HomeHorrorFor a Month, I Started My Books at the End

    For a Month, I Started My Books at the End

    Stories have a beginning and an ending, and even when stories aren’t told in this exact order, it is usually understood that readers must progress through a book from cover to cover. And yet, you will find them sometimes: people who always crack open a book at the back cover, take a sneak peek at the last paragraph, and then pick it up again from the beginning.

    The reasons they offer for doing this are various: “I get anxious reading, so this calms me down”; “I am a rebel, so I like to do things in unconventional ways”; and even, “I do it in case I die before I manage to finish the book, so I don’t run the risk of missing the end.”

    If I hadn’t heard about it from others, it would have never occurred to me to start a book at the end, because who wants spoilers? But then I wondered: if some people keep doing this, there must be something to it, surely? What if — hear me out — what if I started doing it, too?

    So for a month, I decided to go against my own reading beliefs and systems, and start every book by reading the end.

    Why People Do This

    With this experiment, I also wanted to better understand why people do it, and what leads them to rebel against the supposedly right way to read a book.

    Today In Books Newsletter

    Sign up to Today In Books to receive daily news and miscellany from the world of books.

    Thank you for signing up! Keep an eye on your inbox.

    By signing up you agree to our terms of use

    I get the anxiety arguments, but apart from knowing about things that may trigger you, isn’t the thrill of a book — and why we pick them as entertainment — the expectation of something unexpected?

    I got different responses.

    Someone shared with me that they started reading the end of books to get out of a reading slump: “I started reading the last paragraph or last page after I got into a reading slump that I couldn’t seem to shake off. I read the last bit of text in the hopes of wanting to get back into the swing of reading. And it does work if the last page ends with a sort of abstract but reflective writing.”

    Another person has explained they do that but with specific books, for example, romances: “If I’m wary of a book’s presentation as a romance, I read to make sure there’s a HEA [happy ever after].”

    To some, it is almost like a ritual: they did it once, it became the default, and now it feels wrong to commence a book any other way.

    How I Did It

    When I say I started my books by the end, I mean I started by reading the last paragraph or two, never more than that. And I can tell you straight up:  even reading this little, I was afraid.

    One of my favourite things to do is buy a book based on its blurb, put it on my shelf, and pick it up many months later when I no longer remember what the book is about or why I bought it.

    You may say that this is just me being bad at keeping a TBR, or that I buy so many books that I don’t have time to pick them up timely, but I will argue that this is a legit system I have in place.

    Truthfully, I do buy more than I can read, but this system serves me just right, because I truly enjoy going into books with no idea whatsoever what they are about. Spoilers won’t stop me from reading something, but I do love to be caught by surprise. The bigger the plot twist, the better. So deciding to take this step of reading the end first was not done lightly.

    I picked up books at random; as a mood reader, there was no point creating a pile with specific books, and I also didn’t want to rig the experiment. Among the books I picked up (which I will leave untitled), were contemporary fiction, literary fiction, historical fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, and a short story collection. Curiously, especially considering I barely read SFF, the list was quite diverse in genres this month. 

    Each time I opened a book and checked the end before the beginning, my heart skipped a bit. But I am nothing if not committed.

    How It Went

    At the end of this experiment, I can share that starting from the end wasn’t as terrible as I expected: the last paragraphs haven’t revealed anything crucial about the books. Even when my thoughts went to “maybe this is something I’d rather not have read”, I’d be lying if I said I got spoiled for the story, because I wasn’t.

    In fact, I went as far as grabbing books I had already read that contain large (and unexpected) plot twists, and came to the conclusion that most spoilery sentences — and twists — are usually not revealed on the last page, so it isn’t entirely harmful to start there. Often throughout the book, I even forgot what I had read at the end beforehand (I have a terrible memory for books which, in some situations, is a blessing). 

    On the other hand, as someone who enjoys going into books knowing as little as possible, reading the last bits of it did feel like an intrusion, an overstep.

    It certainly didn’t add anything to my reading experience, and when I got to the end and remembered again that I had already read those last words, it seemed to mute some of the effect they usually have.

    The Verdict

    I understand why some would choose to do this — your book, your rules, after all — but I can also confidently say this is not a practice I will incorporate into my reading. Quite the contrary: even without experiencing any harm from it, I will actively avoid it as much as I have so far.

    There is also always a chance I was lucky with my experimental book choices; as a friend confided, “My dad once ruined a book for me by telling me the final two words! Since then, I avoid the ending like the plague!”

    Yeah, I find y’all very brave, but I am not taking any further chances.

    And if I die before reaching the end…well, what a hopeful thought: to be reading at my own ending.

    Do you always start your books at the end? Come share that experience with us on our socials!

    Want more reading experiments? Here’s how it was for a reader not to read for a week, and here is a personal essay from another reader about starting a book by reading the last lines first.

    Read The Full Article Here

    - Advertisment -

    Most Popular

    DWTS’ Daniella Karagach, Pasha Pashkov’s Relationship Timeline
    Prince Harry’s Reportedly Challenging U.K.’s Decision to Stop Security – Hollywood Life
    Margot Robbie Struggled To Channel Barbie Initially
    Supernatural Star Mark Sheppard ‘Brought Back From Dead’ After SIX ‘Widowmaker’ Heart Attacks!
    NEW MOVIE TRAILERS 2023 (July)
    Watch & Stream Online via Crunchyroll
    Lessons For Film Critics From J. Hoberman
    Johnny Depp in Beetlejuice 2, Rambo 6, Trolls 2, Star Wars: Lando Movie… KinoCheck News
    Biden delivers remarks on the U.S. response to conflicts in Israel and Ukraine — 10/19/23
    Olivia Swann Talks Mackey’s Past & Getting Vulnerable
    Fanatic Feed: Feud Season 2 Premiere Date, Yellowstone Broadcast Run Extends into 2024, and More
    Vicious Kitty’s “Mrs. Claus”
    Fargo Creator on Year 5’s Nightmare Before Christmas Tie-In
    Denny Laine, Wings and Moody Blues Co-Founder, Dies at 79
    Pretty Lights, John Summit & More – Billboard
    The New Yorker’s Best Books of 2023
    BETWEEN TWO WORLDS | Kirkus Reviews
    Mindfulness, Positivity and Compassion Combine in Hopeful Story of Healing the Earth
    The 20 Best Books of the Year, According to Esquire
    The Best Holiday Clothes on Amazon For $50 and Under
    Year In Review: Quiet Luxury vs. Loud Luxury
    The Teddy Fashion Trend Is Equal Parts Cosy and Luxurious
    The Best Amazon Fashion Sweaters to Shop For Fall
    ‘Salem’s Lot’ Screenplay Writer Gary Dauberman Signs New Deal with Screen Gems and Sony Pictures
    The Best NEW Horror Movies 2022 & 2023 (Trailer)
    Exclusive Clip from Porterville starring Mike Ferguson
    ‘Lord Of Misrule’ Director William Brent Bell On His New Folk Horror