Joan Acocella has a New Yorker blog post that starts: “Many of the world’s best novels have bad endings. I don’t mean that they end sadly, or on a back-to-work, all-is-forgiven note (e.g. ‘War and Peace,’ ‘The Red and the Black,’ ‘A Suitable Boy’), but that the ending is actually inartistic—a betrayal of what came before.” This is an indubitable fact, and it doesn’t only apply to books; I’ve long noticed that almost all movies go on fifteen minutes or so longer than they should. Her discussion of possible reasons is interesting. But what amuses me is that she seems to have entirely forgotten how War and Peace actually ends, which is not “when the excitable young heroine grows up and has kids and gets fat.” I complained about it at length here (scroll down to “But nothing will reconcile me to the Second Appendix”). Not that I blame her—in fact, I think the Second Appendix should be printed in such tiny type only the most hardened seekers after boredom would read it. Or just omitted entirely. Sorry, Lev Nikolaevich!