A weird thing happened. I started reading Atonement by Ian McEwan and then I had to put it back on the bookshelf and I don’t think I’m going to pick it up again.
Generally, I like to know the ending. Not knowing makes me really tense and stressed and while I guess some people enjoy that kind of tension in their book-reading or movie-watching experiences, I don’t. I get crabby and that isn’t fun. My solution to this is to find the ending somewhere, and then go read or watch the thing anyways, because what I like is finding out how we get here. I really, truly do, and while I understand that this is weird, it’s just how I am. Having a kindle has actually been kind of interesting in this regard, because it’s impractical to skip ahead to find the ending and then having to browse all the way back to where I was, so I find I’m not reading the endings as much, and neither am I inclined to get online and find out. Really, really good books in analog form (hahaha I just love saying that. Yes, I mean printed books) I also don’t skip to the ending of unless the tension is just TOO MUCH TO HANDLE. But on average, I like to know the ending before I get there.
I don’t like to know how we get there though. That’s where I want to be surprised. Like many others, I’m sure, I enjoy guessing at how the story is going to end, but the fun for me lies in predicting the plot twists and turns.
Back to Atonement. I’ve seen the movie (it was good! So romantic. I think I cried. I know my ex did) and when a bookstore near me was going out of business a few years back, I grabbed the book because I had heard it was good, I’d seen the movie, and now I’d read the book. I hauled it out to NYC and finally sat down to read it. And found that because I already knew (mostly) how the plot was going to twist and when the Bad Stuff was going to happen and when we’d find out about the Bad Stuff and the resolution and the angst and the romance and the drama- basically because I knew how we were getting to the end- I couldn’t read the book!
For now, I’ve taken it off the list and put it back on my bookshelf. Maybe I just need to wait ten or fifteen years before I can read this without seeing the movie in front of me.
(And if you’re wondering, no, I love seeing books made into films, especially those I’ve read because I like seeing my favorite bits of the book onscreen. Except for the ending of the LOTR. Rawr.)