Friday, October 23, 2009

Of Unforgivable Heinous Acts (Otherwise Known as Skipping to the End of a Book)

As a society, I believe that it is high time we deal with the truly noxious acts happening all around us. And what could be more horrifying than people skipping to the ends of novels, instead of earning the ending in the manner the author carefully crafted it? I kid you not. This must be stopped and as expeditiously as possible.

In order to be the change I want to see in the world (thanks Gandhi), I’ve decided that name calling and perhaps hair pulling are the ways to deal with this problem. And it must be even more widespread than I thought, because I know for a fact that three of my friends/family actively participate in this attack on the natural order of fiction.

No writer is safe from this, and, to prevent the spread of this contagion, I look to history to guide me toward a cure. And history teaches (according to genteel and certainly benign, albeit totalitarian, regimes) that it is best to rat out our families and friends in order to promote either re-education camps or otherwise available methods of persecution.

I hereby submit to you that my own mother—lovely, sweet, creative woman that she is—is a chronic end-reader. She’s gone to desperate lengths to commit this crime against all that is right and worthy in fiction. This is how bad it is. Recently, while listening to an audiobook, she became terrified for her beloved Mike Nash and his baby son, Charlie (from Extreme Measures by Vince Flynn), and actually got into her car (wasting precious natural resources in the process) and drove to a bookstore to pillage the unsuspecting book in order to glean the ill-gotten knowledge. How she can even respect herself at this point is completely beyond me. And that such an honorable woman, who raised me with morals and ethics, could unashamedly behave in such a manner shocks me to no end.

And it doesn’t stop with my mother, either. Two of my own friends also participate in this felonious (at least it should be) behavior. They get this compulsion. This itch. It’s an addiction I tell you. Where is the patch, lozenge, pill, or lollipop created to deal with this? It is almost as if the medical-industrial complex is completely ignoring this potentially life-threatening problem.

Okay, life threatening might be a bit much, but these three individuals are also some of my readers, and the very thought that they might read the end first gives me hives. Hives might kill me, right? And even after extracting promises that they will not violate the order of my novels, I still worry, and they (cruel that they are) titter and joke that they’ve looked at the end, the next page, some random line taken out of context. Context is everything, people. Look inside yourselves and know that what you do violates an oath of life, liberty... okay, who am I fooling here? There are a few other problems in the world that might be more important (reckless gum chewing, spam texts, and late night calls to check on the quality of previous car service appointments), but I submit to you that reading the end of the book first is cheating.

And haven’t we learned by now that cheating is wrong? Anyone? Anyone? Oh, dear, I guess there is work to be done here.

As a special commendation to one of the aforementioned deviants, I would like to say a public thank you to my dear friend for not reading the end (first) to the recently recommended SHIVER. That last page has to be earned... and it is so worth it in its proper order. That book is a gift and the last page, like Christmas. (And that gives away a little bit, in that if all the characters were flash fried by an asteroid, that would hardly equate with Christmas morning... for most people anyway.)

And also, thanks to my novel readers who fight their urges and have compassion upon my delicate, appropriate-order sensibilities and read my books from page one until the end, without deviation.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

The first step to curing a problem is admitting you have one. Feel free to post and either agree with me (which will win you a gold star), disagree (which gets you absolutely no star), or step up and admit that you are an end-reader and renounce your evil ways or, if you must, deny the wrongness of your actions (and prove that you are in denial).

Quote For The Day from Oscar Wilde

“Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.”


DebraLSchubert said...

I have a lot of bad traits, but being an "end-reader" (which, in itself, sounds mildly obscene) is not one of them. I'm glad you've taken on the role of End-Reader Police. After all, someone had to do it and I couldn't imagine a better candidate. You're thorough, analytical, and (up until you met me!) you play by the rules. Who better to police such heinous behavior? Thanks for this important PSA. End readers, beware!!!

Anonymous said...

Hummmmmmm; I am the "mother" in this article. Sorry but listening to a 25 hour book and having the main character die in the last 10 minutes traumatized me.......I will continue protecting myself from falling in love with "the guy in the red shirt" and having him killed off.

Indigo said...

End readers are the same ilk as speed readers. A book must by any means necessary be enjoyed, like a roller coaster that takes your breath away and thrills at the same time.

Even if it's a book I can't put down, I pace myself to absorb and enjoy the words in front of me. (Shudders) People actually do that? They skip to the end? For the love of God why? Those poor neglected pages in between. (Hugs)Indigo

melane said...

