Here's a Bold Strategy for Reading Your Next Novel

Skip to the end, advises a book lover
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 19, 2017 11:21 AM CDT
Here's a Bold Strategy for Reading Your Next Novel

The writer who covers the books beat at the Guardian has some advice for fellow readers that might sound like heresy: When you're halfway through a novel, skip ahead and read the ending. Danuta Kean does this routinely and makes the case that knowing how things turn out doesn't ruin anything—in fact, it makes the book more enjoyable. If the ending works, she goes back and finishes the whole thing. But if it's weak, she moves on to something new, and that's the bigger point. "Not only does knowing the end mean I can enjoy the scenery, but it means I am insured against that dreadful crime—the Bad Ending," she writes. They're way too common, she writes, and they "don’t just betray the characters, they betray the reader."

Kean runs this by actual novelists, who generally sound a little horrified that any reader would do this. “When you spend such a very long time carefully crafting pace and reveal, you do rather want the reader to trust you," says Rowan Coleman, who adds some reading advice of her own. "I can tell if I trust a writer from chapter one. If I don’t, I don’t read on.” Kean is undeterred, however. She even cites a study out of the University of California San Diego that found spoilers don't hurt readers' enjoyment. Researchers discovered that "once a reader knew how the story ended, they were able to enjoy a deeper experience of the prose," writes Kean. "My point exactly." (Click for the full piece.)

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