I love to read. I read copiously, voraciously even. I always have a book going. And when I say always, I mean always. Sometimes I have multiple books going, but it’s always at least one.
Before I began teaching high school, I enjoyed fluff as much as the next person, but I often occupied my reading time with books of import and substance, often books about God and education, and even novels with some gravitas.
Lately, however, I’ve been reading fluff. Lots and lots and lots of fluff. A steady diet of fluff, if you will. I find fluff very enjoyable and also very forgettable. Fluff is easy to read and then move on to the next book that is almost identical to the previous book, but since they are so forgettable, I don’t mind the formulaic nature of most of what I choose to read.
What I do mind are cliffhangers.
Narratives have beginnings, middles, and ends. A novel should end. It should close. It should provide at least a modicum of resolution.
I don’t mind some loose ends. If I’m intrigued by the loose ends or the minor characters, or even if I just enjoyed an author’s writing style, I will read more by that author. Really I will. And I’ll tell people about the author. Do you know how many Octavia E. Butler proselytes exist in the world simply because I love her writing?
Wow, if I told as many people about Jesus as I have told about Octavia E. Butler, I might be doing some good in the world. But I’ve digressed under the weight of my conviction.
Back to books ending.
Cliffhangers infuriate me. Well, perhaps I’m overstating, as I do love the hyperbole, but they do rankle me. As a reader, I deserve a completed work. As a consumer, I deserve better treatment than to be goaded into spending my money just to learn how a story ends. And I won’t do it. Cliffhangers don’t make me purchase work by an author; they make me avoid that author all together.
And they make me rant on my blog.