I am a former end-reader. Did it all the time when I was in middle/high school, but I reformed my ways. Now, the thought of reading the end first is just traumatizing.

Jemi Fraser said...

I don't get it!! I've never read the ending before I got to the end (did that make sense??). It would take out the excitement.

Although, I suppose I've read a lot of books over again, so I know the ending. But I still love those books. Hmmm, now I've just gone and confused myself :)

Frankie said...

Hey, I'm going by your mom's house later to burn the last chapter of every book she owns and put a big "I'm an END reader!" sign on her garage door. (I think I'm suppposed to move a fridge for her or something too.)Want me to add anything?

Julie said...


It is good to know that you don't participate in this deviant behavior. And I'm sure you keep your deviant behaviors to a minimum... at least for a rock star, which gives you more latitude than most of us get (going to have to consider becoming a rock star... they seem to have more fun.)

Julie said...

Anon Mom,

You have many wonderful traits that almost make up for this heinous one. But I must add (because you taught me to tell the truth) that you became an end-reader before you experienced that 25-hour audiobook disaster. What happens if your hero, Vince Flynn, feels about end-readers like I do... what then I ask you? ;)

Julie said...


It is shocking. Truly. I didn't know people did this, but now that I do, it haunts me. I'm wondering though whether writers participate in this or not. The three people who are referenced in the blog are not writers. I'm curious if that makes a difference or not. But I'm glad to know that you are on Team End-Reading Bad with me. Thanks for the comment.

Julie said...


I applaud your courage in admitting your former end-reading tendencies. No one will judge you, and if you begin to fall off the wagon, you know that we are here for you. :)

Julie said...


For the record, you made perfect sense. And I'm completely with you on re-reading books. That doesn't count as end-reading at all, just venturing back into a much loved world. It makes me tingle just thinking about it. I saw a woman reading Shiver today, and it made me want to run back and read it again. I just love that book! Thanks for the comment.

Julie said...


You are a keeper, I tell you. But I have to say, my mother reads these comments and you might end up in that fridge if you carry out that threat. And ask Mom about her new hobby before you do anything drastic. She's got skills. :)

Shel said...

My name is Shel and I am, always have been, and always will be an end reader.

I LOVE knowing what's going to happen. For me, it makes seeing the process of getting to that point so much more enjoyable.

If I'm truly enjoying a book, that means I've glanced ahead to see how it ends.

Side note, Julie--We met at Cover to Cover yesterday. I love your blog!

Julie said...

Hi Shel,

It was great meeting you yesterday, and I'm glad you stopped by the blog. An end-reader... for shame. And you were reading Shiver... so you already know that... ouch.

The worst part about your confession is that you've given my mother ammunition (since you are a writer who is also an end-reader... yikes) and further reason not to abstain from her evil ways.

I promise not to hold it against you. And best wishes for good news from your querying. :)

Anonymous said...

Shel, I read that. Very articulate and well put. Thanks for sharing with Julie. I'm just "the mother." ps to Julie, I still do not how to sign this other than Anonymous.....

Tawny-Taylor said...

I happen to be one of the afore mentioned friends who is an end reader. Maybe I shouldn't be openly admitting that after facing the wrath of my dear friend Julie, THEN having a blog written about it... Oops! But I'd like to defend my "heinous" actions. I can't handle suspense... Of any kind. So to appease my inability to handle suspense I read ahead. Ok so I just admitted to being a "read aheader" after admitting to being an "end reader"... Not a bright idea on a writer's blog but I'm being honest in hopes of explaining my actions. Now onto the end reading... I read ends sometimes when I get board with books and need something to keep my attention. I also read ends if I'm so engrossed with a book I just can't wait to get to the end. Also, reading the end of some books provides new elements about the book that spark my curiosity. For example, I recently read "The Mortal Instruments" series (City of Bones, City of Ashes, and City of Glass). I read the end of one of these books and it mentioned the name of a new character that had not yet been introduced. This inspired an instant curiosity that lasted into the next book. I was already hooked on the series but this one single name kept me excited and left me guessing throughout the entire book as to what their role was in the story. Reading the end only made me want to get there even faster. I must say, if forced to promise not to read the end of certain books I will keep my word, BUT, I can't do it with all books... I'm an end reader. It's who I am and I am A-OK with it!