This one is fun. The Associated Press has turned the old standby about favorite first lines from books on its head by coming up with a list of favorite book endings.
When some readers start a new book, they turn to the end to read the last page (As the quote from "When Harry Met Sally . . ." goes, so in case they die before they finish, they know how it ends). Others use self-control and discipline and plod slowly through the book until they finish with satisfaction. Some can't bear something awful happening to their favorite characters, so they skip to the back to make sure all is well.
To give you a feel for what the list is like, here are a few of the chosen endings.
And, of course, there are a few who just read the back to pretend like they covered the entire book.
Any way you slice it, book endings are, well, the big bang. They are a reward after pages and pages of mystery, plot and sometimes sorrow, or they are cause for anger when they leave us hanging.
• Best ending line: "Charlotte's Web," by E.B. White. "It's not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both."The whole list is interesting and it has started me thinking about a similar list of my own favorite endings. Just what I need...another project.
• Best happy ending: "A Room With A View," by E.M. Forster. Boy meets girl in Florence, kisses her wildly, then they have troubles upon return to stuffy England. Boy eventually gets girl and they live happily ever after in Florence.
• Best tragic ending: "Anna Karenina," by Leo Tolstoy. Beautiful, smart and enchanting Anna has an affair and ends up throwing herself under a train, all because Victorian society said it was OK for a man to cheat, but not a woman.
• Best end to a whodunit: "The Killer Inside Me," by Jim Thompson. This thriller works in reverse; we know who the killer is, but the characters have to figure it out. The ending is not only chilling but oddly remorseful in a way that makes you uncomfortable.
• Best Western ending: "No Country for Old Men," by Cormac McCarthy. This bleak novel - about a truck full of dead people, some cash and a manhunt - is spare at best. But McCarthy's ability to tell a story using as few words as possible is impressive, and it has an end that just kicks you in the gut.
• Best relief ending after scary book: "It," by Stephen King. A huge clown-devil-spider thing named Pennywise scares the living daylights out of misfit kids and, later, adults until finally they stand up and show It what they're made of.