


PS love the pic! It's a chilly 68 (yea I said chilly) and I've got tea going. Yum.

Yes, I have been around. Something like that, and thank you for the 68 comment. I really do like it. :)


Me too. Unfortunately, far too many books I've guessed the ending and not been surprised which is always a big disappointment :( I prefer surprises.

Me too. With most books, you can easily guess the ending, as there is not enough story and suspense to it. I do prefer surprises as well.

JustJess
10-05-2008, 03:57 PM
I'm with Nevada on this one.

I only skip to the end if I'm not enjoying the book. Sometimes the story question will pique my interest but the actual writing falls flat-so I'll skip to the end so I can be done with it.

HeronW
10-05-2008, 04:06 PM
I don't think I've ever read the end of a book first. If it's a piece of crap I stop reading, if it keeps my attention, I go through to the end.

blueobsidian
10-05-2008, 04:21 PM
Have you done it? Which book? How did you feel throughout the book, having already read those last few words, sentences, pages? Were you glad you did it? Were you disappointed?

I don't do it on a regular basis but I did do it once. It was with the last Harry Potter book. I just wasn't patient enough to wait and find out if Harry was ok or not, so I read the last page while I was standing in line to purchase the book.

I'm glad I did it, even though it isn't my usual pattern. I've never been a particularly patient person so I'm surprised that it doesn't happen more frequently :)

tehuti88
10-05-2008, 05:47 PM
I do such things on occasion, but not often. I tend to be more of a "middle spoiler"--in order to get the feel of a book I'll browse a few pages somewhere in the middle to see if I like the style or not. And occasionally, I'll find a spoiler.

Additionally, sometimes with books I'm already committed to reading and am already well through, I might wonder about something in the plot and start peeking back toward the end to see what happens. I don't mean to spoil the entire story or read the entire ending--it's usually one aspect that I want resolved. The one example I can think of is when I was reading "The Golden Compass" and Lyra was separated from the gyptians. I wondered if the gyptians were killed or not? So I kept browsing further and further back to find out, and I missed the pages where it said what happened, so I ended up browsing even further into the next two books just to learn their fate. :o That of course spoiled a few things, especially since I tend to get caught up in other things I see on the page--I recall also browsing around to learn what became of the angels Baruch and Balthamos--but it's not like I intended it to happen, I just got too curious. I still read the entire trilogy, beginning to end.

Once in a while this leads to disappointment as, while browsing the middle section of a book I haven't read yet (but already own), I found something interesting and of course had to follow it through to see what happened. While poking around near the end, I think I discovered something that spoils the entire story. *sigh* Oh well. It won't stop me from reading it, eventually, but it takes away the mystery.

It's weird, for the most part I don't mind spoilers that don't give the ULTIMATE plot point away, but on occasion there are certain things that niggle at me. I think it was so in this case. With the "Golden Compass" trilogy, the stuff I was looking for didn't spoil the entire story, but in the second case, it did. So the first instance didn't bother me but the second one did.

Noticing a few posts above, I think I'm in the opposite camp. I have no reason to skip to the end of a book (not that I'm actually skipping...) if I'm not enjoying it. If I find it that awful I won't care what happens toward the end! The more interested/curious I am about a story, the greater my chances of peeking around where I shouldn't. :o

It's like, you see a curious-looking gate. If you don't care about what lies behind it, or the gate doesn't interest you, then you're not going to peek. But if it draws your attention, of course you're going to open it and look inside, and probably get lost wandering around the garden within.

ChaosTitan
10-05-2008, 05:55 PM
I hate knowing how it ends, and that goes for books and movies.* My main incentive for sticking through a story until the end is to find out what happens. If I know ahead of time, there is no urgency to finish.


*The exception, of course, being a movie I loved that led me to locate its book source (or vice versa). In those cases, I'm usually reading/watching for the differences, not so much the discovery of the story.

jgold
10-05-2008, 08:23 PM
I used to read a book from cover to cover without flipping pages, and I could never understand people who skipped ahead or read the end.

And then I started reading George R. R. Martin's series. He has at least a dozen character viewpoints that alternate throughout the novels. I started skipping ahead and reading my favorites so I didn't have to wait for a hundred pages to read that character again.

I do it all the time now, with all kinds of books. Sometimes, just skimming ahead lets me know whether or not I can reach that point in the novel before I need to go to sleep.

