To the people who read the ending of a book first: WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE? ;)
Doesn’t that defeat the whole purpose of reading a book? You’re reading a book to experience the adventure and the characters, right? It’s like going on hunt for buried treasures. Half the fun is the journey. If you just cut to finding the treasure, where’s the allure? Where’s the sense of excitement for the unknown? You’re missing a lot of important stuff that leads up to the big ending.
This discussion post stemmed from a conversation with my best friend’s ALT friend about TV shows and spoilers a couple of weeks ago. Depending on the show, we’re the type of people who like to fast forward through certain parts in an episode because we can’t handle the intensity of the scenes or handle the boringness of it. All those feelings that come from it are no good to our well-being. (I know, I’m fine with TV spoilers if it’s a show I don’t really care about that much.)
Somehow, the conversation turned to books. This friend mentioned that she reads the ending first and asked me if I do the same. Just imagine my face immediately turn into one of grumpy face’s with a mixture of major side-eye. My exact reaction was:
(Nick Miller has the best faces for the reactions I typically make.)
All my thoughts went from “that is awesome. We are similar. We are kindred spirits” to “nope, I cannot relate. I sort of don’t like you. Make your face go away.” I am in no way condemning you for reading the ending first. I get it. It gives people a peace of mind if they know what happens. But for me, I cannot relate.
Reasons I have heard from people on why they read the ending first:
- They don’t have to worry or be disappointed if something happens or doesn’t happens (like a character dying).
- They don’t have to waste their time with the book if the ending is crap.
- They’ll enjoy the book a lot more.
- They can relax, knowing what happens.
- They want to know if it’s a good book.
- They can’t handle the suspense.
- They are enhancing their reading experience.
A lot of these reasoning are extremely similar to each other and are totally valid. I can understand why readers would spoil themselves. Yeah, they don’t want to waste their time on a book that turns out to be absolute shit. They could devote themselves to reading other books worthy of their time.
Why I can’t read the ending first:
- Endings can be as misleading as the beginning. The book can be really awesome and have a shit ending. And it can be an absolutely horrible book with a good ending. Either way, judging the ending isn’t indicative of the greatness of the story.
- It ruins the book for me. I actually lose all desire to read the book. I think, “what’s the point? Why should I read the book when I know the ending?” The ending totally spoiled the experience of reading it. If it’s an ending I hate, I will most likely not read the book. All the excitement in me has been shooed away by spoilers.
- I won’t give the book a chance if I hate how the book ends. I refuse to force myself to read something that I know will make me angry or sad or frustrated. I think it sucks if I don’t give a book a fighting chance. A book can be good overall (if you take the ending out).
- I like experiencing the journey the characters take. If I read the ending first, I feel like I’m taking away a big part of the story.
- I would miss a lot of key information to be able to accurately judge the ending, and not see the character’s growth throughout the story. I don’t know how the character has gotten to this point in the book. Sure, I’ll read about it (if I decide to), but I lose so much of the surprise and the allure.
- The ending isn’t meant to be read first. If it was, don’t you think the author would’ve placed it at the beginning of the book?
- Why would you deprive yourself of experiencing all the emotions that comes from anticipating what happens next? You get to be surprised by the reveal, maybe angry or sad too. Not knowing what happens next make the reading experience fun. You don’t know when something’s going to make you incredibly angry (to the point you have to put down the book and rant on Twitter) or make your heart wrench that feels like it’s on the verge of being decimated because of all the tragedies that has occurred to the main character?
Remember, this discussion is in no way condemning any of you for reading the ending first. We all experience books differently, so continue to read however you want to. I guess good for you if you are able to do it? I won’t shun you, fyi. Just side eye you a bit. ;D
Tell me what you do! If you do read the ending of a book first, how much do you read? The last page? The last few pages? Why do you do it? For those who do not read the ending first, what prevents you from flipping to the end? Those “read ending first” people are a bunch of weirdoes, am I right? ;D
I am one of those awful people who tend to peek at the endings, lol. It’s not that I want to spoil myself necessarily…I think I just get so excited sometimes that I lack the patience to read the whole thing before finding out what happens (though I regret doing this with Allegiant). You make some good points, though. :D
SHAME ON YOU. ;D I totally understand the lack of patience though. We all just want to know what happens, but I like to be surprised. (Somebody on twitter spoiled the ending to Allegiant and I was soooo mad. I don’t read that series, but now, I don’t even want to because I know what happens.)
You already know my knee-jerk reaction to people reading the endings first (AHH! WHAT? NO! THAT CAN’T BE A THING! WHY IS THAT A THING??) so I’ll spare you a paragraph of my utter disbelief and astonishment. ;)
But seriously, I can’t even imagine reading the ending first, ever. You mentioned most of my main reasons for not doing so – without knowing the full story, it can be misleading; it takes a lot of the surprise away; etc. But for me, the absolute most important reason I never read the ending is this: If it’s a great ending, it totally ruins the emotional gratification you get, reading the ending for the first time–you know, as the ending. You might not have understood how emotionally fulfilling it was going to be if you read it first, and now, knowing how it ends, you will never get the chance to experience it for the first time again, knowing what the characters have gone through to get there.
