With a book, I start with the last few pages to see if anyone dies.
After the end of the book, the death (or lack thereof) brings way to a beginning and a life, and I fly through to the first couple of chapters to get acquainted with the characters only to go back to the end to read more of the closing stages. This way I’m aware of the beginning and the end; how the characters started and how they are ended. The rest of the book is the details that make or break the book, and to me, reading these details consists of skipping around the chapters, taking the book in whichever order I feel is suitable for the particular book, so that I make the most out of the details.
I don’t remember when I started reading this way, but it must have started with the comic books. I would spend hours paging through them, reading in whichever order that stroke my fancy. Later on, when I grew out of the comic book phase and started reading real books, I couldn’t kick the habit away, and my reading habits developed to become what they are today; very much like a broken DVD, skipping around the different chapters in the most random order.
Most would say that this is a crime against the author, a complete butchering of a planned unleashing of a particular story. Perhaps that’s true, but to me, reading in this way makes books more interesting- a treasure hunt of sort where I pick up the hints in the way that strikes my fancy and build a castle out of them tailor-made for myself rather than for everyone else, complete with the big studio, the piles of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and the Andy Warhol’s hanging on the walls.
The day before yesterday late at night when the house was silent, I curled up and started reading the latest addition to my book collection, a story I’ve been wanting to read for a while; “The Time Traveler’s Wife” by Audrey Niffenegger. A book pressed on skip, literally. She starts in the future and the present, goes back to the past and now, ends of with tomorrow and yesterday. The book has no order at all, a delicious random feat of confusion that weaves together so chaotically to piece together a fantastically rich story. The end is not really the end because you’re aware of it from the beginning. The beginning isn’t really the beginning because it really starts somewhere towards the middle. The middle consists of haphazard fragments playing hide and seek.
If I ever write a book, I want it to be as randomly smart as “The Time Traveler’s Wife“.
Today, I think I will start reading another new addition to my collection, a book called “Pop: Truth and Power at the Coca-Cola Company“. Sounds interesting doesn’t it?
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