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Happy Ending

Today on a 2 hour train ride, I finished In Free State by VS Naipaul. It ended on a sad note, as the progtagonist had to shed his initial belief in seeing good of the people of the country he is living in. In a country with people that would kill him in a whim.

This has been the fourth book in a row that had an ambivalent and sad ending. The Shanghai lady’s stories ended with death of a lover and pregnant with the father of the baby in question (ok I admit it sounds trashy, but there are probably glimpse of the writer’s brilliance here and there!), and The Reader by Bernhard Schlink is also definitely not sanguine. Pure coincidence, I say.

The general consensus is that people love a happy ending. Movies, books, “You want to walk out of the cinema, or finish reading a book feeling good”, they say. It makes us believe in hope, have faith that matter / problem will turn out well in life. Or is it that the world is fraught with so many teething problems and issues, both collective and in individual basis, that we seek the movies and books for escapism from our real lives, and we get really upset with bad endings? instead prefer a good one?

Not me. When I was younger perhaps I feel the same way as the masses. But now that I am older, I believe we don’t always get happy endings. An ambivalent and sad ending just add to the realism of the story and draws out more authentic emotions within us (at least for me). I even tend to remember the sad endings better than the happy ones. Most of the time, we remember all the memorable part of the story and couldn’t quite pin down the ending of the movie that we watched or the story that we read more than 5 years ago. Well, what a waste of time for not remembering the ending after spending so much time reading a book, you’ll say! Then again, life is about the journey, not about the destination, isn’t it? Perhaps it reflects our natural disposition (or God’s intention) to live and make each day memorable, because you will never know when it would end.

Let me know what you feel about an ending of a story. 🙂


About JoV

A bookaholic that went out of control.... I eat, sleep and breathe books. Well, lately I do other stuff.


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Ratings Defined

0 = Abandon the book after first chapter

1 = Waste of paper, we will see what the environmentalist say about this!

2 = Skip it, read the book if you have got nothing better to do

2.5 = An average book, easily forgettable.

3 = A good read.

3.5 = A good entertaining read, a page-turner

4 = So glad that I read the book, a book with substance and invaluable for future reference

4.5 = So glad that I read the book, would pester everyone to read it, invaluable, I would want to own it and wouldn't mind a second read (something that I seldom do)

5 = The book is so good that I feel like I am on scale 4 and 4.5, and more, it blew me away and lingers on my head for weeks!

Books Read

JoV's bookshelf: read
Hold Tight
The Fault in Our Stars
The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon
The Thief
Catching Fire
A Tale for the Time Being
Into the Darkest Corner
The Liars' Gospel
Goat Mountain
Strange Weather In Tokyo
Strange Shores
And the Mountains Echoed
Ten White Geese
One Step Too Far
The Innocents
The General: The ordinary man who became one of the bravest prisoners in Guantanamo
White Dog Fell from the Sky
A Virtual Love
The Fall of the Stone City

JoV's favorite books »
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Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking. - Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

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