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View Poll Results: Please check the appropriate boxes
I read the Acknowledgements 5 13.16%
I read the Preface 10 26.32%
I read the Introduction 11 28.95%
I do not read the Acknowledgements 2 5.26%
I do not read the Preface 0 0%
I do not read the Introduction 0 0%
I Read All Of Them 24 63.16%
I Don't Read Any Of Them 2 5.26%
Other: Please explain in your reply. 5 13.16%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 38. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 03-10-2013, 09:19 PM
 
3,167 posts, read 6,790,962 times
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I read all of them - before and after I read the book.

I read them before because I think if they were included, they must have meant something to the author of the book I'm about to invest a few days - weeks in. I read them after I have finished the book because now I "know" the author and am, therefore, interested in who is important in his or her life.

Every. Single. Word.
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Old 03-11-2013, 03:04 PM
 
9,238 posts, read 19,979,888 times
Reputation: 22348
I don't care much about Acknowledgments, since it's just people the author wants to thank. But if it's a political non-fiction work, then I scan them, because I want to see if people I respect assisted or guided the author somehow.

I always read Prefaces, Introductions, Forewords, and things like "notes on the new edition" since they often include things important to the work. The "new edition" stuff is often in older "classic" works, that are being published again. Sometimes the Foreword or Intro goes on and on, with very academic analyses of the author and the work, and the times in which the work was originally written. Sometimes that stuff is really interesting to me, but other times, it reads as a term paper or boring dissertation.

If it's text book, then I skip all that stuff.

You didn't mention foot notes, and I always read those. Especially if it's a non-fiction work (more likely to have foot notes of course), I like to see the sources where the author got his/her information and check them out myself.

I LOVE fiction books with a map of the region where the story takes place (even if fictional) and lists of characters and how they're related (family trees/ genealogies are my favorite!)

I also like the photo/picture credits, and the notes on the font/typeface (I'm a geek too).

I like About the Author as well, but hate when you can tell it's a canned statement from some junior publicist. (This kind is usually accompanied by a photo of the author with their hand on their chin, presumably to hide a double-chin). I love when authors inject their own humor or odd references into the About the Author section.

Something that annoys me about kindle books is that the book will start on Chapter One, and you have to click back to get all the other introductory stuff. I guess the kindle programmers think no one likes to read all the extras, but I end up clicking back to the cover.
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Old 03-12-2013, 11:35 PM
 
3,724 posts, read 8,504,808 times
Reputation: 1416
Quote:
Originally Posted by TracySam View Post
I don't care much about Acknowledgments, since it's just people the author wants to thank. But if it's a political non-fiction work, then I scan them, because I want to see if people I respect assisted or guided the author somehow.

I always read Prefaces, Introductions, Forewords, and things like "notes on the new edition" since they often include things important to the work. The "new edition" stuff is often in older "classic" works, that are being published again. Sometimes the Foreword or Intro goes on and on, with very academic analyses of the author and the work, and the times in which the work was originally written. Sometimes that stuff is really interesting to me, but other times, it reads as a term paper or boring dissertation.

If it's text book, then I skip all that stuff.

You didn't mention foot notes, and I always read those. Especially if it's a non-fiction work (more likely to have foot notes of course), I like to see the sources where the author got his/her information and check them out myself.

I LOVE fiction books with a map of the region where the story takes place (even if fictional) and lists of characters and how they're related (family trees/ genealogies are my favorite!)

I also like the photo/picture credits, and the notes on the font/typeface (I'm a geek too).

I like About the Author as well, but hate when you can tell it's a canned statement from some junior publicist. (This kind is usually accompanied by a photo of the author with their hand on their chin, presumably to hide a double-chin). I love when authors inject their own humor or odd references into the About the Author section.

Something that annoys me about kindle books is that the book will start on Chapter One, and you have to click back to get all the other introductory stuff. I guess the kindle programmers think no one likes to read all the extras, but I end up clicking back to the cover.
On kindle books I don't, but most of what I 'read' are audio books from the state library. So I start with whatever is included, even the blurb from the back cover. It is interesting at times to see how dedications change, when a writer gets divorced and has a different spous for the next book. Especially a different spouse who happens to be either the illustrator or co-author. Life does go on, after all.
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Old 03-13-2013, 08:20 AM
 
9,238 posts, read 19,979,888 times
Reputation: 22348
Oooooh, I never thought about the dedications and acknowledgments changing over time as relationships end! I'll have to look for that now. I guess I just figured they would reprint books as-is and maybe slap on a new intro.
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Old 03-13-2013, 12:52 PM
 
Location: Henderson, NV
586 posts, read 849,611 times
Reputation: 587
I usually like to read from cover to cover. Not the copyright page or anything but after that. It's some sort of challenge I gave myself or something. Either that or I'm obsessive compulsive. I can't explain it.
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Old 03-14-2013, 12:54 PM
 
15,246 posts, read 17,709,162 times
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I found an old friend who was mentioned in an author's acknowledgments. It was a non-fiction book by an attorney who works for a non-profit that provides legal representation to death-row inmates. I saw my friend's name listed as an employee and emailed the organization, asking to be put in contact with her. I realized there was a chance that it was someone with the same name, but thought "what the heck? I'll try." It was her and we reconnected.

So...read the acknowledgments! You never know what you might find out.
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Old 03-14-2013, 07:30 PM
 
1,378 posts, read 3,899,085 times
Reputation: 1742
I mostly read fiction crime stories. I do read the acknowledgements because it is interesting to me to see who all he talked to in writing the book. such as "Thanks to the chief of police of Des Moines for talking to me about how murder is investigated". I also like to see if the author mentions his family in this section.

I also read any notes about the author to gain insight into who he is. A book by a defense attorney might be different than a book by a prosecutor. While I don't put much stock in blurbs, if they are from politicians or political people all from one party, that says something about the author and the book. a book praised by Michael Moore will not be the same as a book praised by Rush Limbaugh.
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Old 03-19-2013, 08:05 PM
 
26,156 posts, read 16,476,166 times
Reputation: 17235
Default I usually dont read ANY OF THEM -- Ah man!!

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Old 03-25-2013, 08:58 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,017 posts, read 18,646,620 times
Reputation: 32423
I read mostly non-fiction, where the introduction or preface often contains interesting information and is often written by someone other than the author. However, let me give an example of a worthwhile introduction to a novel by someone other than the author. John Kennedy Toole wrote "A Confederacy of Dunces" but it was published after his death. Walker Percy tells in the introduction how the author's mother came to see him and convinced him to read the manuscript, and how he liked it so much he then played a role in getting it published. It was fascinating.
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