Finishing a Book

the-end-old-movieThere is a strange feeling in finishing something you were so invested in. I’ve recently finished two long brilliant novels and it has got me thinking about endings.

I have always flicked to the end of a book to see what number the book ends on, so I can count down to the final page. If I’m reading on my Kindle I am constantly keeping one eye on the percentage as it ticks up to 100. I am not wishing it away but rather wanting to know how long it is before the inevitable end arises.

I do the same with TV shows or films, I check my watch and think well there is only ten minutes left they need to start wrapping things up.

I imagine I am not the only one who does this, that there are many others of you reading this who do the same. Do we live too much in the future, in the hope of something?

I knew someone who used to read the final chapter of a book after he had read the first chapter. A morbid, self involved Italian he did it just so that if he died (the hilarity is that he was 22 at the time) before finishing the book at least he would know how it ended. He’d die with no fiction related regrets. I think my need to know is brought about purely by my own curiosity, nothing quite as deep and meaningful. I only constantly check where I am in a show or novel because I am so curious as to how it ends, if the spy gets the terrorist or the guy gets the girl. If a happily ever after will exist at the final pages or will it all unravel horribly.You cling to those final pages or minutes and hope that what you want to happen, happens.

To me a sense of an ending makes everything, every word on the page, seem more important.

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29 thoughts on “Finishing a Book

  1. Jay says:

    I dread the ending because either it will be good,a nd come too quickly, or will be bad and make the whole book a waste of time. But I want to know as little in advance as possible. I don’t read book jackets at all. The blinder, the better.

  2. ramaink says:

    Reaching the end of such a book is always such an agonising feeling! Complex! I am always torn between wanting to know the end and not wanting to reach the end. Argh! Although I do not count the number of pages left, I cannot help a quick glimpse at the thickness of the remaining pages followed by an intense bout of ‘no..no..no…yes..yes..yes…’ 😀
    Great post!
    May I ask the names of the two novels? I am always on the look out for book referrals.

    • James Dunn -- Coffee and Countries says:

      Depending on the ending it can sometimes make you regret even picking up the book in the first place too! The two I read were: I am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes a spy thriller and I was recommended it and having never really been into that kind of book I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. The second was Us by David Nicholls a beautifully written and very easy read about a family and what can tear you apart or put you together. I would really recommend Us if you are in to the kind of books that make you laugh but also make you really think about the relationships you have with people!

  3. Lifewithcassandra says:

    Really nice post, I’m guilty when it comes to skipping to the Last chapter. Sometimes I just can’t handle the suspense.

    • James Dunn -- Coffee and Countries says:

      Really? I’ve never skipped to the end, although when I was at school I used to skim read the Harry Potter books as I was worried my friends would spoil the ending so read it as fast as I could, more often then not missing out on parts of plot so I could get to the end!

  4. youngexpatlife says:

    I really liked the feeling that came over me while I was reading this. It made me think about all the crazy things I did to avoid spoilers so I could fully enjoy an ending (be it a book or a movie)

    • James Dunn -- Coffee and Countries says:

      I wrote it as soon as I had closed the last of the two books and just felt like I had to write it. Really agree although I have still never watched the Six Sense because of spoilers! I once interviewed an author about his book and didn’t have the heart to admit I hadn’t read it the whole way. He talked about the big twist ending and I struggled to read the rest of it as I knew how it ended, I think it wasn’t until it was about to come out as a movie that I finished is as I knew that the movie would definitely kill my motivation to ever finish reading it.

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