I live for the middle.
The beginning of a book, with its set-up and character introductions and attempts to land you in the action? Well, it’s necessary, certainly. But not my favorite thing.
And the end, with its explanations and wrap-up, unsolved questions or lackluster surprises? Its complications? That’s all right, but I usually wind up wishing I could un-read what I’ve read and return to the middle.
Because the middle of a story, oh . . . when I’ve invested enough energy and time to get to know these people and feel what they’re feeling so much that I can’t wait to return to their world, to hurry between chapters? That’s the magic time. When the road stretches far for both of us, off into a horizon even I can’t see, and anything at all could be possible . . . well, that is it.
That’s why I read.
Because I’m such a middle-lover, I tend to bounce quickly between books. I don’t want to spend too much time on set-up or character introductions. Those notorious info-dumps totally turn me off, and if I can’t wade into the novel immediately? I’m not interested.
I have a collection of books on my nightstand I’ve been trying to get through for months. I flit between them — fiction and non-fiction, young adult and literary. I usually have one of each type going at once, reintroducing myself to the story that holds my attention best at the end of each day, but . . . it does get confusing at times.
And sucky, too.
If I could skip all the introductory material in each book, I probably would. I like feeling settled into a story, when I know the principle players and can simply rejoin them on their adventures. I don’t like meeting someone new . . . but I must.
To get to the middle, I must start at the beginning.
And so it goes.