You see, there was something happening in the book and, well, I couldn’t wait. I had to know whether someone was going to be OK.
So I flipped to the back of the book, skimmed a little, got the answer to my question, and returned to my reading.
Hello, I’m Liz, and I read the end of books.
I don’t always do it. Just sometimes.
I’ve seen authors react with shock and horror that I’ve done the literary equivalent of cutting the Gordian knot, with the Gordian knot being their carefully structured plot.
Here’s the thing: I’m not doing it because I don’t want to read your book. I’m doing it because I’ve gotten so invested in the characters that the level of anxiety on their behalf is such that I just need to reassure myself. (Sometimes it backfires, like when I thought a character was safe only to realize I’d read a few pages of a flashback not the actual ending.) I’ll keep reading if I realize the entire cast has gone the way of Burnt Offerings, but, sorry, I’m not willing to put myself through that emotional turmoil. (Please, spoilers are not needed on a 1973 novel and awesome 1976 film! With Oliver Reed! OLIVER REED who will always be my Athos. Oh, right, point.)
You’d think this would mean that I don’t mind spoilers, and to a certain extent, I don’t. When it does matter to me, I avoid reviews and discussions and move the book up on the to-be-read pile.
One thing I like about reading ends of books before the middle: it means I can appreciate the craft of the writing and plotting and characterization even more because I’m not so obsessed with “OMG will x live/die/go to jail/get the girl”. I know, that’s the reason to reread a book but I don’t usually have time to reread. That said, I do like to reread the first few chapters of a book as soon as I’ve finished it.
So, I’m Liz. I read the end of books first. Do you?
Edited to Add: Head over to Peter’s Collecting Children’s Books to see my knuckles rapped for my bad reading habits! All joking aside, some great questions to ponder about how we read books.