I always go back and read the parts I missed, and I only do it for books that I really enjoy.

nevada
10-05-2008, 08:33 PM
Funny story about reading spoilers. (not so much reading the end but it's a funny story anyway, so bear with me)

One christmas, when i was still reading Anne Rice, someone gave me her latest book. I don't remember which one. My sister, as we all do, picked up the book and opened it at random and started reading. Two minutes into it, she cries out "oh oh oh" and slams the book shut. Not only that but she has tears in her eyes. So I laugh at her, cause thats the kind of family we are, and ask her what's going on. She had managed, out of all the pages in that book, and there were many, to find the scene where Louis kills himself. Louis was her favourite. We all laughed at her, especially at the tears. And then I let her take the book home so she could read it right away and make sure Louis was okay. And by the way, we didn't so much laugh at her as laugh with her. One of the few things that happened that I still remember very clearly.

Alpha Echo
10-05-2008, 08:47 PM
I can't beleive so many people skip to the end! I have never, ever done that.

The only thing I might do is flip through the next few pages to see how long the chapter is (if I'm trying to find a stopping point and want to read just one...more...chapter...)

One thing I HAVE done before, however, is actually skipped the ending. I bet people on here would disagree with me, but when I read The Memory Keeper's Daughter, I felt like the ending was so long and drawn out. I read until almost the end but figured all that could be said was all ready said and put the book back on the shelf. Maybe I'll read it again later. It's possible I wasn't in a place to appreciate the literary fiction. I don't know. And there are a few other books I've begun and not been able to finish after the first few chapters.

But reading the end first, and then reading the rest of the book? That would spoil it and somehow cheapen all the hardwork I know that author put into the story.

blueobsidian
10-05-2008, 09:09 PM
But reading the end first, and then reading the rest of the book? That would spoil it and somehow cheapen all the hardwork I know that author put into the story.

How, exactly? If someone is still reading the entire story but is too impatient to wait, what's wrong with that? I don't think that there is any "wrong" way to read a book. If I can write my endings first, I'm perfectly fine with people reading them first!

ChaosTitan
10-05-2008, 09:34 PM
How, exactly? If someone is still reading the entire story but is too impatient to wait, what's wrong with that? I don't think that there is any "wrong" way to read a book. If I can write my endings first, I'm perfectly fine with people reading them first!

If you're reading a mystery and skip to the end to find out who did it, it sort of undoes the author's effort. Instead of seeing the subtle clues the author has laid out and trying to figure it out for yourself, you already know.

I agree there's no right or wrong way to read a book, but I worked hard whipping my book's central mystery into shape. I'd be a little sad knowing a reader had already checked out the "big twist" at the end, and then spent the rest of the novel with that in the back of their mind. The chance to look back at earlier passages and go "Ah ha! I see now!" is gone.

Of course, that's just how my brain is wired. I hated The Sixth Sense the first time I saw it, because someone had spoiled the twist. *shrug*

Darzian
10-05-2008, 09:50 PM
If you're reading a mystery and skip to the end to find out who did it, it sort of undoes the author's effort. Instead of seeing the subtle clues the author has laid out and trying to figure it out for yourself, you already know.

I agree there's no right or wrong way to read a book, but I worked hard whipping my book's central mystery into shape. I'd be a little sad knowing a reader had already checked out the "big twist" at the end, and then spent the rest of the novel with that in the back of their mind. The chance to look back at earlier passages and go "Ah ha! I see now!" is gone.

Exactly- and this more or less applies to every story ever written.

I was discussing the very same topic on another forum. But I'm surprised that so many writers are reading the ending first. It doesn't seem to make any logical sense to me. Of my reasons for reading a book, 70% goes to the anticipation of the ending.

Sometimes, I don't even read the blurb (if the book is highly recommended) because the blurb typically spoils between 10-80% of the story. If highly anticipated movies are due to release, I don't watch trailers.

I want to enjoy a book to the maximum as it is written.

jennifer75
10-05-2008, 10:28 PM
I don't do it on a regular basis but I did do it once. It was with the last Harry Potter book. I just wasn't patient enough to wait and find out if Harry was ok or not, so I read the last page while I was standing in line to purchase the book.

I'm glad I did it, even though it isn't my usual pattern. I've never been a particularly patient person so I'm surprised that it doesn't happen more frequently :)


I like how you managed NOT to spoil the ending for me - the only person who HASN'T read HP's books yet. Thanks!

