Submitted by Puzzleheaded_Bee1944 t3_107p6gl in books

I am not sure if this is an exact issue that anyone else on here has encountered. When it comes to reading for fun, I tend to be meticulous about details. I try to guess plot points, twists, and other encounters before they happen. Usually, I fall at doing so, and whenever something is revealed, I usually get angry about not predicting it, or feeling stupid because of it. I know that that is the point of twists, but I loath the idea regardless since the feeling of stupidity does not help my interest in learning. I have given up two novels because of this, as they would introduce a plot twist with several clues given near the beginning of the novel and I would fail at trying to see it coming. I was so irate about it that I refused to read them any further.

Any book that makes me feel this way does not deserve my attention. I am the kind of person that does not normally enjoy plot twists, nor when an author withholds information for "intrigue" or "suspense." It is annoying to me every time it happens because without the information, I will not continue reading it. I am more of a textbook kind of guy, a book that gives information without any sense of holding it for its own sake.

I keep encountering this issue with books, and with most media as well. I feel that I should call it good on literature and stories in general and save myself any further trouble. I have given it a fair go and I'm starting to realize that maybe it isn't for me, I am not an avid reader anyways. I'm posting this to see what kind of discussions come about from it, as I'm curious about the opinions of others on this subject. Additionally, if I receive any feedback, so much the better.



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AlunWeaver t1_j3nmw9u wrote

>Any book that makes me feel this way does not deserve my attention.

This really is a "you" thing, and has nothing to do with what novels deserve.


keesouth t1_j3noetb wrote

I wouldn't say I feel as passionate about it as you do but I have the opposite feeling. I love when I can't figure out the twist. If it's too easy to figure out the plot twist I feel like the author either phoned it in or followed some common trope. Edited for wording.


JonathanCue t1_j3nqvv4 wrote

I agree with everyone else here. For starters, while it's okay to not read novels (or, really, engage in ANYTHING that you don't want to) for your own reasons, the reasons you state don't seem the most healthy.

Which, hey, I get; I get upset with myself when I can't get through puzzles quickly or get gold on a challenge run or whatever, but that is decidedly a *me* issue rather than an issue with the product or medium itself.

If it makes you feel that bad, then don't worry about forcing yourself through it. Your life is your own, and you owe it to nobody to live it a certain way. But it may behoove you to introspect and find a deeper meaning as to why it upsets you so much, as this kind of feeling could stop you from taking enjoyment in a lot of other parts of your life too.


smellyfoot22 t1_j3r4jz5 wrote

Right? Reading a book for your own personal enjoyment isn’t a competition with the author that you have to win. I wonder where this bizarre mentality came from?


Character_Vapor t1_j3nv2ok wrote

You seem to have a very narrow idea of what storytelling actually is or can be. It’s not just about plot or surprise. It can be about character, and psychology, and philosophy, and catharsis, and emotional concepts that we can apply to our own lives. It’s not just a brain teaser or a puzzle box that we use to feel good about how smart we are. It’s not about learning, it’s about feeling.

Try to be more broad-minded about things, and open yourself up to the emotional possibilities of art instead of shackling it only to intellectual/analytical ones. This is very much a “you” problem, and at the end of the day it’s your loss.


papayagotdressed t1_j3nq0t4 wrote

I think you should see a psychologist about this. It's okay, but not 'normal' and certainly not fun to live with these feelings about books. Sure you can always just stop reading, but typically for emotional regulation issues there will always be a trigger. Best to talk it through so you can enjoy whatever things you want to try!


Oathkeeper27 t1_j3o44eg wrote

I am considering posting on r/books for attention


TM_Rules t1_j3nyq58 wrote

If you're getting angry over this, I'd suggest seeking help. You've got anger issues.


philosophyofblonde t1_j3p98ov wrote

Pro tip: stop.

If your friend is telling you about something that happened to their Uncle Bob’s gerbil at Bob’s 3rd wedding, are you trying to score imaginary points with yourself by guessing what comes next while they’re talking to you? And then get mad if they surprise you? I’m guessing not.

If someone has a story to tell, let them tell it. Guessing what comes next accurately is something that happens after you’ve seen the same trope executed in different ways 100 times. It’s pattern recognition, and it’s utterly dependent on your sample size.


