Reading Cover to Cover

As a freshman, I learned that our high school yearbook had a section for seniors to write ‘blurbs’ with personal messages, quotes, and sports or club allegiances.  I poured over these blurbs, chock full of esoteric references and inside jokes, and began plotting.

Over the next two years, I spent many a class period–usually math– drafting and revising my senior blurb.  To whom would I give a ‘shout out’?  Who would mention me?  It was high school politics at its finest.

Ironically, by the time my senior year finally rolled around, I had lost interest in writing a senior blurb and my yearbook went to print with only my photo, name, and address.

Which brings me, in a meandering way, to my topic today: Author Acknowledgments.  For some reason, I still maintain a bit of my former high school dorkiness because I just love reading the acknowledgment, foreward, and dedication pages.  For me, these pages are small windows into the author’s life, and I am compelled to read them.

Like the senior blurbs from days of yore, most of the references fly right over my head, but still I read on.  Sometimes an author will thank his or her readers, and I’m always happy for the ‘shout out’.

I can’t possibly be the only reader who reads books cover to cover, right?  Surely you’re out there reading the acknowledgment pages too, right?

16 Comments

  • At 2010.09.23 00:28, Steph Su said:

    I always read magazines cover to cover, as if it were a book. Only recently, maybe within the last year or so, have I started reading all parts of a book, and really understanding how beneficial reading the acknowledgments page is, especially to an aspiring writer! Now I even read the copyrights page. I am a giant nerd.
    .-= Steph Su´s last blog ..SPEAKing Loudly =-.

    • At 2010.09.23 05:52, Iris said:

      I do that, sometimes.. but only if I love a book enough. If I don’t I don’t care about who the author thanks.
      .-= Iris´s last blog ..In His Own Write and A Spaniard in the Works by John Lennon =-.

      • At 2010.09.23 09:09, Andi said:

        I too am an acknowledgment reader. I just can’t resist! I do love that little window into the writer’s life and experience with the book.
        .-= Andi´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday =-.

        • At 2010.09.23 10:28, Meg said:

          I’m with you: I read cover to cover! But when I first delve into a novel, I usually skip the acknowledgements, etc., and return to them at the end.

          It reminds me of a musician’s liner notes, too — that chance to thank people and fold them into your “inner circle” of coolness. Those are definitely full of inside jokes that are lost on me, but it’s fun to read!
          .-= Meg´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday- A Saturday in Southern Maryland =-.

          • At 2010.09.24 10:57, nat @book, line, and sinker said:

            yep, i usually wait until the end to read the acknowledgments too! i always enjoyed liner notes when i actually bought albums, tapes, and cds. now i just listen to audio books and download songs from itunes. 🙂

          • At 2010.09.23 14:56, vivienne said:

            I always read the acknowledgements too. I find it interesting to read the people involved with the book.
            .-= vivienne´s last blog ..Wacky Wales =-.

            • At 2010.09.23 15:00, Jenners said:

              I do read the acknowledgments … though I’m not really sure why.

              Sometimes it is to see who they are friends with … or if they say something about how the books was put together. I guess I just feel like I need to know what the author had to say in it. Sometimes they are enlightening.

              And it is funny that you lost interest in your senior blurb just when it was time to really write it.
              .-= Jenners´s last blog ..Well- I Finally Did It! =-.

              • At 2010.09.23 15:45, bermudaonion said:

                I glance at the acknowledgements and stop and read if something catches my eye.

                • At 2010.09.23 16:46, Lahni said:

                  I do quite often read the acknowledgements. I too feel like it’s small glimpse into who the author is.
                  .-= Lahni´s last blog ..Going Bovine by Libba Bray =-.

                  • At 2010.09.23 17:58, Kathleen said:

                    I love reading the dedications too. I am always interested to see who the authors thanks and who they dedicate the book too. It definitely does give you a window into their world.

                    • At 2010.09.24 00:29, IntrovertedJen said:

                      I almost always read books cover to cover. I’ll even read that little bit at the end of some books that’s about the font! Somebody thought it was important to include all that information in there, so I think I should read it!

                      • At 2010.09.24 10:58, nat @book, line, and sinker said:

                        i read the type info too!! i remember the first type pages i ever read were in the harry pottery books. i was just trying to savor every last drop of the books i suppose!

                      • At 2010.09.25 07:06, bybee said:

                        yes, I read acknowledgements and dedications as well. You get really interesting insights when the author does a shout-out to someone you’ve heard of.
                        .-= bybee´s last blog ..What- Ho =-.

                        • At 2010.09.25 14:28, dw said:

                          i like reading the dedication and acknowledgment too. most of the time its because i don’t want the book to end and i just want to savor every last word in the book. but i also like the feeling of getting to know the author a little better through their acknowledgments.

                          • At 2010.09.30 14:07, g said:

                            right.

                            • At 2010.10.01 14:56, nat @ book, line, and sinker said:

                              you’re not be snide, are you??? Don’t mock me, buddy! Xoxo

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