Saturday, October 24, 2009

"Midnight Confessions" is going to be a new journal-type blog post series I am going to do once a week. It will be about my confessions, observations, rants and thoughts on all things book (and/or beauty product) related. Why "midnight"? Well, midnight is more likely the around time when I write these posts because I am most reflective around this time. It's 11:55 PM, so without further ado, my first confession...

I was a book cheat--by that I mean I was the kind of person who paged through and read the last few chapters of a book, leaving no surprises for myself. My book cheating habit got so bad, I would even read the last few pages of a book (in any genre) when I am in a store and if I don't like what I read I wouldn't buy the book.


Images from FantasticFiction

The book cheating got started in the sixth grade when I started reading those Fear Street books by R.L. Stein. For those who don't know, Fear Street were a series of horror books for tweens that were too old for Goosebumps and they were usually murder mysteries but some have supernatural elements in them. All my friends were into them and kept pressuring me to read them too. I was too scared to read them (I avoided Goosebumps like the plague as well), but finally I gave in. To alleviate my fear, I read the end of the book first to find out who the killer was before reading it through. Of course just reading the end is very confusing, so I would page through the book and read parts from here and there until how the ending came to be made sense. It worked! It was less scary knowing who the murder was before actually reading the book. I would know pretty much know what was going to happen--it felt like I was re-reading when I finally read it thoroughly from cover to cover. Soon, it became a big habit. I was reading the endings of even non-scary books like literary fiction and romance novels (which I discovered in the eighth grade and haven't stopped reading since). I knew all romance novels were going to end happily but that did not stop me--I had to know.

The book cheating when on for years until my senior years of high school. The book that turned me around was The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. I borrowed it from the school library towards the end of the school year and I didn't have much time with it. With the time constraints, I just read through the book without book cheating. I finished the book in three days (less time it usually took me to read a 300 page book) just reading through it without cheating. Afterward, I realized how more exciting the book was when I didn't know what to expect, when I was not privy to plot twists, and when I was uncertain as to how it will end.

I loved the feeling of uncertainty and surprise when I read SLoB and I resolved to feel that way again the next time I read another book. I was more involved when I don't know what to expect--thinking up possible scenarios in my head of what will happen next or guessing as to who the mystery killer was and being proved right or wrong... It's been five years and I've gotten a lot better since then. I still page through the book before reading it sometimes but I avoid the few chapters at the end of the book so that no surprises are ruined--a big turn-around.

But you know it's so easy to book cheat because all the book's secrets are there in the pages. Reading is often a solitary experience with no one to tell you to stop if you're tempted to fast forward to see the end... Did you ever book cheat? How did you feel afterward? Was the book ruined for you after you gave into temptation and peeked at how the book will end?

2 comments:

  1. I must say I have never ever book cheated..lol. I just can't imagine knowing how the book ended before I got there. But with movies its different I don't mind my friends telling me about the movie or how it ended, I still watch the movie...lol not sure why books are different but it just is. :)

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  2. I've book-cheated once or twice when I was younger, but then I realized it's so much more fun to just let the story unravel. But I don't mind anybody telling me how the book ended; I just don't want to do it myself!

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