MountainSnowClouds t1_j3no6sa wrote

I think you more need to delve into why you feel this way. I'm terrible at guessing the plot twists and it doesn't bother me at all. My sister and I will joke about how terrible at it I am. If I do figure it out, it's usually only a couple of pages before the reveal when they're at the point of practically spoon-feeding the answer to you. I find it funny how bad I am at it.


ReluctantChimera t1_j3o23ym wrote

I would explore why you have such a strong reaction to a normal experience. I think therapy would definitely be in order here. This seems like a very abnormal reaction to basically an everyday situation.


spinazie25 t1_j3o77gr wrote

Seems reasonable to quit then, but as others have said it doesn't seem very healthy, and you probably should look into why this happens.

The point of most books is also not plot twists, and not solving a puzzle. Have you tried books with very little plot happening, like "In search of the time lost", by Proust? What about literature from times/places with different storytelling tradition, like medieval epics, ancient Greek poems? How do you feel about classics, that everyone more or less knows the plot of? Or would you be able to enjoy a novel if you deliberately spoiled it to yourself first?


grondahl78 t1_j3q2c6z wrote

If you step out of genre literature, there are lots of novels without any direct plot twists.


HamiltonBlack t1_j3nptsg wrote

I'm a reader of memoirs, biographies and autobiographies as I fell out of love with novels. Truth can be stranger, and sometimes more fascinating than fiction.

If you're a person who like info delivered to you, you should pick up some autobiographies of people you like or people involved in the subjects you like. Could be what you're missing.


Rubberbandballgirl t1_j3rqwym wrote

This is one of the weirdest takes on books I’ve ever seen. You get mad when you can’t predict the ending? So you get upset when a book surprises you? What?


GhostMug t1_j3qkxnx wrote

As others have said, this is more an issue with how you consume novels than with novels themselves. I would venture to say that I don't think it's "normal" or usual to have such a visceral reaction to a plot twist you didn't see coming. Most people tend to feel invigorated by such things.

Definitely don't force yourself to do something you don't enjoy, but I would definitely recommend trying to get to the bottom of why you get so angry at such things.


DiogenesXenos t1_j3q6js2 wrote

Yeah, I’d say maybe reading isn’t your thing.


bofh000 t1_j3q7cmz wrote

As somebody else commented above, there’s a very simple solution to your issues: re-reading.

As a rule, books you wouldn’t enjoy rereading at some point in the future aren’t worth the trouble the 1st time around.

Maybe change the kind of books you read.

And find ways to handle your obsessive need to know in advance and be always right. I’m no expert, but I’d wager you have the same problem in life outside of your reading.


StuartGotz t1_j3qxkhc wrote

You can cover the world with leather or you can put shoes on.


mrssymes t1_j3s59i6 wrote

I felt this message in my soul.


StuartGotz t1_j3s5n1g wrote

It's from an 8th century Indian Buddhist philosopher named Shantideva. See No Time to Lose by Pema Chodron if interested.


mrssymes t1_j3s61pf wrote

Thank you. I will look for that book.

Your paraphrase of the quote is succinct and easily understood. It should be embroidered on stuff.


voaw88 t1_j3rvvbz wrote

Books are not puzzles to be solved. If you're looking for that kind of experience, try like puzzles or logic games or something?

One of the chief enjoyments in reading for me is being surprised by an interesting plot point or twist. That being said, sometimes plot twists or developments you learn through the course of the novel are stupid or unearned, which is disappointing.

Reading should be done for enjoyment, entertainment, education, being moved emotionally, etc. But reading is NOT something to be conquered or solved. And when an author takes a story in a direction you didn't predict, it doesn't mean you are inadequate or anything.

Maybe search for authors with tightly plotted books?? Or pick a different hobby 🤷


loneacer t1_j3ol87j wrote

You would probably enjoy rereading books then.


munkie15 t1_j3qwvwy wrote

Everybody has their styles they enjoy more than others. But I do feel it is not good to completely disregard fiction. Fiction is great for helping give perspective. Maybe look for the “popcorn” type books? The ones that don’t really have plot twists or any big surprise. Or just read the spoilers about the crazy plot twists? Mysteries aren’t for everyone.

