Books · Jottings · Witterings

Jottings #9 The Next Chapter

How many of us get to the end of a television programme we particularly like watching and as the end credits roll, we see what is going to happen ‘next week’, ‘next time’, ‘next episode’. Do you watch these clips? Or do you frantically try and find the controls (of which I am normally sitting on) and turn over or off to keep that suspense until the next time you tune in?

Me, I like watching it, it gives me a taster and if truth be known, probably within 24 hours I have forgotten it anyway. So why when I get to the end of a book, and the first chapter of the next book can be found do I shudder and not read it?

Surely it is no different to that little clip at the end of the programme?

So many books I have picked up lately have the first chapter of the author’s new book, or the next book in the series at the back.

In some ways, if it is a book in the series then it is just a follow on which is not too bad and if you have the next book in the series ready, then a smooth transition perhaps.

But what if it is an opening chapter of a book which is not published for another 18 months? Surely that is dangling the proverbial carrot to ensure readers come back for more. And to be honest, will it be the same first chapter that actually gets into the book when it is finally published?

I like books that end, that have a definitive ending where either the loose ends are all tied up or those that are left hanging are left more for the reader to think and reflect and where perhaps a sequel is possible. There is some satisfaction when you can just close the book and think ahhhh. But now we turn the page and we are launched straight into something else our attention is grabbed once again.

I have learnt not to read on. And I question why I am bothered by this, because I am not by the visual medium of doing it?

I asked this question through the wonderful world of twitter [thank you to everyone who responded] and I got some interesting response back; in the main a similar outlook as myself;

“Not keen. Prefer to savour closing chapter. Smacks too much of TV-style serialisation”,

“always annoys me as I always think actual book is going to be longer” [I agree with this point – you think you have pages to the end and you don’t!]

“am definitely not a fan. ruins previous book for me as I read it as an epilogue, normally”,

“I never read them because then I’ll have to anxiously await the new book after getting hooked.” [Quite!]

“understand why they do it, but I never read them. One might argue they are a waste of a tree – or at least a branch”

What do you think?