My Big Bad Habit

We all have habits, some good, some bad. I have one habit that really doesn’t bother me but many people would view it as bad.

When I read a book I tend to jump around in it. For as long as I can remember I have skipped ahead to the end of the book after the first few chapters. I tend not to read mysteries so nothing is really ruined for me. Sometimes the book ends with characters that I haven’t yet come to so then the ending is lost on me. Sometimes I get the ending and then enjoy seeing how the author unfolds the story to that point.

Without a doubt, in my opinion, John Irving writes the best endings of any author I have ever read. I have said that no one writes weird and wonderful like he does but when I get to the ending of one of his books I almost always think to myself, ‘That’s why I love John Irving’s writing.’

I don’t just read ahead to the end of the book. I will also flip through a book to read all the scenes between my favourite characters. Then I go back and reread the book properly. I blame Vikram Seth for this. In his beautiful novel A Suitable Boy he followed three distinct story lines. I had to know what happened to one of the characters before I could properly pay attention to the historical aspect of the novel. I didn’t want to rush any part of the novel and not give it it’s due. Thus was born my bad habit. This same novel also caused me to consult with the curator of a shoe museum and to write my only ever letter to an author. By the way, he was kind enough to answer my letter. I kind of obsess about a book when I am really taken with it – another bad habit. Unfortunately it doesn’t get to happen that often.

Ereaders only make it easier to skip around in books. You can so easily mark places in the novel and flipping through pages is an absolute breeze. Technology is aiding my bad habit.

Are you horrified by this or do you have a similar admission to make?

4 responses to “My Big Bad Habit

  1. I do this but only occasionally. As an aside I have realized that if reading newspapers on the Ipad is fine, I am not so keen on reading books on my digital device.

      • Somehow the Ipad doesn’t feel the same but I am not sure I could really explain why I don’t like it as much. Besides I can’t use it on Saturdays.

      • Ilana, you’re right it doesn’t feel the same. There’s nothing like the feel and the smell of a thick, new book. It almost seems luxurious to have a day in which it is O.K. to spend the greater part of it reading. It must be a definite plus of being Shomer Shabbat.

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