For years I only read non-fiction, I enjoyed learning pieces of many different things. But I lacked the context to put them together. My friends started calling me the “parade of facts”. Reading fiction has helped me put these “facts” into better context. It also helped me realize most people don’t like listening to a parade of facts. But in the end, what you read is up to you.


[deleted] t1_j3nmzi6 wrote



An-Okay-Alternative t1_j3ny7fy wrote

If you can always predict what's going to happen though then the plot is pretty simple and familiar. I think the best case is when you're surprised but it seems obvious in retrospect.


Kind_Nepenth3 t1_j3nqtp9 wrote

It's really nice to see someone other than me voice that irritation. I never really got into mysteries for that reason. The very few I picked up seemed to tend towards random twists that would have been commendable had I any way to have ever possibly arrived at that solution. Probably others like the Aha moment, but it felt unfair


Grwwwvy t1_j3nqfi3 wrote

There is nothing better than a big reveal that you were right on the cusp of figuring out yourself, or when you say "somehow i already knew that".

The Dune and Three Body Problem books do this pretty well, as long as you're familiar with the genre already.


Uncle_Charnia t1_j3nr5f2 wrote

People know just what they'd like to do. Whatever it is, you've got it, long as it pleases you. Make it last as long as you can. And when you're through, it's up to you to do it again.


Cultural_Point3001 t1_j3oluol wrote

I don’t like books with plots that much like I used to. I enjoy reading books talking about daily life and descriptions. But I do enjoy novels from time to time.


mrssymes t1_j3s5ixy wrote

Middle grades novel series are extremely predictable. That might be more your cup of tea. Babysitter club, sweet valley high, etc.


grynch43 t1_j3s6354 wrote

Maybe try reading nonfiction.🤷🏻‍♂️


Jenniferinfl t1_j3sjnpi wrote

What you are running up against is sort of the best thing about books.

Books remind us that we don't really know anything. They keep us humble and reflective on just how big everything is and how we can never know it all. Every single book is going to have something in it you didn't know before OR didn't think of that way before. They are as individual as people.

Every person you meet knows something you don't know or has a perspective you don't have. That's the real contribution of literature is that sense of place in the universe and wonder at all there really is to know.


DoomDroid79 t1_j3skjdb wrote

Being surprised by the twists and reveals is the exciting part for me, I let the novel take me for a ride while not having the Waze app to guide me.


PigeonWriting t1_j3t64dn wrote

I used to feel the same way. I prided myself on my intelligence and my ability to figure stuff out quickly. I remember being pissed off reading Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card because the main character was really smart and figured out solutions I would never find. I was jealous of detective characters like Sherlock Holmes and Thrawn from Star Wars because they always found the answer so easily. I now enjoy reading and I love these characters, but not the way I first read them.

Remember you are not competing with the characters. The author has specifically drafted these puzzles and reveals in advance. If you look critically, “smart” characters often make wild assumptions masquerading as intelligence, but because the author wants to tell a certain story, the “smart” characters are correct more often than they have any right to be. (There’s a reason Sherlock Holmes isn’t a police officer, his methods are basically the antithesis of forensics.) Yes, it’s theoretically possible to predict most twists, but the author rarely gives you enough information to do so. Even if you know what the clues are, authors rarely give the reader enough information to confidently predict the twist. This is how they guarantee everyone gets tricked and everyone thinks the “smart” character is intelligent.

If you want an to have an experience putting together clues and predicting the outcome, go do a puzzle. Story endings aren’t supposed to be predictable. Imagine if they were. If everyone could predict every ending and every plot twist, the story would get boring as hell. You know how it ends, so why read it? Good authors cut a very fine balance between making the outcome uncertain and giving you clues throughout the story. If the twist seemed logical in retrospect but you didn’t predict it, congratulations, you’ve read a talented author.

The real issue is your mentality. The author is not trying to hurt you when they deceive you with a plot twist, they are trying to invoke a sense of wonder. They are trying to make you question your beliefs and your assumptions about the world. If you’re not ready to question your intelligence, don’t read fiction.