I do this thing, when I reach the last page of a book, where I cover up all the words below the point where I’m reading. Like, I block them with my hand or a bookmark or something. There is no way I am ever going to read that last sentence without first reading the sentence before it, and that penultimate sentence without reading the sentence before that, etc. This method has served me so well for so long, and given me so many feels. The journey is what makes the destination meaningful, and when the destination is PERFECT, there is nothing like not knowing how amazing it was going to be. It just makes it that much better.
Why rob yourself of that potential with any book, just to save yourself from a few bad ones where you might not like the ending? That’s not a trade-off I’m willing to make, lol.
I do this thing, when I reach the last page of a book, where I cover up all the words below the point where I’m reading
I do this, too! And not just at the end of the book! If I can tell something dramatic is going to happen that I’ll cover up the words then, too.
Ya know, spoilers don’t really bother me at all for most books. I was spoiled for Allegiant. Didn’t care. The ending for me is never important as the actual journey to get there. HOWEVER. . . I don’t peak at endings! I know this seems weird–if I don’t care about spoilers, why should I NOT peak at the endings? But it’s the idea of reading a book as a journey, I think, instead of just for the outcome. If I’m just spoiled by someone in person or online, they’re just giving me the facts. I can live with that. If I peak at the ending, though, while I’m taking it out of context, I feel like there’s more at stake. I don’t want to get to the ending before I find out while reading exactly how it works in with the rest of the story.
Ha. I was spoiled for Allegiant and I was raging so hard. I haven’t even read the series and didn’t plan to. Now, on the off chance I want to read it in the future, I probably won’t because I know what happened. It sucks! So props to you for not caring. :D
Yeah, you can misconstrued the ending if you peek, and if it doesn’t turn out like how you expected it to, such a disappointment.
YES, YES TO ALL OF THIS! If there is something I can’t stand, it’s knowing how a book is going to end. That ruins whole the journey for me..
:DDD It takes commitment for somebody to read the ending first and then continue to read the book. I could never do that. I loose all motivation. To me, reading the growth and the journey doesn’t matter anymore if I read the ending first.
I am so guilty of reading the ending! I don’t do it for all the books that I read though. It mainly happens when I’m bored of the book and I read the ending to see if the book is worthwhile for me to read or not. I see the argument with reading the book in order and I don’t know? I don’t think I have enough self-control to not read the ending before I get to the ending for all the books that I read… At least I read books from front to back as well as skip around? Hahaha.
Ha, but you don’t jump straight to the ending when you first pick up a book, right? From your comment, you haven’t so yay! Boring books are the worst. If nothing interesting happens, I usually find myself skimming to the end. I think that’s okay. (I’m pretty sure it’s somewhat hypocritical of me to do that, but meh.)
Sam @ The Nighttime Novelist says
I’ll confess I’ve done my very share of this, usually because the author takes the whole suspense thing too far and I have like 1.5 cares left to give and I want to spend them on the ending. But I totally agree with you that it ruins the book. If I know the ending from the start, I’m not very motivated with the technicalities of actually getting to that ending. The exception to that, of course, includes retellings. If I read a modernized version of Pride and Prejudice, I’m going to more or less know the ending, but the interest lies in how the author portrays the story and characters and makes them his or her own.
So I understand both viewpoints, but I do my best not to read ahead. The author put in that order for a reason, and you can’t judge a book properly if you don’t read it in the way it was meant to be read.
Hahaha. Oh yeeesss, when authors take suspense too far, it’s the worst. Like just get to the point! Sometimes, it feels extremely forced. Let the character do something! (Not beat around the bushes!)
You know, Pride and Prejudice is one of those books I haven’t read because I know what happens. I want to read it, but I have no motivation to read it. Lizzie Bennet’s and Darcy’s journey has already been spoiled for me. :\
At least you do your best. :D
Leigh @ Little Book Star says
hahaha my feels exact! I think I’ve read a comment or a post before saying that he/she reads the last page of the book first and THEN decides whether to read the book or not. I can NEVER do that because I want the suspense and journey of reading the beginning first and not the end. I guess I kind of understand why someone would read the ending first, but maaaaan, it’s like saying COME HERE SPOILER, COME HITHER!
That is so frustrating! You can’t judge a book by its ending! Like I said earlier, the book can be good with a crap ending or it can be a horrible book with a good ending. Very misleading IMO! The journey is one of the things that make a book. You don’t know the character’s growth unless you read it from the beginning.
NO SPOILER, DO NOT COME HITHER should be the case for books. ;D
I’m with you, Cee! My mom often reads the end first (I think her reason is usually “cant’t stand the suspense”) so I yell at her about that sometimes!
But I DO read the end if I decide to give up on the book. Not because I think it’s going to change my mind. I just want to see what’s going to happen!
*shakes my head at your mom* ;D
Yes. SAME HERE. If I decided that I will not continue with a book, I skipped to the end. Usually, it’s a really shitty ending so my reasoning to drop the book is completely justified. Ha.
I never never read the end of the book. I don’t even read the little information on the cover of the book. I want it all to be a total surprise!!
