OK – that might be a slight exaggeration but with the majority of books I read I do flick to the last page so I know how it ends.
I relish in doing things that are “naughty” and this may be the naughtiest thing I do, by members of the book community anyway.
I don’t start reading a book by reading the last page, as I wouldn’t know any of the characters or the real context yet, but when I get to about the third of the way through I feel like I have to know what I’m aiming towards.
What I discover enhances my reading experience and has never made me think any less of the book itself. There is also some evidence that other people so this too e.g article from The Guardian in 2011 “Spoilers Actually Enhance Your Enjoyment“.
I totally respect that not everybody feels this way, but to fight the corner for people who love a spoiler – here are some of the reasons I like to know how it ends!
1 – The Satisfaction!
Knowing what happens at the end of a book without having to get to the end is immensely satisfying!
2 – My reading journey is way more pleasurable
This especially applies to thrillers. I don’t have to spend all of my mental energy desperately trying to guess what the twist is….so I can settle into the story more, get to know the characters and more importantly consider the motivation behind the ending. I don’t need to fret over the “what” so I can immerse myself comfortably in the “why”.
One of my favourite books Lullaby by Leïla Slimani, opens with how the story ends, describing how the nanny kills two children. The story then goes back to delve in the nanny herself and the families past, what brought them together and what could possibly have brought her to do such an awful thing.
I’ve never read an ending and then gone back and not bothered to read the whole book as the ending is only a small part of the story for me; the fun is in how you get there.
3 – There is more than one way to read a book
That’s right! You don’t actually have to read a book from beginning to end, in the linear style we have all become accustomed to.**
You can read in the traditional linear way, you can skim read, you can jump from chapter to chapter (this works better for poetry), you can read interactively with a group of people, you can listen to the book being read to you, you can read while making notes in the margins, the opportunities are endless and each different way to read is a different reading experience.
**I also, slightly resent being told how to read a book by the author and publisher – but this is down to my difficult personality and shouldn’t be taken too seriously.
4 – I’m a lot more character driven than plot driven
I enjoy books a lot more where there is lots of character development and you really get to know what is going on inside people’s heads. How they are feeling, their motivations, their upbringing and decisions play a part in their actions and what they want…it’s just all so incredibly interesting.
Not that I am saying I don’t love a plot twist or something jumping out unexpectedly, it’s just that I don’t get the same gratification from it as a controversial internal monologue.
Those are my main reasons but, there are exceptions to every rule. I’ve never read the ending of a Clare Mackintosh or BA Paris or even Paula Hawkins novel, as they’ve kept me so gripped at the beginning I’ve not had the chance.
I adore reading in all of it’s forms and I’m not saying that my way is the best and your way isn’t, it’s just what works for me and appears to be quite a taboo!
If any of you are reading this and still disagree with me – I beg forgiveness. I have obviously not been blessed with the self-discipline you have.
Thanks so much for reading!