Have you ever been totally sucked in by a book (I'm talking completely enamored) and then gotten to the terrible/lame/cop-out ending and felt your love for that book deflate like a leaky balloon? Have you then thought to yourself, "Dang, I guess I can never read that book again"? Or are you maybe a strict non-rereader, because you feel that knowing the ending already defeats the purpose of reading a book? (I do know such people, but most are not very active readers.)
Either way, this post is for you.
I am a rereader through and through. On Monday night, trying to find inspiration for this week's Top Ten Tuesday (Top Ten Books I Read in 2012), I realized that barely 20 of the 49 books I've managed to get through this year are new reads. The rest are rereads, and obviously I've reread them despite knowing the ending. But the thing is, with all of these books, I like or at least appreciate the ending.
I've run into a little trouble recently on one of my rereads. Stephen King's Pet Sematary is one of the novels I would mention if you asked me to list his "canon." I've read it a few times, but all were before I went to college. It took me about 3 full read-throughs to really be disturbed by the ending, and as such I put it down with no real intention to pick it up again.
But then I started a blog, and one of my blog projects is to read and review all of Stephen King's works.
I thought to myself, Alright, how bad can it be? It's just a book. You've read plenty of other horrifying, disturbing things before. What makes this different? And the thing is, I'm not sure exactly what does make it different; I just know that it is, and it is for that reason that I have been procrastinating finishing Pet Sematary for about a week and a half now, despite being a mere 30 pages, or maybe even less, from the ending.
Another book I'm not sure I'll be able to read again is another Stephen King novel, this one much more recent: 11/22/63. That book is more than 800 pages long but I powered through it in one weekend, desperate to know what happened, and what was my reward? COMPLETE AND TOTAL DEVASTATION. If you haven't read it but plan to, be prepared to sit and stare at the wall for a bit after finishing while your brain tries mightily to process ALL THE FEELINGS. As much as I loved the book, I don't know if I could have the same experience reading it again knowing what's going to happen at the end. (Not that I hate the ending, but man, did it wrench my heart.)
But on the other hand, there are some other books that I think I'll like and understand better now that I know the ending. Take The Casual Vacancy, for instance. It's one of the few books I've ever read that really made me think about it, despite my initial apathetic dislike towards it. I forced myself to finish and was glad that I did, because the more I thought about it, the more I got it. I think reading it through a second time, really understanding who's who and what's what, will give me a greater appreciation for it.
Now I want to hear from you. What books do you like to reread, despite knowing the ending, and what books have been ruined for you (rereading-wise) because you know the ending? That doesn't mean you had to dislike the book, just that knowing the ending makes you want to take a step back and say, "I've gotten everything I could from this book and don't need to read it again," OR, "That ending made me too sad/angry/upset/disturbed to read it again." For example, I love rereading Harry Potter and most Stephen King books, but a few books I won't reread (probably) are The Running Man, 11/22/63, and Pet Sematary (if I ever even finish it this time). How about you?