Good for you! Hahaha. You have a lot of restraint. Do you, at least, read the synopsis?
Michelle (Pink Polka Dot Book Blog) says
I don’t read endings first… but if I’m a good ways into the book sometimes I will skim ahead just to see whats going to happen. I especially do this if it’s like 3 am and the main character is in the middle of some intense happening and I feel I can’t go to bed without making sure him/her is ok. Then I can sleep in peace. The next day I’ll go back and pick it back up where I left off. I learned it from my mom. When I was younger she told me she read the endings before starting the book to make sure it was a happy one (she doesn’t like to read books with not perfect endings). I remember being so shocked when she first told me! I mean it spoils the whole book right?!?!? It never even crossed my mind that I could do such a thing. But then once I knew it was on the table, the temptation was too much and I tried it. And once you start doing it, it’s kind of hard to stop. BUT I don’t always do it and I don’t do it until im at least halfway in.
You guys can go ahead and judge. It is a bad thing to do. But it feels SO good. LOL no it really doesn’t, I just can’t help myself sometimes!
I totally understand that. I am guilty of doing that – skimming a bit so I can ease my mind. I think it’s fine as long as you’re a good ways in (like you said). You still get to read the character’s journey since you didn’t jump to the ending first. :D
Lolllll. Hey, whatever works for you! At least you don’t automatically read the ending.
Jessi @ Novel Heartbeat says
NONONONOOO. Just no! I can never read the ending first. The ONLY time I will EVER read the ending is if I’m so bored with the book that I’m about to DNF, so I want to find out if the ending can tell me if the book is worth reading (it almost never is). But if it’s something I’m really into, I’ll never do it because I hate things getting ruined for me. I love to feel the shock and awe! That’s the point of reading a book for me. I can’t believe anybody would want to know what happens to feel relaxed because they don’t have to worry about what happens. That’s part of the joy of reading a book for crying out loud! *shakes head*
IKR. I do that too! I feel like that’s a more acceptable time to read the ending first.
I would think readers want to feel all the emotions of reading a new book. The shock and awe is everything! If I don’t feel those emotions, what’s the point of reading? It’s dumbbbb. I feel like if I read the ending of a book I’m really into first, I’d get extremely dissuaded from continuing, regardless of whether it’s a great book. The book isn’t fresh anymore.
Nikki @ The Paper Sea says
WORD! How can people do this? I understand having the temptation to look at the ending—I am tempted to do so, but only for books I’m really excited for—but I could never understand acting on it. It makes everything predictable, for me, and that ruins my reading experience. I do have the really annoying habit of skipping to the end of the page, though!
THEY ARE WEIRD. ;D YES. RESIST THE TEMPTATION, NIKKI. Don’t go into the dark side.
Yes, I totally give up on the book when I know the ending. It’s no fun because I end up not caring about the character’s journey. And that sucks.
Kim W. says
When I was in my teens, I used to read the last page of a book first. Always. Even with Harry Potter books (shame on me). But now I haven’t done that in YEARS and I don’t even know why I stopped doing it and why I even did in the first place. I guess I was just too excited to start a new book. I do know that I’m glad I stopped reading the last page first, because I couldn’t imagine doing it now. It would spoil my enjoyment!
Like you I’m also wondering what those people read of the ending. Is it the last page? The last chapter? The epilogue? Because not all books have epilogues. And sometimes the last page doesn’t give much away about the overall story. And if they read the last chapter, what if the last chapter is really really long? Do they just read it anyway? I don’t know, I’m just really curious about that as well.
And yeah, TV spoilers aren’t as bad as book spoilers. If someone spoils a book for me I would be SO MAD, but with TV I don’t really care. I even sometimes look them up myself.
I totally understand that people get caught up in the excitement. Sometimes, we don’t have any restraints, especially when we were younger. But, yay for not reading the ending first anymore! ;D
I think maybe people read the last few pages? IDK. It’s rather strange. When I was younger, if I read the ending first, I would read the last two pages. If the last paragraph/page doesn’t give away what happened, I would think people would read farther back? Maybe? IDK.
Nick definitely has the best facial expression, yeah? I used to read the last part of a book first but then I realized it spoils the whole book and really, there’s no pleasure in reading a book when you already know how it would turn out, right? i also hate it when my friends recommend me a book and then when I ask them, “What’s it about?” and they’d basically spoil the whole story. When i ask them what the story is about I only mean for them to give me a little background of the story.
Oh I haven’t introduced myself, I’m Farzy :) Love your blog! :D
Btw, do you want to join Dreamy December Days? It’ll be fun and there will be lots of prizes!
Hi Farzy! Welcome to my blog! (I hope you become a regular visitor. ;D)
YES, HE HAS THE BEST FACE. Grumpy turtle face ftw! ;D Yeah, where’s the reward at the end if you already read what happened? I need something to keep me reading. Luckily, my friends haven’t spoiled a book for me when I ask what it’s about, which is probably because I have a lot of bookish friends. They know how to sum up a book in the best way possible. I am absolutely horrible at answering ‘what’s it about’ questions because I always fear I’ll spoil something.