Peachnuts
10-05-2008, 10:31 PM
Nope.
I would feel ripped off. Like watching the end of a movie first and knowing the whole time what was going to happen. What's the point?

Barb D
10-06-2008, 12:29 AM
I do it if, for whatever reason (bad writing, etc) I know I'm not going to waste my time finishing the book. I may be invested in a character enough to want to know how it ends, but not care enough to plow through the whole book to get there.

Stlight
10-06-2008, 01:19 AM
Since I reread mysteries I don’t see the problem with reading the ending first or middle. As I said as long as no animals are killed I don’t much care about the resolution of the book. I read for the characters. If they are interesting I’ll read the whole thing and reread it. If they aren’t interesting I don’t care what happens to them. Great plot twists, shrug. But that’s just me.

S

Susan Breen
10-06-2008, 01:27 AM
I've never read an ending first, but it's interesting that so many people do. I spend a lot of time in my class going over beginnings, but very little time on endings, so I should probably think about that. But how do you know if it's a good ending if you don't know what preceded it?

blueobsidian
10-06-2008, 06:03 AM
I want to enjoy a book to the maximum as it is written.

I think you hit the nail on the head with the word "enjoy." For me, novels are about entertainment. If someone can still enjoy a book while knowing the ending, that is their choice. Not spoilering it for yourself is your choice. Neither choice has to make any logical sense. It just has to make the reader happy!

I tend to read spoilers for my favorite television shows more than books. In many ways, it is because I feel some emotional investment with those characters. I get impatient and want to know if something bad is going to happen to them or if a plot is going to work out the way I want it to. It's probably why I haven't felt compelled to do it with novels as much -- I don't read many series.


I like how you managed NOT to spoil the ending for me - the only person who HASN'T read HP's books yet. Thanks!

Hehe, I had to rewrite that sentence just to be sure that there were no spoilers. Even though I spoiled Deathly Hallows for myself, I try to be careful to never give spoilers to others (unless they ask).

OctoberRain
10-06-2008, 06:37 AM
I've only done it once in my whole life, and it was recently, and it was with the Twilight books. I had already bought all four at once on the recommendation of a few friends, and I had just finished the first one. I didn't know if I could get through three more. So I picked up the fourth one and skipped to the last ten pages. Let me me just say, it felt incredibly weird and wrong to do that, but I needed to know whether the investment of my time in getting through another 1500 pages was worth it.

I was glad I looked.

ETA: I did go back and read them all, but knowing how it ended somehow helped. Hard to explain.

Jenan Mac
10-06-2008, 07:39 AM
I do it pretty frequently. Once I know that Jennifer dies in the end (and finally stops calling Oliver "Preppy"), or Johnny Tremain gets his hand repaired so he can shoot a gun, I can enjoy the process of getting there.
I don't usually bother when I'm on a Nora Roberts binge. You pretty much know where you're going to end up before you finish the first 5 pages, with her.

Darzian
10-06-2008, 07:42 AM
I was glad I looked.

ETA: I did go back and read them all, but knowing how it ended somehow helped. Hard to explain.

And I find it very hard to understand. If I'd known the last 10 pages of book 4, I would likely never have read the books. One of the biggest driving forces is the anticipation of the climax, IMO.

Such controversy on AW is very interesting.

cherubsmummy
10-06-2008, 07:59 AM
I have been known to skip to the last page of a book, usually if I am concerned a favoured character is not going to make it. I tend to skim for names, rather than read the actual outcome, and often the last page is not sufficiently detailed to 'spoil' the ending. I always then go back and read the whole story, because if I skip to the back it's because I care enough about the characters to worry about them.

Emma

TheAntar
10-06-2008, 12:17 PM
The whole point of reading the book is to enjoy ending.

Why would you spoil it? Unless you've decided not to finish said book, reading the ending is like checking the credit card statement in November so you don't have to wait for Christmas morning to find out your presents. Talk about ruining some of the best of life's moments. Sheesh.

MagicMan
10-06-2008, 12:43 PM
I'm surprised nobody mentioned speed reading. Not skimming. I frequently speed read a book, finishing in under an hour.

If I enjoy the book, I go back and read at what I call an enjoyment pace. This is where I dive into the protagonist, journey with him/her, feel the pain, enjoy the thrills, worry about what fate has in store for me, oops sorry the MC.

My real world is put on hold when I am involved in a good book for hours.

I guess that means, the end doesn't matter, as long as the story is gripping.

