Discussions Only We Know
I had a cousin (who has since passed away from cancer) who was a 4th grade school teacher. She loved to read. And it surprised me that she and I enjoyed several of the same books and genres. She had this practice of reading the last few pages of a book before the beginning. I'm sure you know of someone who might do the same.
At the time I couldn't believe that she would do this. How could she "ruin" the entire reading experience by knowing how things would end before she ever knew how they began? How could this possibly be a satisfying reading experience? Didn't she know that the journey was often times the point? And that the build-up was only worth it if you experienced the book as it was meant to be experienced? This entire concept blew my mind, and I thought to myself that I could never go about reading in this way.
Another thing that blew my mind was seeing other readers discuss how they would put off a series ender out of fear that things would not turn out how they wanted. Aonther concept that I just couldn't wrap my mind around. I would go to my local Books-a-Million on release day so that I could be one of the first to read that finale and devour it as soon as possible. Who could possibly stress out over a fictional book to the point of anxiety and putting off the conclusion that you'd been anticipating often times for a year?
And then it happened to me.
Both of these things.
I found myself reading some finales that were such disappointments. How could X character die? How could A character possibly choose B character over character C? How could the author possibly leave Y plotline open? And so the anxiety began to build. Perhaps book 2 in the series had fallen significantly short of the quality and enjoyment from book 1? Which direction would the author take the finale? Would we recover? Or would I ultimately feel as if the entire series had been a waste of time?
The seed of distrust had been planted and would only thrive and grow.
Over time and several book slumps where I just couldn't figure out what my reading problem was... which book would break me out of my slump? What was causing my feelings of apathy? I began to feel as if I could only know whether a book would be worth the read before I began it then I could commit to reading it. Or if I only knew how things were going to end before beginning then I could avoid disappointment. So I began to wonder if I should either give my cousin's method of reading the last few pages a try or possibly search the internet for spoilers.
I haven't yet done either even though there have been times when tv's temptation was truly difficult. In the two cases I can think of where I didn't look ahead despite a strong desire to I ended up being glad that I didn't.
What do you guys think? Do any of you stress over series enders or whether you're going to enjoy each book you pick up? Do you look ahead at all? Or seek out spoilers? Do you feel as if not experiencing a story the way they author intended is ruining it? Or does that matter? I'm truly curious. Where one time in my life I would never have thought I'd even consider this, but now I can't say that I'll never look ahead or never seek out spoilers. What do you guys think? Let me know.