Hello and Happy Wednesday Dear Readers!
I decided that I wanted to share a brief anecdote with you all this morning, and perhaps get your opinion and comments on it.
Last night, I was riding the subway (Toronto’s OLD friend, the TTC) and I noticed a gentleman standing reading a thin, paperback novel. I was naturally curious to learn the title (Yes, I am one of those commuters who reads over peoples’ shoulders when they seem to be engrossed in a good novel on the train – and I’m not ashamed to admit it!), and so I moved a little closer to try to get a good look. I unfortunately couldn’t make out the name of the book, but I did discover that it was something by Ernest Hemingway. Now, I’ve never read any Hemingway (okay, mostly because I’m such a big fan of John Irving and he apparently does not like Hemingway’s writing style at all), but I was intrigued by the fact that the man was rapidly approaching the last page of the novel. I watched eagerly as he came to the last page, hovered on it for a minute or two, and then closed the book. He had finished reading the story…his journey as reader of this particular text was done.
Then, I gazed in horror as he held the book for probably no more than 30 seconds, slipped it into the front of his shoulder bag and…WHIPPED OUT ANOTHER NOVEL! I stood shocked as he turned to the first page of this new story (unfortunately, I wasn’t able to catch the title or author) and began reading.
Now, this occurrence brought up a question that I’ve often thought about: Where is the best place to read the last page of a novel? Obviously the answer to this question depends on the novel, how into it you are, how connected you feel to the characters and plot, how sad you’ll be to finish it. But I feel as though I would never want to finish a book, even if I absolutely hated it, on a crowded subway train. And, moreover, I would want to be able to ponder the story for a few quiet minutes, on my own and away from prying eyes (okay, like mine), before delving into another book. I’ve read a lot of novels I haven’t particularly enjoyed (mostly for school), but I’ve always believed that finishing a book of any kind should be a sort of reverent, solemn experience…because, after all, once you finish a book, you can never read it for the first time again!
Having said all of this, I can’t say I remember for sure where I finished reading any of my most cherished novels. I have a vague recollection that I finished most of them in my own bedroom, the reason being that I am the type of person who saves the last few pages until I reach home and can get some time to myself. I know for a fact that I have been on busy trains and buses and had hours to go until I reached home, and still stopped reading a novel just because I didn’t want to finish it in that sort of environment. God forbid I should read about Jane’s reunion with Rochester or Henry DeTamble’s death or even Becky Brandon/née Bloomwood’s recovery from “shopaholism” (Is that a word? It needs to be a word for the sake of us Kinsella-ites out there!) on a TTC bus! NO WAY!
So, I’m bringing the question to all of you: Where would you want to finish the last page of your favourite novel?
Yours in reverent reading,
Girl with a Green Heart