Today I came across a blog entry by one of my favourite authors, Kerry Reichs. If you’re a long time follower of Lazy Happy Bored Happy Sad, you may remember me declaring my love for her previous novel Leaving Unkown/ The Good Luck Girl. Anyway, Kerry has published a new book, ‘What You Wish For‘ and I cannot wait to read it. There’s only one problem, if I buy it now, I buy the US version and then the book won’t match the two I already own and my shelf would be in more disarray than I would like it to be. Yes, I know I sound quite OCD but damn it, I love order. So I’m hoping ‘What You Wish For’ will be published by Orion in the UK rather sooner than later. Or else I need to mentally prepare myself for yet another series (no they’re not sequels but still belong together) of books that do not match. Like these:
My heart still cries silently over the fact that my Thursday Next collection is now officially out of order every time I walk by that shelf but I wasn’t able to resist the dumping price on the last book so I decided my heart would have to get over it. Nope, still isn’t but whatever.
With her guest post, Kerry got me thinking about my reading habits. Yes, I do peek at the end of books as well. Book lovers all over the world are now officially allowed to disrespect me for it. But, tell me, have you never looked ahead? Never? Not even while reading Harry Potter?? LIARS!
I even look ahead chapter wise when the book is not very fascinating or I’m tired. Can I justify staying up for another 10-20 pages or do I turn off the light and try to sleep instead? I like reading chapter-wise. I hate having to stop mid-chapter because I just can’t keep my eyes open any longer or because I get disrupted so I need to plan it. Is there enough time before the appointment for me to get through this or not?
But it’s not always about planning, sometimes I skip ahead to see if things turn out the way I want them to, or if there is (finally) something interesting coming up, or when this stupid part is finally over. Let me tell you though, all my skipping ahead, stealing glances at the end, hasn’t helped me with ‘Great Expectations’. I’m now over halfway through and I’m still waiting for something interesting to happen to Pip, Estella and Miss Havisham. But NOTHING EVER DOES!! Sure, the narrative is fine but the storyline is extremely boring to me.
With the last Harry Potter, I couldn’t help but read the very last chapter first, I needed to know he survived in order to start reading the book. Nonetheless my first reading of The Deathly Hallows was done in such a haste, that after finishing it, I started right at the beginning again to get in everything of the story I missed in my hazy attempt to find out what happens to every single one of the characters I loved and cared for for so long.
I read a lot of crime and mystery novels and even though I know the protagonists survive because, let’s face it, there will be sequels, I still need to reassure myself of the fact that they get out of harmful situations alive. I get scared for the characters, which is probably the whole point of it but I’m a sissy that way.
Reading the last page first is not as bad a thing as many people want you to believe though, or at least, that’s what I think. Reading the last page is mostly confusing and without understanding what has happened before, you’re not even able to understand the ending. Last pages are not endings! They’re just last words to a story you cannot fathom unless you understand the lead-up to those last words. Real endings happen sometime before the last page.
Another thing I do to books is read them simultaneously. I never did that while I was younger, because I thought it would be better to read one book at a time. I’m long over it though. Like right now, I’m reading ‘Great Expectations’ and ‘The Help’. The first one I carry around when I take my mom to appointments because then I actually cannot get out of reading it while ‘The Help’ is what I read in bed. Some books just require more effort to get through them than is good but I stick by them.
Most of them, anyways. I’ve so far, rarely given up on a book. I never made it through ‘Moby Dick’ though. Maybe one day, I’ll find the strength in myself to give it another try just right now, time is too precious to waste it on an old man’s obsession with a white whale. Technically I also never finished ‘Dead Souls’ by Gogol but as the last chapters were incomplete I gave up one day and haven’t regretted it.
Now you know my reading secrets. What are yours? Do you peek at the endings? What books did you gave up and never looked back at?