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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Reading the End First

Many times, I need to read the end of a book first. I generally am not scared of what will happen. I do not feel anxious about the potential outcome. Actually, I read a few chapters of a book before flipping to the last pages. My reason for reading the end instead of going from start to finish stems from my desire to see the entire plot ahead of me. If it is a heart-warming book, I see that what is coming supports what I was thinking. If the book is troubling, I am able to reconcile some of the events into my mind. If there are historical notes or an extensive author's note, I learn the context of the content or plot before working through it.

I found myself reading only the author's notes today in Nothing Daunted: The Unexpected Education of Two Society Girls in the West by Dorothy Wickenden. After the author found letters written by her grandmother, she learned of the extraordinary excursion the elder Dorothy and her childhood friend Rosamund made across the country to the wilds of Colorado in 1916. The two friends agreed to teach the children in the tiny settlement of Elkhead at the request of a local attorney named Farrington Carpenter. Intrepid though they were, the ladies certainly could not have been prepared for the circumstances they met. This time, I am going to wait till the end of the book to learn the end of their story.


  1. my father-in-law always did this too. i wouldn't dream of it. if the author wanted me to read the end four chapters into the story he/she would have put it there. i think i understand why you do this but I'll be reading it the way the author intended pretty much every time. To each his/her own.

  2. I'm in brattcat's camp with this one. And I try very hard not to accidentally get a peek of the end. I remember how annoyed I was when my best friend in high school told me the ending sentence to the book Nineteen Eighty-Four.

  3. I never knew you did this! While I never want to actually READ the end of a book (unless I am giving up on it and merely want to find out what happens), I will sometimes flip ahead to the last chapter to make sure a character doesn't die . . . so that I can brace myself for bad news.