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Endings are build into our love of reading: every book has one, and it’s the author’s choice whether to leave us exhilarated, devastated, or grasping at something that remains (perhaps forever) out of reach.
Sad as it can be to finish, there’s also an undeniable feeling of accomplishment – and perhaps the desire to share experience with others who’ve made the same journey. There’s this too: technically, the ending is just the point when you can start the book all over again, this time riding side-by-side with the author, knowing every detail that was a mystery to you before.
The following authors had these words to share on the subject of last words. As long as we’re still reading them, has anything really come to an end?
Graham Greene, The End of the Affair, 1951
“A story has no beginning or end: arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead.”
Louisa May Alcott, Little Women, 1861
“I keep turning over new leaves, and spoiling them, as I used to spoil my copybooks; and I make so many beginnings there never will be an end.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King, 1955
“End? No, the journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path. One that we all must take.”
Daphne du Maurier, Rebecca, 1938
“Every moment was a precious thing, having in it the essence of finality.”
Michelle Obama, Becoming, 2018
“For me, becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn’t end.”
Karen Tei Yamashita, Tropic of Orange, 1997
“Just cuz you get to the end doesn’t mean you know what happened.”
Stephen King, End of Watch, 2016
“You play the game to the end. That’s how it works; play to the end.”
Paul Auster, In the Country of Last Things, 1987
“The closer you come to the end, the more there is to say.”