Recently, someone told me that she chooses a book by reading the ending first. If she likes it, then she'll read it, but only then. Of course, my reaction was, "WHAT??? Doesn't that ruin the surprise?" I couldn't begin to grasp why she would begin at the end. I considered the many times someone started to tell me the ending to a novel I was currently reading, and I'd interrupt with a vehement, "No-o-o-o! Don't tell me!" But here was a reader who insisted on the opposite. Her response clarified it somewhat when she confessed, "I don't like surprises."
Later, I reflected on this "read the ending first" method, especially as it would apply to various genres. For example, if I read the ending of a mystery first, there would be no point in reading chapter after chapter of puzzling clues that lead up to its resolution if I already knew it. What fun would it be if there was no surprise? The same would apply to a suspense novel, or any work of fiction, so how could she use this method and still enjoy the read?
There was one possible explanation I hadn't previously considered, one in which reading the ending of a book first would not spoil its beginning and middle. Could it be that this particular reader preferred non-fiction? I will definitely ask her if I run into her again, in order to be certain my hypothesis is correct. Then, and only then, will all be right in the world of books and their readers, especially yours truly.