by Michelle Andreani
The other day, on Twitter, I had a short conversation with a lovely writer/reader. She’d confessed to skipping ahead in her book to see what was going to happen, and I assured her I’ve done it too. Because (NO REGRETS) I have! In fact, I’d just told Mindi earlier that week that I’d skimmed the last few pages of Jenny Han’s WE’LL ALWAYS HAVE SUMMER before I was halfway through the book.
I had to.
I was so invested, SO NERVOUS, that I could not go on without knowing how it all ended. (And that’s a risk in and of itself, because if it didn’t turn out as I wanted, could I even continue on??) It’s not the first book I’ve skipped ahead on, and it certainly won’t be the last. It’s just that sometimes I need a guarantee that everything’s going to be okay. And that You-Know-Who and You-Know-Who will be 4-eva in love.
No denial here; it’s a Bad Reading Habit. Thankfully, it’s not one I give into too often. (And not to pat myself on the back, but I totally resisted skipping ahead this week while reading Kendare Blake’s GIRL OF NIGHTMARES — and I’m so glad I did.) (PS: Cas and Anna 4-eva.)
But, sadly, I have another Bad Reading Habit and it’s wayyyyyyy worse. Plus it’s such a weird one, you guys. It’s the long-lost cousin of the Did-Not-Finish, because while it resembles DNF, it is so much less . . . sensible.
See, I’ll be completely sucked into a novel, enjoying the world, loving the characters, and life is goooooood. But when things start looking sketchy, and the book’s climax approaches, I STOP READING. I put the book down! Even though I’m dying to know how the story turns out, I’m too nervous or concerned or scared to see these characters through their tough times. Their tough times become my tough times and it’s too much!
Only Joey Tribbiani can possibly understand!
The good news is that, unlike the DNF, I do go back into that world. I pick up the book, remove the CVS receipt I’ve been using as a bookmark, and make sure the characters make it through to the other end. I don’t give up completely; I just needed the break.
So, yep, I sometimes behave badly while I’m reading. And I wonder if authors would find that obnoxious; that I read their last lines too early, or step away from their book to regroup. But it’s only because I’m so in love with the author’s story, their characters, and how it all turns out. I want these people they’ve created to be happy. And that’s gotta be a little flattering, right? 🙂
Joey and I can’t be the only ones . . . Tell me your Bad Reading Habits! Solidarity!