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Booking Through Thursday: Cheating

imageDo you cheat and peek at the ends of books? (Come on, be honest.)

superman075For the most part, no. If I don’t already know the ending, I don’t want to know it ahead of time. The only reasons I really ever have to “peek at the end” of a book is to check the pagecount of the story itself (doing my darnedest to view the page number while forcing myself to NOT visually register the words on the page) or to see if there’s a “preview chapter” of some other book lumped at the end that’ll throw me off by a couple dozen pages with the true end of the book hitting too soon.

Now, the main exceptions come from graphic novels. At the bookstores or occasionally comic shops, if there’s tons of internet buzz and no one’s spoiling online, I might take a peek to see what the hype’s all about. I also have the problem occasionally with hardcovers, where I’ll remove the dust jacket so I can carry the book around and not worry about the DJ getting screwed up. Occasionally while pulling it away from the back side of the book, I’ll wind up catching a glimpse of a page or two at the back, which might grab my attention just enough to see what, exactly, is going on there.

The other primary exception comes if I’m trying to determine if I’ve already read something—such as a Star Trek novel I may or may not have read 15 years ago…I may look at the end to see if I remember it, as I have an easier time recalling endings than I do beginnings.

endersgamemmpbANECDOTE: If you’ve read Ender’s Game, you know that that has a doozy of an ending. It’s that ending that draws me back to the book on occasion (and partially influenced me on Ender’s Shadow a couple years back). Early in college, a friend was telling me about the book, and I convinced him to sum it up for me, as I didn’t see getting around to reading it. Sounded interesting, but having been told, I mentally filed it away as one of those things, and life went on.

A couple years later, for some reason or another, I happened to get a copy of the book, and got pulled in enough to read the whole thing. And I was blown away by the ending…only later realizing that this was THAT book my friend had told me about. And here I was “lucky” enough to not have made the connection, so I was still taken by surprise.

DragonsofAutumnTwilightIt’s this sort of phenomena that causes me to see re-reading books as a bit of an analogy for the time-travel experience, were it not fiction.

Having read the book, if you go back and re-read it…you’re traveling to the past, and re-joining characters who don’t yet know what’s going to happen…but as the reader…you DO know what’s going to happen. Or at least, have access to it. Of course, you can’t change what’s going to happen…but you’re aware of it.

Yet, there are details that slip away, and you might only remember the broad strokes and biggest players.

highlordskiesI’m near the end of Dragons of the Highlord Skies, and something’s just happened to a couple characters that has me on-edge, as I’d swear this isn’t something that happened to them, and I thought I remembered them doing something else. But this book delves back to a time between-pages of Dragons of Winter Night, which I haven’t actually read in a decade or more now…so I may be thinking of other characters.

Just as, if someone were to travel back 100 years…they might know big details, broad strokes…but not have any clue of what roles people play in the smaller stuff.

But I digress from the topic at hand.

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