Monday, September 13, 2010

Preface, Prologue, Introduction, Epilogue etc: Do you read them??

I have sort of a strange question for you all, that I really hope to get some answers on. Do you read everything in a book? Not just the meat of the book (which I know there are lots of people that might skip the parts between dialogue, or maybe skip dialogue, or other methods of skimming a book) but the other things that come before and after. Like the prologue, epilogue, forward, preface, author notes, acknowledgments, introduction, etc. I never used to read all the extras in a book, but since I have become a book reviewer I have be using the information in the author notes and introductions to formulate questions for interviews. Then I stared reading the prologues and epilogues, once I was informed of what they are. I always thought it was just some random information from the author about how they wrote the book or some other non-related entry.

Then I was educated to the facts: a prologue is “a preliminary discourse; a preface or introductory part of a discourse, poem, or novel.”( This means that it sort of sets the stage, or in some cases foreshadows the story, but it almost always is directly related to the story. Conversely, the terms “INTRODUCTION, FOREWORD, PREFACE REFER to material given at the front of a book to explain or introduce it to the reader. A FOREWORD IS part of the front matter and is usually written by someone other than the author, often an authority on the subject of the book. A PREFACE IS the author's own statement, and often includes acknowledgments. It follows the FOREWORD (if there is one) and is also part of the front matter. The INTRODUCTION IS always by the author. It may be extensive and is usually printed as part of the text.” ( And lastly the epilogue is “a short postscript to any literary work, such as a brief description of the fates of the characters in a novel.” (

So with all of this new information I have been more inclined to read all the extras, realizing that they are more like deleted or expanded scenes on a DVD. And in the case of an epilogue, you really do get a glimpse of the true finish of a story, you get to see where they are now that all in the story is said and done. I think from here on out I will be at least reading the prologues and epilogues, but I will probably gauge whether or not to read the other extras on how much I want to know about the book as well as how long the parts are.

But I am really curious to know, do you read these parts of the book?


  1. I often ignore acknowledgements, but read everything else!

  2. When starting a new book I do like to read the preface, prologue and occasionally read the epilogue before the book.
    Got caught out on the last one once. The epilogue informed readers that the book that should have been based on some diaries, in fact, had been fiction.

    Also my current read has a list at the beginning of the relationships of the characters, it was confusing until I began reading book and now it is becoming clearer. Not sure it helped to have the list.


  3. If it is a new author to me, I like to see their info. Other than that, I skip it and get right to the story....

  4. I don't always read them, but I have been finding myself reading them more and more lately.

  5. I read everything but the authors acknowledgments.

  6. Well it is good to see that I am not the only one that doesn't always read every word. Thanks for the input everyone.

  7. I try and read all the "extras" in order to fully appreciate the story. It makes a lot of difference for me!

  8. Yes I do read all the parts of a book. I especially enjoy reading the prologue and epilogue when the book is a work of non-fiction.


I love love love love to hear what other people think - share your thoughts so we can start a dialogue!