Question: when you are going to skip the end of a book to find out what happens because you don’t care to read the whole thing, where do you skip to?
Do you jump to the last chapter, or the penultimate chapter?
Susan: Usually the third chapter from the end – enough that I have context, but not so far that I’m picking up all the stuff I was trying to skip.
Carrie: Usually the last chapter – but it depends on why I’m skipping. If it’s an anxiety issue, and I need to know if there’s a HEA, I skip to the last page and go backwards from there until I know if everyone is OK.
If I’m mildly interested in what happens but not enough to give the book a lot of time, I skim the whole thing, I’m an excellent skimmer.
Catherine: What Carrie said! Though certain authors have been known to DECEIVE ME with their last pages, Connie Willis…
Carrie: That Connie is a tricksie devil!
Sneezy: When I do it, it’s usually because of anxiety, ADHD, time, or some combination of them. If whatever is happening in the story has my anxiety up, *even if I know everything will be okay*, or my brain is just going, “But I want the happy juice NEEAAAAOW,” I skip to the final pages.
I also do that if I’m already in the Bad Decisions Book Club, and I’m trying to find a big button to smack for the happy juice so I ACTUALLY sleep when I lie down.
Doesn’t always work but, eh.
Catherine: Not to mention reading ahead to get to the sexy bits. Please tell me I’m not the only one who does that. (Sometimes the slow burn is too slow. Sometimes the fast burn is too slow too…)
Susan: The placement of sexy bits in romance novels STRESSES ME OUT.
If there’s a sex scene after chapter two but before the middle, I’m just like “… Shit, there’s going to be SOMETHING BAD to keep the tension going.”
Tara: I get so much shit for skipping ahead, which is frustrating because I’m always clear that it’s for anxiety management reasons. It’s not sacrilege to read ahead.
Sarah: Who TF would give you shit about skipping ahead?! UGH.
Claudia: I usually skim if I’m bored — the difference in my head is that if I’m reeeaaaally bored I will skip to the last chapter or epilogue just to see how the story ended. Skimming for me is different than skipping because I usually will read the first few sentences of a paragraph and only skip a few paragraphs at a time if it comes to that, usually if it’s too much description to my taste and/or is repetitive.
Tara: I’ve talked about it on my old podcast and my current one, and both times it was listeners, authors, etc. People were horrified.
Sarah: That is hot garbage. I’m sorry they bothered you about it at all!
Tara: Thank you! I just tell them flat out that I won’t apologize for my anxiety management practices and mysteriously never hear anything again…
Sarah: I am baffled that someone would feel it is their job to manage how someone else reads a book. What the absolute hell.
Tara: I’ve literally had authors ask me to review their books, but say that I can’t skip to the end.
Shana: That’s some bullshit.
Skipping to the end of the book, or reading the movie plot before you watch it…these are time honored traditions. Why wouldn’t an author want someone to enjoy their book? Instead of being miserable the whole time.
Kiki: I skip for anxiety reasons as well sometimes and it turns out I’m much better able to enjoy a book when I’m not also trying to calm down my nervous system about what may or may not be coming!
Maya: Seriously. don’t tell me how to get to the HEA.
Tara: I agreed exactly once and there was a moment so angsty that I felt hungover for three days. Never, ever again.
Maya: But also, the best books — the books I love with all my heart — I’ve read so many times I can basically recite them from memory. Knowing how it ends has nothing to do with my enjoyment.
Tara: People get weirdly precious about how to read or anything about books. You want to write in a book? Dog-ear it? I literally don’t care, because if that gets someone to read who wouldn’t otherwise, that’s great! I mean, don’t dog-ear or write in someone else’s book, but do what you want with your own!
Maya: Yeah, for me it’s like, if you love books and reading, then wouldn’t you want as many other people there with you enjoying as many stories as possible? However they can get there?
Catherine: I’m also the sort of person who cheerfully seeks out spoilers and others’ spoilery conversations about books, because sometimes it’s fun to go into a book with that context.
But as many others have said, it’s often very much about anxiety. There are books that I certainly would not have finished if I hadn’t been able to flip forward to see how it ends. And there is also flipping forward to see how long this scary/tense bit will last – sometimes just knowing that it’s only going to be for another twenty pages means I can keep reading rather than giving up on the book.
What about you? Do you skip ahead? If so, do you aim for a specific chapter or point in a book?