Smiles
Bob

blueobsidian
10-06-2008, 04:06 PM
The whole point of reading the book is to enjoy ending.

Why would you spoil it? Unless you've decided not to finish said book, reading the ending is like checking the credit card statement in November so you don't have to wait for Christmas morning to find out your presents. Talk about ruining some of the best of life's moments. Sheesh.

And, as some of us have stated, we STILL enjoy reading once we know the ending, so perhaps the "sheesh" is a little rude? I'm not understanding why some people who don't like to read the ending have such a problem with people who do. Why do you care how other people like to read? If someone is happy and entertained, isn't that the whole POINT of a novel? I was happier knowing the end of a book before I read it. It didn't change my enjoyment of the book at all (in fact, it probably made me more relaxed so I didn't speed read the whole thing to get to the end).

As a kid, my sister and I always made a game of discovering where our parents hid our Christmas presents. They hid them somewhere new and more devious every year. Sometimes we found them, sometimes we didn't. However, the years we knew ahead of time did NOT stop us from enjoying them when we unwrapped them on Christmas morning!

Fillanzea
10-06-2008, 04:58 PM
I always read the last paragraph or so when I'm 50-ish pages into the book. The last paragraph usually doesn't spoil me too badly - I'm not reading to 'find out how it ends,' I'm reading it to get some sense of the emotional tone of the ending. It shapes my expectations as a reader and gives me a framework for reading the story.

Jenan Mac
10-06-2008, 05:10 PM
The whole point of reading the book is to enjoy ending.

The whole point of reading the book is the whole book, not just the ending.

Fillanzea
10-06-2008, 05:20 PM
The whole point of reading the book is to enjoy ending.

Why would you spoil it? Unless you've decided not to finish said book, reading the ending is like checking the credit card statement in November so you don't have to wait for Christmas morning to find out your presents. Talk about ruining some of the best of life's moments. Sheesh.

Some of us disagree that the point of reading the book is to enjoy the ending! That's only one of the pleasures of reading.

I loved Octavian Nothing for the total immersion in a pre-revolutionary-war and revolutionary-war setting, for the beautiful language, for the anger bubbling under the surface, for its rigorous development of the themes of liberty and hypocrisy and the way we interpret our own history.

I loved Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian for its anger and its humor and the way they were woven together, and for its absolutely believable teen-boy voice.

I loved The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks for its incisive observations and commentary on our "post-feminist" society and the subtle ways it still manages to work against women having power; I also loved the pranks.

(It's a month before the election, I'm sorry, I'm coming up with all these political books!)

In a book where the plotting is really rigorous and twisty, and one of the book's great strengths, then I can see where it's a pity to spoil yourself. When Harry Potter 7 came out, I did my level best to stay away from all spoilers! Where there's a mystery at the center of a book, I can see where it's a pity to spoil yourself.

But... a novel is like a scavenger hunt through a beautiful city. You might be completely focused on finding a cheese shop that has a particular cheese, or a skein of bamboo yarn, or a shop that's been in business since before 1800 - you might be totally focused on finding the clues and getting the prizes - but the real POINT is for you to explore, to see things you'd never seen before, to go off the beaten path of Crate & Barrel and Barnes & Noble.

The novelist is trying to lead you through an exploration of character and setting and theme, and in some ways - this isn't true for every novel, but it's true for some - the narrative drive, the desire to find out what happens at the end, is just the bait. So I really don't think that a novel can be reduced to finding out what happens at the end.

tehuti88
10-06-2008, 06:47 PM
I like how you managed NOT to spoil the ending for me - the only person who HASN'T read HP's books yet. Thanks!

I haven't read them yet. :D And when the heck is the last one coming out in paperback already?? Cripes.

I've had pretty much everything important in them spoiled already though, since when you're online it's kind of hard to avoid HP spoilers unless you wear blinders, but the way I see it, all the best stuff is probably in the writing that people didn't bother talking about. It's all about the journey and not the destination, and all that jazz. Or something.

Spiny Norman
10-06-2008, 07:23 PM
I do it. Pretty frequently, in fact.

Here's the real issue - anyone can surprise a reader. Cheap plot gimmicks are a dime a dozen. But you know you've got the really good stuff on your hands when you can reread it, hit the plot gimmick, and feel the exact same depth of emotional response to what's happening even though you knew it was coming. THAT is good writing. Understanding how they did that, how they could manufacture something that could inspire such feeling every single time, is really important in becoming a writer, I think. My reasoning is below, and you can read if you want. It got sort of lengthy.

