Friday, December 3, 2010

Discussion: Choosing Your Own Ending

As I was finishing my latest read a few hours ago, I got to the point where things were starting to be revealed.  And, as happens quite often for me, I contemplated shutting the book and leaving it.  There are many times toward the end of a gripping novel that I have to close the book at each chapter end and take a short break.  I just get so anxious that things aren't going to turn out the way I want them to.  Especially if a tragic end seems inevitable, I'll admit that I have considered, just for a moment, walking away from the story and leaving things unrevealed.  I've never actually stopped at that point but what I want to know is if I'm alone in deliberating if I really want to know how the author ends the story.

Have you ever considered quitting a book right before the end?  Should I become an end-first reader so that I can get rid of the anxiety?  Has there ever been an ending to a book that you wish you could unread?

Taking my stories seriously,


  1. Never stopped because it might turn out differently: I NEED to know how it ends. But sometimes I do get the feeling that I would be a happier reader if I stopped at a point where my preferred ending was still a possibility. Especially, as you said, if something bad happens... or when love triangles don’t go my way 

  2. I've been annoyed with how an author chooses to end a book, but I never read the ending first or stop before I'm done. Instead, my brain has the ability to simply wipe the actual ending from my mind, lol, so I can add my own imagined one in its place. ;)

    For example, I pretty much pretend The Last Battle (of the Narnia books) doesn't exist! I'm sure I could think of more, but that's the first that came to mind.

  3. If I get that far with a book I need to know how it ends. But there are so many books out there with crap endings - The Historian and Miss Smilla's Feeling For Snow are two that spring to mind.

    I could never read the ending of any book first - that really would be a spoiler.

    I found The Last Battle unreadable - I didn't get past the first chapter.

  4. Yes, you should become an end-reader. It makes your life better in every way, and you hardly ever have to worry about reaching the end and being shocked and disappointed. :D

  5. Sleepless - Exactly. Sometimes you just wish you could take back finding out where the author took the story.

    Eva - I think I do some of that brain-wiping too. Which is sometimes bad for a re-reader because I forget that I hated it and then I hate it a second time! Now that I'm trying not to own books just for the sake of owning them, at least I'm getting rid of them after disliking them a second time.

    Tracy & Eva - I don't remember much of my Narnia reading from childhood. I'm not sure why. Maybe I blocked too much. :)

    Tracy - It sounds like a few of us are compulsive "need to know"ers. I guess even if I know that a death is approaching or something like that, I still need the closure of reading about it.

    Jenny - Sometimes when I'm checking on a page count, I will catch a character name or two on the last page and sigh a little bit, knowing that at least they make it. I guess it's a partial reveal!

  6. Nope! I could never NOT read the ending! If I get that far, I am definitely going to finish it. In fact, I tend to gobble it up, sometimes a bit too quickly, and may even find myself going back to re-read it to enjoy it more! When it comes to reading, at least on first reads, I'm totally into instant gratification! :)