I don't deal with suspense well in books. While I can easily put off opening my Christmas presents until late on Christmas day, I have the hardest time not knowing what's going to happen in a tense novel. It's the same with movies. For example, I saw Titanic on the day it premiered (my friend Chris was obsessed with the ship). I certainly knew that the boat wasn't going to float off into the sunset, but I didn't know precisely what would happen with Jack and Rose. I was so nervous during the movie that I didn't enjoy it all that much. I saw the film again the following day with a big group of friends. Since I already knew the entire plot - both true and fictional - I was free to enjoy the romance and the beautiful cinematography of the movie.
I have a bad habit of skipping to the end of books. It is rarely a smart thing to do. I'm sure that plenty of people can discover a book's secret and still enjoy it. I usually cannot. I inch up the roller coaster of a suspenseful novel, my stomach twisting in anticipation of the big discovery. If I can hold out and not skip to the end, I reach the book's climax and descend rapidly into the secret, raise my arms and shout at the exhilarating feeling of the speed and the wind rushing at my face. On the other hand, if I stop mid-way during the roller coaster's climb and learn about the reward at the end, the top of the roller coaster becomes a plateau. With no momentum, the car slows and eventually stops. No excitement, no exhilaration. Just a let down.
When I skip to the end of a book, I usually lose interest no matter how much I was enjoying it before. I don't want to completely give the novel up. Instead, I skim the remaining pages to find out a few details that I care about.
I've missed out on the experience of savoring numerous great books. Here are a few:
Pretties by Scott Westerfeld - I loved Uglies. I read midway through Pretties and just had to know what was going to happen. I peeked and then got bored.
13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson - This book isn't even that suspenseful. But for whatever reasons, I couldn't wait. I skimmed and gave it up. I was left with the impression that I didn't like Maureen's novels. Luckily, I read her Suite Scarlett series and the The Last Little Blue Envelopes. I adored those books and really regret not taking the time to appreciate 13 Little Blue Envelopes.
Do you ever skip to the end of a book? Does it improve or hinder your reading experience? Are there any books that you specifically remember sneaking a look at book's secret?