I belong to my neighborhood book club. Every six weeks or so, eleven of us get together at one of our homes and discuss the book that the meeting hostess selected. Yummy snacks and adult beverages are always available. Opinions fly freely.
A book club is a great place to find out what attracts some readers to a book and repels others just as fast. It’s rare for the entire group to agree on every aspect of a book. The first hint of trouble is usually that one of us didn’t buy into or like the premise of the story. Or worse, didn’t take to the main character.
In the course of these discussions, I learned some of the club members read the book’s pages out of order, most often when they can’t get into the story or find it confusing and want to know where the story is going. A few even admit to more than once reading an entire book in reverse page order—and enjoying it more that way!
This revelation was a shocker. I’ve only recently matured to the point in life where I am willing to put down a book I’m not enjoying. In many, many years past, I would read it to the end no matter what, maybe skimming along as much as possible.
But I always, always read the book’s pages in order. For me, it’s cheating to read the end first. If I read the last page first, what do I have to look forward to? I like a story where I wonder how it’s all going to turn out, where I’m reading to learn where it’s all going. I prefer the journey and a destination or two, preferably a surprise destination. So much the better if a little unexpected twist occurs at the end, where reading the pages out of order would ruin the whole effect.
Now let me give you a big hint: I try to write the kind of books I enjoy reading. To receive maximum value, For Better, For Murder should be read in the order the pages are numbered. If you pick up the book in the library or bookstore, read the back cover. Read the first few pages. Please don’t read the last page. If the storyline intrigues you after reading the back cover and the first few pages, take the book home and read the story from start to finish.
But if you read the last page first or my whole book in reverse, please keep it to yourself. This time I really don’t want to know.