That was my problem. I thought I was the smartest person ever. I thought I could figure out anything. Then I read stories with characters who figured things out before me, found solutions I never thought of, characters who were, frankly, smarter than me. And I found that offensive. That challenged my world view.

I’ve grown up since then. I’m not the smartest, but I don’t have to be. I can live a perfectly meaningful life just as I am. If you want to read, which I strongly encourage you to do, but you want to have all the facts on the table, no deception, read history. It’s their job to tell you all the facts and make sure you go home knowing everything. Until you can handle being surprised, until you can trust a good author to deceive you without hurting you, you’re not going to enjoy fiction.

Best of luck


Sudden_Owl8321 t1_j3tgj0g wrote

It sounds like you have some internal issues you need to work out


achilles-alexander t1_j3u8ynv wrote

I have the same issue a lot. I recommend not giving up novels but genre fiction instead. Literary fiction is what I prefer, and it's almost plotless so there's not really anything to guess at. It tells the story around a character using themes and literary devices rather than tropes and plot structures. I promise you it is suchh an improvement


ALadyinShiningArmour t1_j3uoh0k wrote

Maybe intense mysteries or thrillers aren’t your thing? There are certain genres like romance and fantasy etc that are full of tropes so you know exactly how the story will end (of course the two main characters will end up together and the evil wizard will be defeated etc) so you can just mindlessly enjoy the ride! Maybe try mixing up the genres and types of stories you’re reading, ignore what’s trendy or what other people like and find a niche that suits you.


doughnuttouch t1_j3wa5ru wrote

If something unexpected were to happen in your own life, would you feel frustrated with yourself for not expecting it? Well based on this post maybe you would and you may want to evaluate the unreasonable expectations you place on yourself, but it is better to enjoy a piece of fiction as simply the retelling of events in a world that doesn't exist. If a friend were to come and tell you an interesting story you shouldn't sit there and try and guess the next words out of their mouth and then ignore them while you feel frustrated with yourself because you failed to do so. It would be better to enjoy the story simply for its twists and turns. Fiction is not a puzzle for you to solve. Remember back to the first time you heard a child's parable such as that of the tortoise and the hare. The purpose of the story is not meant to trick you but rather to teach you through subverting expectations. You expect the hare to win and when the tortoise wins we are not chastised for guessing incorrectly, rather we are prompted to gain a deeper understanding of the world through the retelling of unexpected outcomes. If you feel that you take no pleasure in fiction than by all means put it down and find what brings you peace and understanding. But before you do I would implore you to give fiction one more chance but this time, simply read the story through without any expectations of guessing what will happen on the next page. And once you've finished it, take a week to just consider the ideas the story presented you. If you feel that you've gained nothing from that introspection then forget about fiction.


incubusboy t1_j3yng7t wrote

It’s likely you already felt stupid and do this second guessing nonsense to argue with yourself against the idea.

If you treat a story like a video game, you’re not reading. Reading is a direct, intimate experience. So long as you stand back from the characters and story as an observer with an agenda, you’re missing most of what your author has made for you.

Of course, if you only read genre fiction, the easy to read, plot heavy stuff that airport novels are made of, it doesn’t really matter. I suggest you read something more challenging. And stop guessing what’s next. Take in fully what you’re reading in the moment. No one wrote a novel to prove you stupid OR smart. Please stop missing the point so aggressively.


fakefake222r t1_j3nwj2n wrote

It sounds like you’ve just been reading bad ones


Character_Vapor t1_j3nzbzg wrote

I don’t think this has anything to do with the quality of any given book.


[deleted] t1_j3oixzq wrote

Read ancient literature. You should read the plot beforehand. The storylines of ancient literature are designed to be enjoyed by people who already know how they end.

Achilles kills Hector but gives his body back.

Aeneas kills Turnus in an uncharacteristic anger that undermines his integrity as a protagonist.

Croesus' empire is overtaken by Cyrus. Croesus becomes Cyrus' advisor. Turns out Solon was right.

Caesar beats Vercingetorix and all the other Gauls too.

Beowulf and the dragon both die.

Jesus comes back to life at the end.

Reject novels. Novels are a dumb form of literature, anyway. Embrace tradition. Read war poetry.