Last week there was a lot of buzz about some research into how skipping to the end of a book affects people’s experience of reading. I wasn’t so much interested in the results of the research, but interested in a question it raised for me as an author of books:
Should readers read a book the way an author intended them to?
Writers strive to craft a narrative that, no matter how non-linear in structure, unfolds over the course of a book in a particular way. If you skip to the end, regardless of whether that enhances your personal experience of the book, you aren’t actually experiencing it as the author intended, but does that matter?
I think this is an interesting question, and I suppose really there is another question within it… at what point does a work of fiction become a bit like a child you’ve raised, who then will go out into the world on its own and be what it will be?