One of my professors drilled it into me in class that, for class, you should never read for plot.

This has become a serious concept for me, as a writer. The idea was that if you read for plot you often overlook a lot of the deeper structures of the novel. Instead of seeing what the writer was doing, you were only looking at what the writer wanted you to see and think about. A lot of the subtler stuff, and by nature a lot of the more important stuff, was happening at the seams, nudging you along, changing your worldview, and you weren’t aware that it was happening because you wanted to find out who the Duchess was sleeping with. (Answer: everyone.)

I do tend to think that a real step in reading a book as a writer is not caring about plot, or not having an issue in spoiling it for yourself. I don’t think that you have to spoil it every time, but it does lend the story more to study if you know where it’s going. I think rereading works just as well. You’re seeing a craft in action as they build something around you, only this time you know what it is.


It's all about the journey and not the destination, and all that jazz. Or something.

Or yeah. That.

Clair Dickson
10-06-2008, 07:56 PM
When I get in my car and drive off down the highway, I know where I'm going. That doesn't mean I don't enjoy the journey.

With reading, if I know the end, sometimes I can slow down my reading and enjoy the journey more. I'm not very good at waiting, so when I'm in a hurry to read, I'm sure I miss things. It's easier to flip to the end so I'm not in a hurried rush anymore.

Toothpaste
10-06-2008, 08:01 PM
Two threads going on at the same time. Both involving readers judging each other. Mystified at the other.

Can't we just accept that we are all different and read things in different ways? I know many are just discussing the whys, which is cool, but why add the judgment into it?

I guess I am a very lucky person. I never felt obligated as either a reader or a writer. I knew I was free to do whatever I darn well felt like with a book and there was nothing anyone could do about it. I could skip bits, read the same chapter over and over, no one was going to come and tell me, "Excuse me miss, you have violated reading code # 234, I'm afraid you are going to have to come with us."

I've always felt the exact same way as a writer. I never felt I needed to ask if I was "allowed" to do something.

It's interesting to analyse why we do what we do, but please, can we keep the judgment out of it? It's just reading, people. It's not world peace.

CaroGirl
10-06-2008, 08:13 PM
I've never read the ending of a novel first. Honestly, never. I'm not that kind of person. I have a friend who does and it takes all my willpower not to judge her (or hit over the head with a crowbar). Not so because she does it, but because she tells me about it. I shall try to be a better, less judgemental person in future. Thanks for the reminder, Toothpaste. :)

DeleyanLee
10-06-2008, 08:21 PM
I only glance at the end when I'm seriously emotionally involved with a character and I want to know that they get the ending I want them to get (positive or negative), otherwise, I don't want to finish reading the book.

I don't do it often, but I've never felt that it's "spoiled" the book for me. I like having the guarantee of a satisfying ending before I get there.

jennifer75
10-06-2008, 08:28 PM
Can't we just accept that we are all different and read things in different ways? I know many are just discussing the whys, which is cool, but why add the judgment into it?

It's interesting to analyse why we do what we do, but please, can we keep the judgment out of it? It's just reading, people. It's not world peace.


I quoted you because you raised a good point. Sheesh.

Thanks to all who have replied. I personally find it interesting to see who does what and why, judgementally or not.

auntybug
10-06-2008, 08:36 PM
Hey Jen!

I have never read the ending & being the freak that I am, I won't even read the back cover anymore. I don't like anything being given away. I have favorite authors and will just read anything from them. I am working my way through AW's list & have yet to be disappointed. I'm a "judge the book by the cover" gal. I picked up "Time Traveler's Wife" at a thrift shop cause it looked like a cool book :D

I'm not a present shaker either though :tongue

jennifer75
10-21-2008, 12:50 AM
Have you done it? Which book? How did you feel throughout the book, having already read those last few words, sentences, pages? Were you glad you did it? Were you disappointed?

I JUST DID IT! I SKIMMED THROUGH THE LAST THREE PAGES of a book I thought I knew I'd never read, and NOW I think I would actually enjoy the story enough to read it! BUT I've just spoiled it for me, sort of. I know who makes it out alive!

cooeedownunder
10-21-2008, 03:33 AM
I have read the last page a few times, and been more compelled to read it then, because I had no idea how the ending fitted in with what I had already read.