The author Julian Barnes would kill me, and defacing books is a terrible thing, but don’t you think this is also an AMAZING idea?

While attending a book club recently, a woman told me that the book they read before my book was Julian Barnes’ The Sense of an Ending.


“And something really strange happened with that book,” she said.

Almost as soon as the discussion began, the woman became confused. “It was as if they had all read a different book than me. They were talking about an ending that I hadn’t read.’

After some investigation, she discovered that the last ten pages in her book were missing.

The Sense of an Ending has lost its ending.

When I asked her if she thought it strange that the book stopped midsentence and ended so abruptly, she said, “Of course. But the book is called The Sense of an Ending. I thought the author was trying to say something specific by ending it like that. Like maybe this is the true sense of an ending. Without fanfare. In life, things stop suddenly. We don’t get neatly wrapped endings.”

Then I had an idea. The author in me despises this idea.

The rest of me adores it.

Wouldn’t it be amazing to go to the bookstores and tear out the last 5-10 pages in every copy of The Sense of an Ending that you could find? Give every reader the same experience that this woman had when she can to the false ending of the book.

Tear out the ending in The Sense of an Ending.

It’s a great prank. Don’t you think?

One of the greatest sources of disagreement in my marriage centers on Kevin Bacon and a questionable dance number.

My wife and I don’t fight, and we disagree on very few things.

One of the sources of our greatest disagreements centers on a moment in the movie Footloose.


My contention is that the ending of the movie, with its choreographed dance number and strategically-timed glitter bomb (which looks ridiculous), is also  ridiculous. It’s a scene written for a bad musical and inserted into a non-musical.

Elysha, on the other hand, loves the ending of the film. She loves the whole movie, in fact.

I don’t think the movie holds up, but that’s beside the point. I also didn’t see the film when it was released, which can often kill a movie for me,

Regardless, it’s not the true source of our disagreement. It’s the ending that is the issue.

And it’s terrible. Right?

I had problems with the ending of The Lord of the Rings, but it had little to do with Frodo and Sam’s fate.

Quora recently asked the question:

Would the Lord of the Rings have been more satisfying with a different ending. Specifically, what if the eagles hadn't rescued Frodo and Samwise from Orodruin after the destruction of the One Ring?

In other words, should Frodo and Samwise died after destroying the ring. 

J.R.R. Tolkien was a firm believer in "eucatastrophe," or the sudden, unbelievable, positive turn of events, and the appearance of the eagles was certainly that. The debate is interesting and worth reading, but I have always disliked the appearance of the eagles at the end of the book for one simple reason:

If the eagles were able to rescue Frodo and Samwise from the Orodruin, why couldn’t they have simply brought the hobbits to the mountain in the first place? Why risk so much (including the loss of the ring) on a dangerous and seemingly impossible quest when an eagle could have simply flown Frodo over the mountain and allowed him to drop the ring therein?

It’s always bothered me.


It’s bothered others as well. Perhaps Tolkien himself. He later said of the books:

"The most critical reader of all, myself, now finds many defects, minor and major, but being unfortunately under no obligation either to review the book or to write it again, he will pass over these in silence, except one that has been noted by others: the book is too short."

I’m not sure how I feel about the fates of Frodo and Samwise. I’m happy that the hobbits lived, but I can certainly see the literary merit in the death of Frodo and Samwise.

But the sudden appearance of those eagles made all of the struggles of the three books seem a little silly in light of the overwhelming air superiority that the forces of the white seemed to possess in Middle Earth.