of more evil habits
Get ready for another round of confession — it was simply too therapeutic to admit to you yesterday that I have a roving literary eye.
Here it goes: I always skim the last few pages of a book before I start reading it.
Are you horrified? Before you boo me off the stage or excommunicate me, wait!
I feel betrayed by surprises. I’m fascinated instead by the slow build-up of tension, by the foreshadowing hinting at impending catastrophe. I like knowing what the catastrophe will be so that I can appreciate all the exquisite warning signs the author has put in place. Really, I just like to pretend that we’re tight, me and the author.
And okay. There may be a wee bit of “Don’t tell ME how to read!” rebellion in my bones. I’m a first-born. I can’t help it.
Do you have any controversial (reading) quirks?
Whether or not we can create great fiction remains to be seen. We hope to find out. The deciding factor may be this one: Can we create outstanding tension? Leave it unresolved? Keep the plot flowing without giving the direction away? Don’t know. We’ve spent our lives helping to resolve tension, defuse animosity, create peace. Going through those motions for a few decades may have diminished our ability to create great fiction because we lack the will, or the skill, to build up tension instead of tearing it down, brick by brick…
Isn’t great fiction the unraveling of complicated characters and the sussing out of hidden motivations? Yes and yes. You two are novelists at heart.
Now I know the reason why my roommate reads the ending first XD. She sometimes skips a few pages, read and skip again. As for me, I love surprises, it keeps me going. I really like the feeling when my predictions eventuate. And I’m first born! LOL
Well dearie…your confession is refreshing. Your methodology would not work for me, a lover of surprises, HOWEVER…I have come to a supremely liberating epiphany of late.
When I was a student-child, it was anathema to start a book and not finish it. Bad girl. Sooo, I plodded through endless tomes, “because I was supposed to.” Now that I have achieved a certain (a-hem) maturity, I have given myself permission to duck out of any book that is not moving me briskly along by, say, page 50. Good girl. Free at last from the tyrrany of
performance and perfection, I now read only what I can’t put down.
I love your attitude! (:
Darling, I do the same thing! I’ve tried to get rid of this habit of mine, but it’s no good. I’ve realized that I appreciate the anticipation rather than the surprise of the ending itself.It is what it is. Some other strange reading quirks– when I’m reading by myself I like to read out loud from time to time. I’m not quite sure why, but there it is.
I whisper-read, too, sometimes. (:
Calm your Bones :) You are doing the best thing.i open with center page or title when i happen to read romantic novels or fiction, just to get to the focus point lol but there is nothing like scanning each word , taking breath with the characters and travelling with situation,By the great blog – Dolly*
Thank you Dolly! Glad to know someone is sharing my secret sin.
While I love surprises, I tend to do the same….could it be a growing up globally thing??
I think we could theorize this into TCK-ology, sure! (:
Haha, each to their own, but I did almost gasp aloud when I read that!
You wouldn’t be the first! People get fierce when it comes to their feelings on how a good story should be enjoyed.
lol – that’s gas. I couldn’t do that. But there’s still plenty of suspense despite knowing the ending, because there are lots of surprises along the way.
Some endings of well known stories I’ve been aware of before reading, but once I get stuck into the story, rooting for the characters, I get carried away and forget that I’m aware of the ending.
The story engages my hopes so that, even though I’m aware of the facts of the ending, I still having a feeling of hope – hoping against hope, which is the tragic hope in our awareness of our mortality.
The main thing is to love the story, and how you love the story is no one’s business.
If some people get indignant with how you read, maybe it’s their reaction to their own temptation to do the same. So it’s as if they’re saying, on hearing what you do: ‘(gasp) go away and don’t tempt me; it’s hard enough for me to resist that impulse in myself as it is, which I very much disapprove of’ – but of course, there’s no reason to disapprove of it. :-)
Some of the best books most mundane parts are in the ending, as the suspense has been slowly siphoned off. So many stories don’t fall off a cliff at the end; like the course of a river, calmly flowing into the sea at the end.
I don’t know. Short stories might be a different kettle of fish. And I can’t see how it could be done with poems. Ah, maybe it could.
That picture of the table of contents is funny. That one must’ve been a bestseller indeed ;-)